Mudlark Poster No. 55 (2005)

Karl Krolow | Stuart Friebert

Poem of Hours | Tragedies | Zenith
Time, Buried. Winter | Good Fortune

Karl Krolow (1915-1999), considered by many the ‘dean’ of German poets in the 20th century, published more than 50 books of poems—two Selected!—, essays, prose & translations. Stuart Friebert has published seven volumes of translations, among them two Krolows, What’ll We Do With This Life? and On Account Of; his latest book of poems, the 12th, is just out: Near Occasions of Sin.

Poem of Hours

Dawn as always.
Then it will rain.

Slowly I look
through my fingers.
Lots of things
feel the same.

Roses for the poet
bloom away from a hand.
Later, the early hours
wait with downcast glances.

Things go on like that.
In your pockets, drying up,
your own, and someone else's blood.
The day slips away.
Your eyes: still
involved with a faint horizon.

Light remains a virtue
for noon.
Mindless, it falls
on objects.

The death of hours
reaches me slowly,
examines my hands
spread out on clock faces.
The complicated landscape
simplifies. The clock
has a feel for shadows.

Plucky perspective
detains the dark
but briefly.

My age puts
its lamp on the table.
My body turns to story,
kept silent by skin,
then turns white, the flesh of night.


Rash kisses burned up
in the heat of others’ eyes.

Trees, growing silently up and up
let their cool leaves
fall on them.

A day like
a shining cemetery
or a brief scene
in the theater,
an attempted dagger-thrust.

Tragedies lack
bodily freedom.

Let’s go eat
ice cream in
the shade of a hat.

Its taste will end
the helplessness of all feeling.


Noon. Hours,
their will broken.

Only the life of irises
knows about dankness.

A veil of dust
blows across an exposed breast.

Every voice
has gone to sleep in the heat.

The static of objects
that always stay the same.

The red sun
peels an orange.

Across the land a great bell
tolls church history.

Time, Buried. Winter

Time, buried.

Winter falls
like a dead blackbird
from the nut tree.

Freezing in lockets.
From the cold of your love,
those who are dead and gone.

Infectious, their sadness,
when lips become mouth,
so white, so far away.

Good Fortune

Rilke, following two lovers.

Letters, binding
into a word
in the lightning.

The language of letters from a marriage.

Someone set fire
to a diaphanous body.

“Good fortune has shut

Sky, articulated:
an irresolute flower
abloom on my hand.

Copyright © Mudlark 2005
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