Saturday, August 16, 2014

a shard from which I drank

[ always to be among words ]

Always to be among words, whether one wants to or not,
always to be alive, full of words about life,
as if words were alive, as if life were a-word.

But it's otherwise, believe me.
Between a word and a thing
you only encounter yourself,
lying by each as if next to someone ill,
never able to get to either,
tasting a sound and a body,
tasting out both.

It tastes of death.

Yet death and life, whether both exist,
who knows,
since so many of the dead are distant, though in me
there are so many dead,
the dead having also taken me
along with them.

a friend, a girl who once knew me,
a shard from which I drank to you....

--Ingeborg Bachmann
(my revision of Peter Filkins's translation)


  1. I love Bachmann's work ... and your excellent rendition of it ... never forget the shard you drank from a long time ago, it quenched your thirst ... for something new. Love, cat.

  2. A novel mobius strip of a poem, this one. Words are false distancers from the real - dead - but they are the only thing that (perhaps) can bring us to the lost - the dead.