Sven Kretzschmar – Fragments of living

Profile Kretzschmar LEP&W April 2021

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing April 2021.

Sven Kretzschmar hails from County Saarland, Germany. His poetry and prose have been published widely in Europe and overseas, among other outlets with Poetry Jukebox in Belfast, in Writing Home. The ‘New Irish’ Poets (Dedalus Press, 2019), Poets Meet Politics (Hungry Hill Writing, 2020), Hold Open the Door (UCD Press, 2020), Voices 2020 (Cold River Press, 2020) and 100 Words of Solitude (Rare Swan Press, 2021), in The Irish Times, Live Encounters, Skylight 47, Das Gedicht, Loch Raven Review, Wordpeace, 2 Meter Review and Selcouth Station. He was awarded 1st prize in the ‘Creating a Buzz in Strokestown’ competition in 2018 and he was shortlisted for Allingham Poetry Award 2019, Over the Edge New Writer of the Year 2019 and Saolta Arts Annual Poetry Competition 2020, special mention in the Desmond O’Grady International Poetry Competition 2020.

See more at: and Instagram: @sven_saar_poetry

Fragments of living

(for Sabrina Lorenz; after Michael Longley)

This village keeps expanding on my pages
for decades on end. I have watched the wind
ruffle rivers and ponds, skim along
corn fields ripe for harvest. My gaze climbed

acacias during breathers in tent camps where I grew
from child to adult, from attender to carer
in summers when we got dotted
with mosquito bites, and finger paint during play time.

I have counted the neighbours that retired,
whose driveways I observed from my study
window before age came to call them up.
Weekly re-visits, my hand on their headstones,

rarely an afterglow from the past. The thirty-five
pubs we once had on High Street –
fragments of living, of how we fall into the world
and shrink to its bones.

Near a mountain lake

(after Basil Bunting and John Montague,
on day after his death in Nice)

In this corrie we find ourselves
severely alone
until a light breeze brings to the ear
the song of a thrush
in the syringa,
sends a shiver up my spine,
and makes the lake water tremble too,
spring has come around at last.
Yet, it is still too cold
for a dart into the tarn.
Our bathing gear we brought in vain.

Days of light and water

On days of light and water, when the sun of early March
forces its yellow way through moisture-shed clouds
to steep the street and its storefronts
in hope’s golden shimmer, something creeps into my bones –
the kind of warmth unfelt long ago when I had stopped

waiting for a letter of love you had never written.
Or net yet. Pale, soft light echoes across the city
on days of light and water, announcing: night
will shine blue through the window and will state
I cannot stop to feel just because I am in love.

Off early

On the news on a bad hair day in the office
police sirens, speeding paramedics, all taking care,
one way or another, of illegal carnival revellers
illegally revelling in carnival activities using the wrong masks
and no proper distance. On that very same news,
caught in all his make up and finery, coxcomb-crowned:

a councillor who, just last week, was called
out for barbershopping at the best hair stylist in town,
against his own decree, when he wanted
to see his love affair in a different district, far out
of his self-imposed 15 km radius in which viruses
and anti-vaxxers went wild for weeks. All these

truths about him on this goldurned news
jade him on this bad hair day in the council office,
his life seems a mélange of conflict
and generally bad promo after this week’s only business
appointment: ruining his patent-leather shoes in sand
heaps of a construction site. He puts his feet up

on a desk that looked posh and important
in the year 2000, and remembers he should be off
early for another attempt with his love affair.
And he should polish his suede yachting shoes before
for the next sand trap.


(for, and after, Gerry Murphy)

We waited,
not for Godot, mind ye,

but sort of felt that way
by his marble slab. Rain

dropped down imitating
various clockwork sounds,

wind beat against thinned-out
crowns of trees, we beat time

waiting. But he did not come
up again.

© Sven Kretzschmar