13 November 2010

Werner Reichhold

It is fairly obvious (unless you don't speak German) that the following lines from the poem "Larval in Waiting" by Werner Reichhold are really in German, using English words:

"arcs of palms donate
imperceptible asseverations
                  desert nightfall
                 we are destined
                             to resort
with the habitual coolness of a snake’s tongue
that brings to attendance an enigmatic path
like nakedness caught by the call of insects"

I really don't think any monolingual English speaker would say "imperceptible asseverations" or "brings to attendance."  The phrases are not ungrammatical; they are just not natural for monolingual English speakers.  They are, however, quite "natural" for bilinguals.  To appreciate the poetry, we really have to have two languages running simultaneously in our minds - English and German.

Needless to say, since Reichhold is also an artist of note, the words aspire to the condition not only of poetry or music but of the visual arts.

1 comment:

  1. The blog delivers two gems: pithy poetry and perceptive commentary. Thank you.