Title: Sport 40: 2012

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, 2014, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 40: 2012

Ulrike Almut Sandig

page 266

Ulrike Almut Sandig

it’s later than you think, laurentia

this feeling of numbness doesn’t come from
just anywhere, do you remember (say
now) the creature you once must have been
not so long ago and that law laid down
herewith that if we don’t meet each
other right now, laurentia, monday tuesday
wednesday, even if it doesn’t come down
any more to a couple of stowaways
stumbling in, the last surviving wild animals
will without a shadow of doubt be standing
at your bedside leaning up against your soul
(just say today) with their warm breathing,
this good and strange fairy-tale, but mainly
the soul and tomorrow. I have forgotten
this and every single vital daily routine.
but every morning I think of all that lost
time, laurentia, saturday, my extinct my
exquisite creature! (never say saturday,
say rather okapi or piano) when on earth,
laurentia, tell me, will you be back here.

page 267


the russian wood was what we avoided, where
we didn’t dare go, where thick wads of light rose
to the tops of the spruce trees, red, where the ash
from fag butts and misshapen steel clogged up
the ditches that bordered the field. at the edge of the
village tables shifted and something would wake us
up late: there was, further on, the end of the path.

Achtung! landmines access forbidden/ heath land
obstruction clearing moss fringe/ crater and deer
empty villages/ brickworks heather. there were

convoys of lorries, tanks, dark green tarpaulins
with blokes inside, all in rows, their backs to us,
forty or more, their heads shaved. and there was
this guy once who stood there for four hours,
in july, in the heat, on the crossing alone, till thirty
of them trundle past in their hardware and he raises

his right arm/ give way military/ until dust and
the barking of dogs and he didn’t budge/ skinny
lad sunset/ centre strips green. they had always

been there and sometimes stripped the slats
from the fences, sliced off the cabbage tops
shot at the poultry and, when they were full,
pushed on to the fishpond, the sun, and set about
swapping badges with the kids, red and sickle
for friendship. the ones that did that did not
   stay around long. we waited in vain.

page 268


& there was the table, the chair, and a child
that sat in the kitchen to eat, and the quiet in
the hall, with no one around to count their own
footfalls, the cross-window whiter than usual
towards dusk, tiny creatures cutting through the
courtyard in flight and dust lay on the glass and
the child was so quiet and something that fell in
with a crash that was hot at its heart and grew
darker and, thudded and the child tore its eyes
wide open and was able, it was not able to see.


this is the spot where luck trickles away. only that
will be saved that is written in the index of the sea,
in the strata of woods silted in sand: to find hag stones brings
luck!! not finding hags, not finding dead old birds, finding holes
perhaps, not the search for new GODS. just finding hags,
stones and amber, the bloodletting of ancient trees, only
inclusions of our whispering dreams are never to be found.
no more crowns in the silt, no lizards, and no inkling of wind.

Translator’s note: The German ‘Hühnergott’ refers to what are called hag stones, witch stones, serpent’s eggs, or snake’s eggs in England, adderstanes in the south of Scotland and Gloine nan Druidh (‘Druids’ glass’ in Scottish Gaelic) in the north: that is a stone with a natural hole right through. The German, literally ‘hen god’, bears the trace of when such stones were thought of as talismans to keep the domestic poultry safe from spirits.
From Streumen © Connewitzer Verlagsbuchhandlung, 2011. English translations © Karen Leeder,2012.