Untitled from Oppressive Light


My cheeks are red hot,
my lip still trembles,
because I sent my heart
to speak; every word of it
delusional and awkward,
an exuberance, an abrupt sound.
That’s how I spoke, oh, it still
shows on my hot cheeks
I’m now carrying home.
I look down at the snow
and walk past many houses,
past many hedges, many trees,
the snow adorns hedge, tree and house.
I walk on, staring down
at the snow, on my cheeks
nothing but red-hot memory
reminding me of my wild talk.



Robert Walser (Switzerland, 1878-1956)

from Oppressive Light. Selected Poems by Robert Walser. Translated from German by Daniele Pantano, with an introduction by Carolyn Forche. Black Lawrence Press, Tra edition 2012. ISBN 978-1936873180



The cover image is a detail of The Parthenon of Books at Documenta 14, Kassel, until September 17, 2017

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