Three Poems by Helwig Brunner


Franz Schubert: Sonatinas for violin in A minor and G minor, D 385 and D 408


On a March day on the way from Graz to Vienna

listening to Schubert’s sonatinas, remembered

as the previous sound of halfhearted desire,

which I wished would awaken once more

from the sleep of its surrender.

The themes were once unbroken,

simple in dialogue, complex in unison,

because they hadn’t yet been developed.

Later we called the ruin of the world

an imprecision, estrangement of voices,

instead of admitting the failures

and the price we pay

for a biography.

Today I reconcile them,

the hostilities and errors,

even the dodgy knot on the southern border of Vienna

loosens, and in semidarkness

I finally take the right exit to the wrong place.



Center, branched


In the focus of an image: of a pupil

imitates a tree, what seems, the wind,

in which static—a forgotten movement,

a shadow of perfection—leans like a blind

man on emptiness; here the branches root,

large and elusive like a child’s wish



Sleep in a bed of fire, leave


the body through its porous dress,

say your goodbyes with the smoke.

We seek cooling, rising into

the blue we lose luster. A good thing,

we are anchored in dreams

that exchange us just in time

for absence. In the morning

it’s the dew that extinguished us.


Translations by Monika Zobel




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