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This poem is taken from PN Review 243, Volume 45 Number 1, September - October 2018.

Four Poems (translated by Ken Cockburn) Thomas Rosenlocher
Translated from the German by Ken Cockburn

BORN IN DRESDEN in 1947, Rosenlöcher lived in the German Democratic Republic until reunification in 1990. He first completed a commercial training before studying at the Johannes R. Becher Literature Institute in Leipzig. He has been working as a freelance author since 1983 and is a member of the Saxon Academy of Arts. He lives near Dresden.

Rosenlöcher published two books of poems in the GDR before Die verkauften Pflastersteine: Dresdener Tagebuch (Sold Cobblestones: Dresden Diary), 1990, gained him readers in the West. Poems from his 2001 collection Am Wegrand stand Apollo (Apollo Stands at the Wayside), translated by Tessa Ransford, appeared in The Nightingale Question (Shearsman, 2004), and he undertook a short reading tour in Scotland in 2005. His recent books include two collections of poems, Das Flockenkarussel (The Snowflake Carousel, 2007) and Hirngefunkel (Mindspark, 2012).

My Wooden Tongue (‘Das Holz der Rede’)

I’ll be right there. I quickly headed down
the mazy pathway that went snaking through
the dying garden, sneaking off from itself,
where in the early light the apple tree
was standing where, indeed, it always had,
but somehow squint, and looking black as death,
and then as I approached it, just hang on,
slowly lowered itself toward the lawn
and laid its trunk upon my shoulder, so
I almost buckled underneath its weight,
saying to myself: such is life.
One man drives a car he takes for granted,
...


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