Lustful Things – Geile Sachen!, Folge 23: Günter Kunert, »Of yesteryear«
German Poetry Now: A bilingual online-anthology, featured by DAS GEDICHT chapbook
The fingers that
held the old toys
are long since dust. What is left is
the doll in its tattered dress
as well as the tin locomotive
with the cracked spring. As well as
the soldiers of brittle lead
hastily painted faces
motionless in many battles
in which they by the dozen
time after time fell over
until their burial in the cardboard box.
They all bare the marks
of filial love
injuries damages testimonies
the usual traces
as they are usual in love.
translated by Paul-Henri Campbell
Die Finger die
das alte Spielzeug gehalten
sind längst Erde. Geblieben ist
die Puppe im zerschlissenen Kleid
wie die blecherne Lokomotive
mit gesprungener Feder. Wie
die Soldaten aus brüchigem Blei
flüchtig aufgemalte Gesichter
reglos in vielen Schlachten
in denen sie reihenweise immer
bis zum Begräbnis in der Pappschachtel.
Sie alle tragen die Male
Verletzungen Schäden Zeugnisse
die üblichen Spuren
wie bei der Liebe üblich.
© Günter Kunert, Kaisborstel
aus: DAS GEDICHT Bd. 22 / Oktober 2014
Günter Kunert was born in 1929 in Berlin. Kunert played a pivotal role in the literary dialogue between the two former German states. His life bears testimony to the primal cataclysms in 20th century Europe. The son of a Jewish mother, Günter Kunert was barred from attending higher secondary education by the Nazis. He joined the communist party in East-Berlin after World War II where he befriended Bertolt Brecht and Johannes R. Becher. He was also a close associate to Nicolas Born, with whom he exchanged an elaborate bulk of letters (ed. by Katharina Born). During the 1970s, he was a visiting lecturer at the University of Texas in Austin as well as the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. One of the first signees of the petition against the politically-motivated expatriation of his colleague Wolf Biermann in 1976, Kunert’s membership in the East German Socialist Party was terminated and he immigrated from the GDR with his wife to Schleswig-Holstein. His work ranges from poetry to science fiction. He received more than twenty literary prizes as well as four honorary doctorates, including one from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. He is president of the P.E.N. Club of German Writers Abroad. He published over 150 books, innumerous radio dramas along with well over 20 screenplays on both sides of the Iron Curtain.
»Lustful Things – Geile Sachen!« is an online collection of contemporary German-language poetry in English translation. All poems were taken from issue no. 22 of the German poetry magazine DAS GEDICHT, focused on the Poetry of Things. New English translations by Paul-Henri Campbell as well as the German originals are published here every Wednesday. All poems of this online-collection will also be published in a special print-edition. In order to read previous poems in this series, click here.
»Lustful Things – Geile Sachen!« ist eine Online-Sammlung zeitgenössischer deutschsprachiger Dinggedichte in englischer Übersetzung. Alle Texte sind Band 22 der Zeitschrift DAS GEDICHT entnommen. Jeden Mittwoch erscheint ein neues Gedicht, das von Paul-Henri Campbell ins Englische übertragen wurde, zusammen mit dem deutschen Original. Die Beiträge dieser Online-Anthologie gibt es auch als Sonderausgabe in Buchform. Alle bereits erschienenen Folgen von »Lustful Things – Geile Sachen!« finden Sie hier.