Ingeborg Bachmann ~ A Kind of Loss

Shared: seasons, books, and music.

Keys, teacups, the breadbasket, linens and a bed.

A dowry of words, of gestures, carried along,

     used up, spent. 

House rules followed. Said. Done. And always

   the extended hand.


In winter, in a Viennese septet, and in summer

     I have been in love.

With maps, in a mountain hut, on a beach

     and in a bed.

A cult made up of dates and irrevocable promises,

enraptured before something, reverent over nothing. 


( — to the folded newspaper, the cold ashes, the note

          on a piece of paper)

fearless in religion, for the church was this bed.


From the sea view came my unstoppable painting.

From my balcony I greeted the people, my neighbors, below.

By the open fire, in safety, my hair took on its deepest color.

The doorbell’s ring was the alarm for my joy.


It is not you I have lost,

but the world. 

Translation by Joan Harvey

death plays violin

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