01 October 2007


Although the title of this post might suggest otherwise, I'm not exactly homesick (besides, in two days I fly to the US!). But it's a gray, spitting, Brussels Monday, and this poem I just found (in a book of German Expressionist poetry that I picked up for two bucks in Harvard Square) perfectly captures that gray feeling of exile and distance.


I cannot speak the language
of this chilly land,
nor walk in its pace.

The clouds that drift past
I also cannot read.

Night is a stepqueen.

I always have the Pharaoh's forests on my mind
and kiss the constellations of my stars.

Already my lips are glowing
and speak distant things,

and I am a colourful picture book
in your lap.

But your face weaves
a veil of weeping.

My shimmering birds'
corals have been gouged out,

on the hedgerows of the gardens
their soft nests are turning to stone.

Who will anoint my dead palaces--
they bore the crowns of my fathers,
their prayers sank into the sacred river.

~Else Lasker-Schüler (tr. Esther Kinsky)

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