Featured Poem

'Kolin' after Liliencron’s ‘Wer weiss wo’

(18.vi.1757)

Soldiers drown in their blood.
Wheeling smoke, hoof-churned mud
and the sheen
of a thousand spurs catches the sun.
No one’s springing to attention
at Kolin.

All the generals and squaddies
who necked bullets like toddies
now stand easy.
Death having meant no harm
by his jogging each arm
now stands easy.

An oblong bump in the shirt
of a corpse feeding on dirt
looks like a book.
An adjutant stooped as he grieved
undid the pocket and retrieved
the Gospel of Luke.

Returned with Prussian palaver
to the high-ranking father
fixed in his chair
it now bears a spidery inscription.
Kolin. My son lost in action.
Who knows where.

And you who now read that line
are one with its writer: both decline
to see what’s there.
For each of us will be posted in turn
lost in action, to freeze or burn
who knows where.

» Comment on this translation 0 comment(s)

About the translation:
Poet:
Detlev von Liliencron
Translator:
Oliver Reynolds
Original language:
German
Issue:
Series 3 No.7 - Love and War

About the author

Detlev von Liliencron

Original poet

Detlev von Liliencron

Baron Detlev von Liliencron (June 3, 1844 Kiel - July, 1909) was a German lyric poet and novelist from Kiel.

-from the Wikip...

» Read more

Translator

Oliver Reynolds

Oliver Reynolds (born 1957, in Cardiff, Wales) is a British poet and critic. He studied drama at the University of Hull before...

» Read more

Comment

No Comments

ADD YOUR COMMENT


Browse poems

By original language »

By issue of MPT »

Go Digital

Subscribe to the digital edition of MPT for access to all back issues and to the Exactly app.» View free trial issue

Back to top
Supported by Arts Council England

Copyright © Modern Poetry in Translation and contributors
Website design ashbydesign
Developed by Code Frontiers
Powered by Storemill