Ludwig Hartinger


Ludwig Hartinger






The Minnow’s Word


in the depths of memory

windows beyond experience

the nearness of language

a hand’s invisible touch


the Sea of Stones drank

dark clouds all day  white

trails through sky clearings

and a voice’s echo in the eyes


the reed also needs the

rain  night conceals lost

words  on a balcony

the first white butterfly


the willow divined for you

at the steps  the splash of a wave

every change you feel

has its own night

(hide the day under a white hood.)


a May cricket  chirped all night  in the first cut grass


seven solitary benches

persimmons on Godot’s

tree  paper lanterns

in the ringing twilight


Karst  you are the stone window

of inscapes  red soil of bitter

dreams  a solitary well

a stone wreath of words


Karst ear  can you hear

the wave beneath my steps

the shore’s azure song

in the embrace of the wind


zephyr spring zephyr

deepest memory of paths

sun in birch branches

lighten your step


I breathe dreams into your day

and at night dawn in your heart


and sometimes her gaze

cradles my eyelids

I imagine  on the lips

an echo shimmering still


silent falling leaf  take the raindrop with you  down to the roots


not far from the bridge

an amber eye anchors

in a pool leaves circle

not all fall into their shadows


it trembles and you tremble

when you walk past a fern

autumnal and yet it wears

the dew in the veil of day


hide yourself in the palm of

beginning  nearness dreams

you  the scent of unfading

dawn in the darkness


an azure sky slumbers in the tree

a ball spins under the waterfall

the child once fell into a tolmun

a little goat into mother’s milk


when the snow lies  softly upon the tracks

you thread duration  through the needle eye of words


a tangled shoelace  shimmers  in a magpie’s nest


autumn falls into the window

summer dust drops from a branch

leave your shadow now

for the Fates to braid


it is as if this wind sleeps

inside of you  this quiet

murmur of silver memory

wisps  the diaphanous gaze


traces of red earth on

the road and the dance of

cracks  a crooked picture

in the waiting room – alone


nightshade nods at the corner.

lift the black sieve from

your eyelids.  a white balloon

pauses above a watering place


in the stony heart  a dark shell glimmers  the wave rocks it



Trans. by Erica Johnson-Debeljak











Ludwig Hartinger, born 1952 at Saalfelden am Steinernem Meer/Austria; word-vagabond, essayist, translater (from french and slovenian), editor; in the editorial staff of the austrian magazine « Literatur und Kritik », editor of the poetry-collection « RanitzDrucke »/Edition Thanhäuser; publishes poems (« Die Schärfe des Halms », Ed. Thanhäuser 2013) and essays; lives in Salzburg/Austria and the slovenian karst-region.


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