Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Kuno Raeber: So You Exist…


If the wind, when the wall of clouds pushed this way,
hadn’t suddenly stopped,
the leaves wouldn’t be swimming so quietly now, the branches
wouldn’t be hanging, rusty hooks,
into the water.



When it wasn’t in the leaf-bud
that came swimming along at night,
and when, late, astonished, they
loosened it from the fish’s burst belly
washed up on the sand, so that
the women would wash it clean
of the corpse’s slime – she quickly
shoves the child away and goes ahead
toward the city without looking back.


Was only a cloud there after all.
But the moon falls
through, thundering.
Where, where, when it lies there
colorless, broken up after it appeared,
did the glimmer like a grazing lamb go?
Only a cloud.


People running out and,
annoyingly enough now, in her seventh month the woman
with her twins in the car,
fleeing the fruit’s putrid, rotting flesh,
past the worm slowly crawling along behind them,
into the streaming rain over the bridge toward the railway station,
when the sun once again falls out of the already
advancing clouds and the worm turns
its blind head to her from the rim
of the open and now emptied rotten
fruit, shining in the sun’s rain.



The tracks in the sand lead out of the empty
riverbed, they lead
into the underbrush and get lost in the swollen
Just that bewilderingly iridescent beetle
knows the way on.



Nice that you’re there with your eyelashes,
Through which this carefully blue
Ten-o’clock sky breaks,
And open your eyes to me
And say: I love.
Nice the desire of air,
When you slowly come
Up to me in it
And between us nothing more
Needs to be spoken.
While the simple landscape at your back
Ships off to the south
With the river.
Your hands moved all night long
In the dark and were beautiful,
When you folded them
At your neck.
So you exist with your
Unruly hair and lightly opened
Lips, which almost resemble
The burst cherry in the heat,
Which just fell into the grass . . .


Translated from the German by Stuart Friebert with Christiane Wyrwa. Copyright 2016. These poems are from Votives which will be published by Lost Horse Press in 2017.

Born in Klingau, Switzerland, Kuno Raeber (1922-1992) studied for the priesthood, but after a spiritual crisis he settled in Munich as a freelance writer where he spent most of his life. Be Quiet: Selected Poems, translated by Stuart Friebert, was published by Tiger Bark Press.



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This entry was posted on February 3, 2017 by in Poetry and tagged , , , .

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