Peter Huchel (1903-1981)
...was widely regarded as one of East Germany's best poets. Huchel's poems
began appearing in the 1920s, but his first book wasn't published until 1948. Following World War II, Huchel was
director of East Berlin Radio. He later served as editor of the literary journal "Sinn und Form," which
many critics viewed as the most influential literary journal in Germany. In 1971, Huchel moved to the West, spending
a year in Rome and ending up in West Germany. Several of Huchel's books have been translated and have appeared
in the West, including (using English titles): Highways Highways (1963), The Star Trap: Poems 1924-1947 (1967),
Numbered Days (1972), and The Ninth Hour (1979).
For Axel Vieregg
Tired of the gods and of their fires,
I lived without laws
in the dip of the valley of Hinnon.
My old companions left me,
the balance of earth and sky,
only the ram, trailing its footrot limp
across the stars, remained loyal.
Under its horns of stone
that shone without smoke, I slept by night,
every day baked urns
that I shattered against the rock
in face of the setting sun.
In the cedars I did not see
the cats' twilight, the rising of birds,
the splendor of water
flowing over my arms
when in my bucket I mixed the clay.
The smell of death made me blind.