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Poet in Residence: Hans Kellett

Hans KellettDer neuseeländische Künstler Hans Kellett streifte täglich durch die umliegenden Gärten und entlang des Berliner Mauerpfads, um das Gespräch mit den Menschen vor Ort zu suchen. So erblühte eine Serie von Poemen,
die natürlich auch ihren Weg ins Radio fanden.

Hier sind zwei davon…




I’m tending my parents‘ grave
 here in the Rosenthal Cemetery
 and I’m trimming the hedge.
 I think you have to do it twice a year
 I do it in spring and late summer
 I don’t know if that’s the right way to do it, but it suits me that way.
 It’s not raining, and it had to be done,
 so I thought I’d do it today
 I’ve been doing this for ten years
 since my parents died
 or… yeah…
 two-thousand… um… nine.
 Since then.
 It’s like my little garden,
 because I don’t have any other garden.
 And it’s big for a grave –
 a double grave two by two metres,
 not just a little spot for an urn.
 There’s a bit to be done.
 I decide spontaneously what to plant, and how
 I wanted something taller, that offered some shade
 So I chose this Japanese Maple,
 a little one
 a couple of roses
 and the rest more ground cover.
 I like the maple: it has such a beautiful colour, its reddish leaves.
 My mother chose this spot when my father died
 they – so to speak – reserved a double
 so they are both buried here now.

But it’s a beautiful little cemetary
 and there is a tawny owl up in the church
 you can see it even in the day.
 He observes everything
 he’s always been there, I think
 as long as…
 I don’t know how old they get
 if that’s already the next generation.
 When I trim the hedge,
 it should just be a bit straighter
 a bit shorter, a bit narrower
 usually you’d use a string –
 stretch it along the sides
 so you have the same height all around
 and go by that
 but it’s not such a big hedge
 what is it?
 thirty centimetres?
 or twenty-five?
 It’ll be enough if I measure it by eye…
 Then Ines and I walk round to see
 The tawny owl in the chapel wall – it’s one of three
 To me it looks first like a loaf of wholemeal bread
 perched in a niche, til two slit eyes turn bread to head
 And Jörg’s eyes are both opened now
 He asks his phone, and tells us how
 tawny’s been crowned ‘Bird of the Year’
 A cloud moves on,
 the sky’s trimmed clear.


The Spree shifts
casting drifts of
fine sand,
scattering its broad banks
with silica seeds.

And Lisa loves dill,
so she hopes that it will grow
in the sandy soil
of her city satellite.
She was fire and flame for a garden.

But Prussian sand
is stronger-willed
than April
in its multitude of grains
than dill can deal with.

In the centre 
of the sparsely-grassed lawn
a stand of tree.

Its name means
‘Tree of Life’
and yet
it is eternal uninvited guest
at burials.

Cypressaceae –
its sap
can stop
your planting plans.

You can’t compost it.

Members of its family
hang around like paparazzi
like oglers at a car crash,
the bouncers at 
Böcklin’s Hotel California.  

This sand, though
is more giving
than the chalky cliffs
of The Isle of the Dead.

It whispered to Lisa
of Old Frites
and so they came,
the end of season staple -
pink, and white,
and glossy with butter.

Now she’s not planting,
but shaping,
shifting the soil into a
productive patchwork

there’ll be a barbeque
and soon
she’ll harvest her herbs.

This post is also available in: Englisch

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