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Audio: Read in English by Mark Burrows, the translator. 

Audio: Read in German by the poet.


                                                  …so why do I tell you
anything? Because you still listen, because in times like these
to have you listen at all, it’s necessary
to talk about trees.

                            —Adrienne Rich

She gathered mushrooms and asked
of the basket what it is that some
of us are doing to others.

What times these are.
No one knows what’s happening.
The air is filled with words.

A great gathering of birds
swarms upward, downward—
ravens   jackdaws   swallows   crows.

And even the peaceful doves
nestle together against the winds
under the eaves of the roof.

Words about the day, as if this were a time
of sinister paths which no one can see.
Nothing to hear other than mere sounds.

News about the news,
and names mentioned incidentally,
planes, cars and more cars.

From far off, shots are fired
and fall at the feet of some among us,
and the fighting goes on.

And the last of the autumn leaves
cling to the swaying poplars standing
beside my house, at the valley’s edge.


Translated from the German by Mark S. Burrows.



Anton Schlösser has published three collections of poems, most recently Terrarium des Zufalls (Terrarium of Chance). By profession a psychiatrist, he directed a residential facility for adults with severe psychological challenges, pioneering new methods of non-coercive treatment and care.

Mark S. Burrows is a poet, translator, and scholar of medieval mysticism. Winner of the Witter Bynner Prize in Poetry, his recent poetry volumes include The Chance of Home (Paraclete) and, with Jon M. Sweeney, Meister Eckhart’s Book of Secrets (Hampton Roads).


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