English versions II

translated by Tegan White-Nesbitt, University of Alaska Fairbanks


When Franz Schubert was sick for the last time
(a fact he did not know), he asked for help:
for novels, ideally by Copper,
from whom he'd already read so much...
but mayby not everything, maybe
there was still something else! more! for him!

He sent out his friends,
but the book was nowhere to be found,
not yet translated,
not yet off the ship,
the ship was not yet at sea,
the book in New York not yet for sale,
not yet printed,
in fact never written,

Cooper still stands at the window, rips
up the ground before his eyes:
borderlang that he senses.
Child that rows out
on the lake, hollers and
hums in the face of the tall world.
Poised, the kept silence hums.

Cave Dig

What we find: the shattered,
the obsolete,
the well-hidden,
the left behind and forgotten,
the lost and the missed

will tell us everything.
Gas Station Nocturne (1)

Are night and light
no more than

And coffee, lukewarm
in the light
that now remains

no farther than
close at hand


Gas Station Nocturne (2)

It is all as it is
as though not from here


Gas Station Nocturne (3)

No comparison please
unless in case of emergency

Edward Hopper, Gas
(New York, The Museum of Modern Art)

"I guess I'm not very human.

All I really want to do is paint
light on the side of a house."

Why is there anything at all, and not much more of  nothing?
Because Earth turns itself toward the sun and away again;
because it maintains a convenient distance from the sun.

Why do we paint things at all,
assign our image, our moment, to refracted light,
stalk for days that quiet glow –
the one we saw suddenly
on a wooded path,
when it was already late?

Why, as evening approaches, do we ready ourselves
like the gas man, who tends his hoses –
although no business comes –
and turns on all the lights
despite the tenacious afternoon sun?

Remember all those times
when you were told to come in and protested:
But it's still light out!

And when you couldn't sleep
because the lights were off,
every light  in the whole dark house.

What I believe, says the gas man,
I'll make you believe,
regarding how much fuel I have.

Now send the thoughts into the woods.
The light is about to go out.

On Beauty and Toil

I heard you write poems!
shouts the neighbor over my
freshly planted rosebushes.
But I always just see you walking
around with that spade in hand...

Spade! I call back. You think that's enough?
I still need:
lawn rake,
cultivator -

otherwise, you can forget about the poetry.