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)
MagazineKosovo 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
MagazineZEITmagazin 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
MagazineDe 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
MagazineIl 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
MagazineViMagazino 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
MagazineObserver 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
MagazineRadikal 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?!”
MagazineDas Magazin Poet Jürg Halter
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
MagazineFalter 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
Geh fort von mir. So werd ich fürderhin in deinem Schatten stehn. Und niemals mehr die Schwelle alles dessen, was ich bin, allein betreten. Niemals wie vorher verfügen meine Seele. Und die Hand nicht so wie früher in Gelassenheit aufheben in das Licht der Sonne, seit die deine drinnen fehlt. Mag Land um Land anwachsen zwischen uns, so muss doch dein Herz in dem meinen bleiben, doppelt schlagend. Und was ich tu und träume, schließt dich ein: so sind die Trauben überall im Wein. Und ruf ich Gott zu mir: Er kommt zu zwein und sieht mein Auge zweier Tränen tragend.
“GO FROM ME”
Go from me. Yet I feel that I shall stand Henceforward in thy shadow. Nevermore Alone upon the threshold of my door Of individual life, I shall command The uses of my soul, nor lift my hand Serenely in the sunshine as before, Without the sense of that which I forbore, .. Thy touch upon the palm. The widest land Doom takes to part us, leaves thy heart in mine With pulses that beat double. What I do And what I dream include thee, as the wine Must taste of its own grapes. And when I sue God for myself, He hears that name of thine, and sees within my eyes, the tears of two.
A wind, bringing willow-cotton, sweetens the shop, And a girl from Wu, pouring wine, urges me to share it. With my comrades of the city who are here to see me off; And as each of them drains his cup, I say to him in parting, Oh, go and ask this river running to the east If it can travel farther than a friend’s love!