2.24.2007

poems by Meret Oppenheim

looking at The Governess tonight --

poems she wrote when first in Paris from Switzerland apparently translated as part of press for the documentary

another example of an artist -- we all have these -- that if the educational system in especially the US, and the provincial character was different, certainly interested young people would find it easier to access excellent artists languishing in obscurity? what is it that makes this obscurity?

Meret Oppenheim died the year after I graduated from high school, at a time when I believe I had already encountered her most famous work and it made a lasting impression -- interesting me, at a time when I was most interested in visual art (before being discouraged from it) -- photos of course -- and actually wasn't far from places she lived a few years before that

who from the turn of the century, much less our founding fathers, could have believed the likely future populations oft he world or what that size and spread would mean to lives

production and reproduction vs. a land of looking and creation; perhaps technology the only way to move between the two


POEMS by Meret Oppenheim
Translated by Pamela Robertson-Pearce & Anselm Spoerri


I feel how my eye turns towards the forests and the moon.
I feel my compass pointing towards the nourishing proverbs.
But my beautiful crocodile.
My crocodile out of heart,
Where does your pride go ?


Up there in that garden
There stand my shadows
That cool my back.
They stand in that garden
They fight about old bread
And crow like cockerels.
Today I want to visit them
Today I want to greet them
And count their noses.


For you, against you
Throw all the stones behind you
And let the walls loose.
To you, on you
For one hundred singers above you
the hoofs run loose.
I delight in my mushrooms
I am the first guest in the house
And let the walls loose.


The dew on the rose
Who touched it before
Before the night ?
She kept her pale flesh
Her wax
Black and white
One sees her again in the clouds
Eating marzipan.


Forsaken, forgotten
So black on the shore of oats.
I do not want to measure the time,
that invented this pain.
The yellow waves cut
The new net in two.
They come, go and say:
The poor miscellany !


Loyal captain
Tell me
Show me the place in the clouds
that the wing of the swallow opened
The valley of waves in the goddess' hair
The green lights in the forest
Here it is night
Evil brooms kill the kobolds
No wheel turns anymore.
Darkness does not know itself
Nor does it ask
It is a fist within a fist
That no one sees.


The sea lies frozen on the beach
The statues fall unconscious to the ground
A thousand flashes of lightning are looking desperately for an exit
Knives fly like birds through the air.
Nothing more to hear
Nothing to see
Nothing to feel.
Whoever sees her white fingers,
is willing to transform themselves.
Everybody sheds their skin
to offer themselves to the new world.
All know that no ship will bring her back
but the horn of plenty waves.


Finally !
Freedom !
The harpoons fly.
The rainbow is floating in the streets,
Only overshadowed by the distant humming of the giant-bees
Everyone loses everything, which they, oh so often,
have overflown in vain.
But: Genevieve:
Stiff
Standing on her head
Two meters above the ground
Without arms.
Her son Realm of Pain:
Wrapped into her hair.
Small fountain.
I repeat : small fountain.
Wind and cries in the distance.

Weak, weaker, left.
The living to the left.
The dead ahead.
The stubborn will approach soon.
Who whistles once, does not belong here.
He will be sifted, respected,
And nine and well slaughtered,
And at last the hairs are empty.


I feel how my eye turns towards the forests and the moon.
I feel my compass pointing towards the nourishing proverbs.
But my beautiful crocodile.
My crocodile out of heart,
Where does your pride go ?

Up there in that garden
There stand my shadows
That cool my back.
They stand in that garden
They fight about old bread
And crow like cockerels.
Today I want to visit them
Today I want to greet them
And count their noses.

For you, against you
Throw all the stones behind you
And let the walls loose.
To you, on you
For one hundred singers above you
the hoofs run loose.
I delight in my mushrooms
I am the first guest in the house
And let the walls loose.


The dew on the rose
Who touched it before
Before the night ?
She kept her pale flesh
Her wax
Black and white
One sees her again in the clouds
Eating marzipan.

Forsaken, forgotten
So black on the shore of oats.
I do not want to measure the time,
that invented this pain.
The yellow waves cut
The new net in two.
They come, go and say:
The poor miscellany !

Loyal captain
Tell me
Show me the place in the clouds
that the wing of the swallow opened
The valley of waves in the goddess' hair
The green lights in the forest
Here it is night
Evil brooms kill the kobolds
No wheel turns anymore.
Darkness does not know itself
Nor does it ask
It is a fist within a fist
That no one sees.


The sea lies frozen on the beach
The statues fall unconscious to the ground
A thousand flashes of lightning are looking desperately for an exit
Knives fly like birds through the air.
Nothing more to hear
Nothing to see
Nothing to feel.
Whoever sees her white fingers,
is willing to transform themselves.
Everybody sheds their skin
to offer themselves to the new world.
All know that no ship will bring her back
but the horn of plenty waves.

Finally !
Freedom !
The harpoons fly.
The rainbow is floating in the streets,
Only overshadowed by the distant humming of the giant-bees
Everyone loses everything, which they, oh so often,
have overflown in vain.
But: Genevieve:
Stiff
Standing on her head
Two meters above the ground
Without arms.
Her son Realm of Pain:
Wrapped into her hair.
Small fountain.
I repeat : small fountain.
Wind and cries in the distance.

Weak, weaker, left.
The living to the left.
The dead ahead.
The stubborn will approach soon.
Who whistles once, does not belong here.
He will be sifted, respected,
And nine and well slaughtered,
And at last the hairs are empty.


One feeds on berries
One salutes with the shoe
Quick, quick, the most beautiful vowel empties itself.


Belvedere, the summerhouse behind the church, is my spiritual oasis.
The things that surround me here are close to my heart and inspire me.
Here, I can refresh my mind and collect new strength.
Here, I feel connected to ancient times.

Ohne mich ohnehin ohne Weg kam ich dahin ohne Brotohne Atem aber mitnichten mitneffen mit Kasparmit Kuchen so rund war er etwas eckig zwar aber ohne Grasbewuchs mit Narben mit Warzen mit Fingernmit Stäben mit vielen O's und wenig W'sdafür mit ganz enorm wenig viel.Oh falle du doch in dein Loch oh begrabe du dich doch selbstund deine langatmige Hoffnunggib deinem Ich einen Tritt deinem Es seinen Lohnund was von dir übrig bleibt brate wie Fischlein im Öldu kannst deine Schuhe abstreifen."

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