Paul Archer - photo Paul Archer - poet, translator



A Version of Loss

(English translation of 'Eine Art Verlust' by Ingeborg Bachmann)

Together we shared the seasons, books and a piece of music.
The keys, teacups, breadbasket, bedsheets and a bed.
A dowry of words, of gestures, brought in, used, used up.
House order maintained. What was said was done. And always on a hand shake.

I fell in love with winter, with a Viennese septet, with summer.
With maps, with a mountain hamlet, with a beach, with a bed.
I was fanatical about facts, avowed that promises were permanent,
worshipped things but wasn’t pious about anything,

(- the folded newspaper, the cold ashes, the note on a slip of paper)
fearless in religion for the bed was our church.

Out of the lake view came forth my tireless painting.
From the balcony I waved to the people below, my neighbours.
By the fireside, safe and secure, my hair took on a deep colour.
The ring at the door was the signal for my joy.

It's not you I have lost,
but the world.


For more translations of poems by Ingeborg Bachmann, go to Translations.

© Paul Archer - All Rights Reserved