Poem No. 113: “Poems for Europe – 10 National Portraits in Verse” by various European Poets

Gedichte, Insights, poems, Reisen, Travel
Bildergebnis für i love europe

What happened when 10 European poets were asked to portray their home country in verse ahead of the European elections?

Well, the first thing some of them did was cheat. Then they all became a little melancholic…
Magazines across the continent – not necessarily within the EU itself – would commission a favorite poet to write four lines on their country. Frankly speaking, the majority of Europeans don`t regard Turkey as an European country at all.

Please forgive the glaring omissions – the result has been dictated by those who decided to take part – and instead worry for Europa. Clearly this is not a continent suffering from bombastic self-confidence & optimism; in fact, quite the opposite.  (Die Zeit & The Guardian)


Magazine Kosovo 2.0 
Poet Shpëtim Selmani

On the first day blood was created 
on the second day death 
on the third love was mentioned 
and then there were no days left for us


Magazine ZEITmagazin 
Poet Saša Stanišic

We’ve lost our secrets. Gave them away, like our well-built weapons,
only involuntarily. We shake babies, when Bayern lose a match, we are as beautiful as a bishop’s residence. We bet our beer will take over, a monument for Erwin
Rommel, our epics, our migrants in the theatre, our Russian energy


Magazine De Morgen Magazine 
Poet Maud Vanhauwaert

Small, but with a central location 
And with views aplenty. Belgium is a house 
With many rooms – where things get shuffled and pushed around – 
Behind curtains where all of Europe wanders past


Magazine Volkskrant Magazine 
Poet Johnny Ceres Jr

We from on top of each other
Are not like iron on iron
But are like slipping in
When nobody’s looking for a moment


Magazine Il Venerdì di Repubblica 
Poet Valerio Magrelli

On a Turkish Song to Italy

Dear Italy, At last you’re in my sight
I salute you, friendly shores!
The whole peninsula rests
Encircled by a craving necklace
Of the drowned.
Every one of them is a crumb
Scattered to find the way home
But the fish have eaten them 
and the clandestini [illegal immigrants]
Lost in the sea without return
Wander like Tom Thumbs
Sown in the water all around


Magazine ViMagazino 
Poet Dimítris Dimitriádis

The Buried Cradle

The crisis is not the same in Greece as in other countries. 
Everyone says, no matter how they say it, Greece is the cradle of Europe. 
Europe should consider its roots and reconsider its values. 
And see in Greece, and Greece in itself, the painful present, 
the raw material for a brand-new cradle

United Kingdom

Magazine Observer Magazine 
Poet Don Paterson


What country? And you try being so far adrift 
in this weather. Still, we have our two-edged gift 
of tongues to watch, and tongues we find to sing 
of London’s Babylon, Skye’s Wyoming


Magazine Radikal 
Poet Murat Mentes

The aliens sniffing the aromas rising from Turkish kitchens
The aliens hearing poems of Rumi, melodies of Mevlevis
The aliens seeing the brightness of the Bosphorus, of domes, of young smiles
Ask each other: “Those signals do come from the Earth, but which part exactly?”
One among them gives the answer: “From Europe, of course, where else?!”


Magazine Das Magazin 
Poet Jürg Halter

Pro Helvetia

As neutral as a cheese free of inhibitions
Thriving in a golden bank safe
In the shade of chocolate-covered mountains
Where every cliché becomes a shrieking reality: Pro Helvetia


Magazine Falter 
Poet Michael Stavarič

Barely have I closed my eyes 
and I think to myself
That I fit in there perfectly
In you, my beloved Austria
And everything is good
For 10, 12, 13 breaths
Barely awake again, I am asked if I will 
be writing an obituary to
you, my beloved Austria
And I hear myself say
Yes, yes, oh yes
And then that truly frightened me

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