Four Poems by Friederike Mayröcker

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ecstatic morning, 
for Linde Waber

on up the mirroring woodpath that is mirroring from
the glaring lake to the right as towards us 1 beautiful wanderer
and over the roots of the mighty trees I strayed
while the clanging sun that is the high midday light
dusted through the vaulted treetops that time in Altaussee
and the pine-trees to the left (wind-scattered) paper-thin
day. As Mother once when I went away 3 crosslets : knotlets
of crosslets planted upon my forehead lips and breast as  
you did too before we said goodbye, this bush stinging nettle
wood fragrant in bed niche etc.
where the hidden violets sprouted 


Velázquez these sheep, the official ocean “ruby
of taillights when cars brake” (John Updike) shrouded
air “rustling love” the head (suddenly) turned to
all humans toward the window which was BUFFED by whitethorn-
twigs fantasized branchlets and daffodils, it’s January
with painted roses of morning-tears on the windowpanes I
cry 1 lot the l.holy woman comes toward me I want to
embrace her, I want to stay the reading glass in my hand I want to
live hand in hand with Scardanelli, the lamb in my bed
the shabbiness of my meantime ecstatically without intimation (in-
flamed) as that time when Father photographed me in my
white dress and 1 strand of hair (had turned my head)
fluttered in my eye –
his fiery kiss as we said goodbye he kissed me 3 × on the
cheek (in the Swiss manner) whitethorn he says and looks at the
window where young leaflets where hidden violets swarmed
TREELINGS he says collected in 1 cap (carrying aging
Mother up the mountain in the pack-basket, that time). The leaflets
in the glass bent by 1 winter posy, 1 bush of soul-
perhaps benighted, windstrewn so the hidden
violets sprout
, followed me into the kitchen as I set up
the tea : was 1 politeness, ach my brain (poem) evap-
orated, dreamed of barberry shrubs of Granada of the
still ocean of the Sea of Marmara the damp crooked clover on
yesterday’s scribbled-down notes, in the corner of the eye also 1
roar of home etc.


to EJ

he invites me to eat it was already spring we were
1 to ourselves I sensed the fullness of his spirit he drank
1 glass of red wine and the more I looked long at him reached
for his hand the time passed not quite as rapidly as
today he was in the know I was secure by leading-
strings how children are held and it tricks the soul Hölderlin
sweet limes that is proclaimed holy in tattered box CONSUMPTION
sweet limes that is where the southern sky. Happy we
were 1 silent happiness ach unsupposing was I and
midday early-spring, his handkerchief (checkered) on the inn-
table the KNIOQUE (no, not the KNOT) of Ponge –
the nerving and dancing and in the foliage in which we sat his
heart (his shadow) that beat for me, every cornerlet of
earth every hedge-row hillock flower of the poet : warm
1 tea-baggy is INRI 1 l.bird skull on our bed


                                   when she waved 1 more × while saying good-
                                   bye when I still waved 1 more × while saying
                                   goodbye that is in the same blink of the
                                   eye, both of us surely thinking the words
                                   of the poet Confucius “when saying goodbye
                                   the host is to wait at the gate until
                                   the guest no longer looks
                                   back . .”

while the lilac-bush wafted, while the feet of the blackbird have fallen
off, while the friend planted a fig tree, while
the lark’s song flees to the trees so my heart is evermore, Scarda-
nelli. Naturally the camellias and the friend’s kisses, the asc-
ension of her voice (Maria Callas), these grasslets in the Teutoburg
Forest as out of the train window I (fancied) amidst liverwort
floods (suchlike) –
as up the slope we to the Leopoldsberg farmstead that is
the spring gleam as soon as the spirit paints and verses itself, and
defiant sun strophe, while the lilacs waft

for Christel Fallenstein


—translated by Jonathan Larson

Friederike Mayröcker was born in Vienna in 1924. Since 1956 she has been publishing works of poetry and prose, radio plays, and children’s books. She has received countless awards for her writings that include among others the Georg Büchner Prize (2001), the Hermann Lenz Prize (2009), and the Austrian Book Prize (2016). The Song Cave has just published the first English translation of her book Scardanelli, translated by Jonathan Larson.

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