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Ode

by Alfred Brendel

translated from the German by Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright


High and mighty Initiator
old warmonger
cornucopia of goodness and good luck
head monster
penis of heaven cosmic uterus
the lowest common denominator
eye that sees all and perceives nothing
You pull away
excel in absence
Music Minus One
key without keynote
harmony without trio
salt without broth
mouth without tongue
but have no fear
we’ll be loyal
look up to you
our creation
as if you were above
revile you alone
our lethal ozone hole
our personal tailor-made chaos
fluttering of a butterfly in the jungle

 

Alfred Brendel (b. 1931) is a world-renowned classical pianist and also writes poetry and short prose. His books include Störendes Lachen während des Jaworts (Disturbing Laughter during Consent, Hanser, 1997) and Kleine Teufel (Little Devil, Hanser, 1999). He lives in Vienna and London. (2000)

Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright is a literary translator who lives in Waltham, Mass. She spent a year in Berlin translating work by non-native German authors, and her translations of the German-Turkish poets Zafer Senocak and Zehra Çirak have appeared in Another Chicago Magazine, Delos, and Dimension2. She recently translated Ernst Peter Fischer’s Beauty and the Beast: The Aesthetic Moment in Science. She works as a German-language financial typesetter. (2000)

 


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