Sven Kretzschmar – Saltwater

Kretzschmar profile Dec 2020

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing, Volume Two, December 2020.

Sven Kretzschmar is an internationally published German poet. 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), Turangalîla-Palestine (Dairbhre, 2019), and Voices 2020 (Cold River Press). In 2018, he was awarded 1st prize in the ‘Creating a Buzz in Strokestown’ competition. 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. Further work is forthcoming in 100 Words of Solitude (Rare Swan Press, 2020), Ireland Chair of Poetry Anthology (UCD Press, tba), Loch Raven Review, Drawn to the Light Press and others.

See more at: and Instagram: @sven_saar_poetry


visiting Dun Aengus

Spray blown onto your face from the roaring Atlantic
finds its way down your cheek – a teardrop.
Childlike gaze toward stonewall and your father’s heavy hand
on your shoulder; no getting lost between tourists here.

Discovering old ringforts carries romantic dreams of ancient
warriors, free men clad in fur and leather, of victorious
raids, heroic escapes, of days born
out of possibility, determined only by waves and wind.

Later, all warriors gone, you claim in the safe harbour
of a dry, windless car all the saltwater was brought to you
by gales from the past, which had it appear as if a strong boy,
a free man cried.

River voyage

for Jasmin, after her 31st birthday

Distortion of current under surface,
breaking waves form splashing curls: a wild
rhapsody moves through a narrow streambed,

moss-lined, falls over rocks abraded by time
and drop by drop, into wider waters,
into rivers carrying it toward Atlantic sea.

Out of softwood forests half-hid in fog,
a torrent strips its bed off gravel
and flint, fir needles and dead insects

that boarded small leaf ferries. Those white
serpent waters, surreal though they are,
I’d navigate with you to the Beara shorelines.

Out to sea, past the old bridge near Lauragh,
carried by winds on a manifold of foliage
not yet landed in Kilmakilloge Harbour.

Where a woodland path bursts

Nature has provided pale paint for
briar hedges, thorns, birch trees,
harvested fields along the ravine.
I stop where a woodland path bursts

into the open, pieces of bark thrown
in my way by nightly escapades
of wild boars, and devour this painting

framed with approaching fog
announcing a halt to the passionate season,

and the beginning of colder days.


The lushness of undisturbed moss
at the edge of a faded flowerbed,
heavy-wet rustling of brown leaves
swept under withered roses and hawthorn,

the inert beauty in the pattern of grey
and yellow lichen wrapped around lilac
twigs in my grandmother’s garden
can only for a short moment distract

and take my attention away
from buds showing, prematurely,
when autumn rushes towards exit gate,
when, as a child, I would welcome the thought

of winter-cold fields and a well-heated parlour.
Now, preparing the garden for a new season,
I find no welcome but worry in the thought
of buds announcing the return of spring

in December.

© Sven Kretzschmar