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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing January 2023
Autumn lands, poems by Sven Kretzschmar.
Autumn lands on our shores, swaps in on the Fourth Wave, redoubtable
and heavy, and on these autumn lands what still grows is greener
closer to the ground. Wet November afternoons are harbingers of first frost
and foggy mornings. Maybe of snow, black ice, rising death case counts.
In impersonal concrete boxes, thick, repellent, and blurred, hidden
under sky-grey skies, saviours wrapped in protective foils dreading to decide
whom they will have to count among the unsavable.
Tripping through woods in November
after Mikiro Sasaki
Memories, strewn like rotting foliage, make you stumble
without prior notice. Past thick brambles of sorriness
trees remain voiceless in drizzle, a donkey
is whinnying across the pale landscape.
Otherwise, silence speaks its own soliloquies.
Empty-eyed I wait for you to come calling,
knowing you’ll do the same you did
when I throve and breathed among islanders.
A pylon spanning the wood glade crackles:
is it your breath, a hush of air as you pass
elsewhere, or the blowing wind making cables
sing? Gaunt boscage is mumbling for me alone
and Dublin a far-away town Love never visited.
Leaf sludge when you look out for the ghost of Kavanagh
on Pembroke Road, dishevelled after a year’s penultimate night out.
Drinking cans on banks by the Canal, Baggot Street earlier on,
all intellect drowned in the swell of black seas. Light pollution
over townhouses, but a threatening darkness
beyond the windowpanes. White facemask greys in some gutter,
you expect to wake to the rumble of yellow carrier tins,
a hangover and the question if your city, like Dresden,
will clear out halls for coffin stacking; if the coming year will be 2020
too? Last glimpses of thinking before you marry
warm blankets, your trusted sick bucket resting, reproachfully,
beside a time-proven headboard.
© Sven Kretzschmar
Sven Kretzschmar hails from Germany. His work has been published internationally, e.g., in Writing Home. The ‘New Irish’ Poets (Dedalus Press, 2019), Hold Open the Door (UCD Press, 2020), 100 Words of Solitude (Rare Swan Press, 2021), Das Gedicht, The Irish Times and more. He was awarded 2nd prize for the Francis Ledwidge International Poetry Award 2022.