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Rose Mary Boehm: “Leisure” by Hans Magnus Enzensberg


lawn mower, sunday

decapitating the seconds

and the grass.

grass grows

over dead grass

that has grown over the dead.

if you could hear that!

the mower drones,

drones louder

than the screaming grass.

leisure fattens itself.

we bite patiently

into the fresh grass.


rasenmäher, sonntag

der die sekunden köpft

und das gras.

gras wächst

über das tote gras

das über die toten gewachsen ist.

wer das hören könnt!

der mäher dröhnt,


das schreiende gras.

die freizeit mästet sich.

wir beißen geduldig

ins frische gras.

Hans Magnus Enzensberger (born 11 November 1929 in Kaufbeuren) is a German author, poet, translator and editor. He has also written under the pseudonym Andreas Thalmayr. He lives in Munich. Enzensberger studied literature and philosophy at the universities of Erlangen, Freiburg and Hamburg, and at the Sorbonne in Paris, receiving his doctorate in 1955 for a thesis about Clemens Brentano’s poetry. His own work has been translated into more than 40 languages.


Rose Mary Boehm is a German-born British national living and writing in Lima, Peru. Her poetry has been published widely in mostly US poetry reviews (online and print). She was twice nominated for a Pushcart. Her fourth poetry collection, THE RAIN GIRL, was published by Chaffinch Press in 2020.

Hans Magnus Enzensberg, 2015 (The Guardian)

3 comments on “Rose Mary Boehm: “Leisure” by Hans Magnus Enzensberg

  1. Leo
    August 1, 2021

    Thanks for added that info. The poem is so much more powerful knowing that!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Rose Mary Boehm
    August 1, 2021

    I have to add something here: in German, ‘ins Grass beissen’ = ‘to bite into grass’ is on the level of ‘kicking the bucket’, ‘pushing up the daisies’… a colloquial way of saying in German that you’re dead or dying. Those last lines have, therefore, a double meaning that’s untranslatable.

    Liked by 3 people

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