Sven Kretzschmar – The Green Boat

Sven Kretzschmar LE P&W Oct 2022

Download PDF Here Live Encounters Poetry & Writing October 2022.

 The Green Boat, poems by Sven Kretzschmar.

The green boat

after Vona Groarke

The boat aground by a dried-out pier
never felt waves rippling, washing around its keel.

No. The boat aground by a dried-out pier
is the idea of planking hand-sanded and painted
green – lacquer for infinite canvas and summer outings.

The boat aground by a dried-out pier,
on which we never set foot embarking the vessel,
was not constructed by stalwart dreamers.
Its sand-coloured sail, shipwrecked before it was set,

hangs deserted above grey crusted mud –
two seafarers stranded in dried-out harbours.


This beach, border between solid and fluid,
is a dilution of our whiskeys: two tears
for the salt, whenever I am remembered, here,

of a boat never untied, its green planks
never cutting the waves, sand-coloured sail
never hoisted. Songwriters claim that love needs

lonely bunks, but no sailor believes that. This beach,
a pass-through place, as its no-name allows,
becomes deserted, becomes desert at low tide,

with no waves washing around our ankles,
and your dram evaporates, runs aground.
Your tumbler turns dryland.

Heart of the mainland

Your hazelnut eyes were like soakaways –
once I dropped down it was already too late.
A seventh-grader; I not much your senior,
and years later, on the brink of growing up,
it started with your neighbour connecting us
over late, stale street fair lagers.

No recollection of where we left that night’s
memories. No tongue-tied kisses
either, no shy affection –
all the Old Town’s flagstones ever saw
was a top-heavy friend
ship I did not manage to navigate

to lovers’ waters. No future together,
but a life after all. Without the green boat
we used to muse about, moonstruck,
while cloud steamers stagnated above us,
always on the brink of capsizing, reminding us:
Hope is a thing for people in seaports.

On Bridge Street

after Leeanne Quinn and Luke Kelly

We chanced upon each other near the flat
you’d moved to, still within reach of your dad’s condo
and the station. You had just closed and locked
the door behind you; in the late stages of an unplanned

pregnancy, wearing wide cotton sweatpants, trying
to pretend normality while picking up the dog’s leash.
I had tarried too long and stumbled, unguided,
past the arms I had loved the most,

still did, then, but was aware of that longing’s
pointlessness. Skipping small talk, I pretended
my train was due, unable to think of speaking anything
reasonable with you being near.

Now those days are fewer, but they are still
there, when I try to gather the absence
and presence of you to which I have chained myself
too vigorously too many years ago

and have since lost key and pick for that lock.

The dunes

“there was no danger, | Only withdrawal”
– Seamus Heaney

A gust out of nowhere and she was recalled, half by herself,
half by my attempt to remain where we were,
but let it be said, a maelstrom tore our friend
ship apart. Until we were stranded, newborn,
on a tinted beach, September sun framed
by sky-blue sky. Diamond salt crystals
and watery foam spilled where heels were turned
from each other and footprints not tidal-washed
for ages. Shreds of final conversations evaporating
toward bright white cloud-mountains. The shape of loss
in the high dunes, ever-changing, unable to share
their form for longer than the next buffeting of sea breeze.

© Sven Kretzschmar 

Sven Kretzschmar hails from County Saarland, Germany. His poetry has 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), Voices 2021 (Cold River Press, 2021) and 100 Words of Solitude (Rare Swan Press, 2021), in The Irish Times, Das Gedicht, Loch Raven Review, The Bangor Literary Journal, Studi Irelandesi, Culture Matters and South Florida Poetry Journal. Sven was awarded 1st prize in the ‘Creating a Buzz in Strokestown’ competition in 2018 and he was shortlisted for the Allingham Poetry Award 2019, the Over the Edge New Writer of the Year 2019 and the Saolta Arts Annual Poetry Competition 2020, special mention in the Desmond O’Grady International Poetry Competition 2020.

See more at: and Instagram: @sven_kretzschmar_poetry

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.