Sunday 7 April 2019

Eva Gerlach: 'Voor een onvoorstelbare meneer' in English translation

For an unimaginable man

I’ve made an empty spot, with death its name.
I look at it from all sides, not a clue.
You are not there. Neither are you in me.

If from the centre someone started whistling
I might imagine what you sounded like,          
so I invent a whistling and the grass

is getting up to hear it. I could well
carry a tone like that in my hand; it
would be as empty then as now, but I

would curl my fingers round that hollow, say
that I had got you, separate from all others,
then I’d let people take a look at you

and everyone would recognise this spot,
a place where someone is who is not there,
and realise that death does not exist,

nor emptiness. For what one cannot think
cannot exist. And if you should once more –

Though probably it’s better emptiness,
an empty spot, exists and death’s a spot
equally imaginable as one 

you do not know could be, a dreamed-of house.
I think I would go out and into it
just like that tone inside and out of me:

it could be death exists if you go round 
and round a sort of empty spot, one spot
is maybe all a person can imagine;

that something lives there, if need be just light
or darkness, or just emptiness, although
of that no man has knowledge. Dead one, I 

stood behind your hedge, peeped through your window,
I thought I saw you in there but I saw
nothing, an empty spot to just exist.

To see the original and a German translation, go to here

No comments: