Archive for March 7th, 2020

Saturday, 7 March 2020

From “Return to Frankfurt” by Marie Luise von Holzing-Berslett Kaschnitz

The girl thinks     if I can only manage
not to step on any of these
delicate hands of shadow
cast on the sidewalk by the chestnut trees

The boy thinks     if I reach the trolley
in time and if it doesn’t have to wai
at the switch and the traffice policeman really
does his job and tries to clear the street

If     thinks the girl     before I reach that tree
the third on the left no nun comes out at me
and if not more than twice I pass small boys
crossing the street in groups, carrying toys
oh     then it’s certain that we’ll meet

Unless     the boy thinks     there’s a power failure
unless forked lightning strikes the driver
unless the trolley-car gets smashed to bits
surely we’ll meet     yes I can count on it

And many times the girl must shiver
And the boy think     will this last forever
until under the chestnut trees they meet,
wordless and smilling, in some quite street.

From: Philip, Neil (ed.), It’s A Woman’s World A Century of Women’s Voices in Poetry, 2000, Dutton Children’s Books: New York, p. 20.

Date: 1946 (original in German); 1983 (translation in English)

By: Marie Luise von Holzing-Berslett Kaschnitz (1901-1974)

Translated by: Esther Beatrice Cameron (1941- )