Some Questions Regarding Poems


Michael Augustin, who posed Some Questions Regarding Poems, is a German poet and a great lover of Ireland.  The translation is by his wife, Sujata Bhatt.  I post this for y’all, on this, International Poetry Day, 2019.  That we may continue to question, and that he and I and all those who do, to write. Without fear.  With love.

Some Questions Regarding Poems

By Michael Augustin

Translated from the German by Sujata Bhatt

 

 

Can poets change the world – Gottfried Benn

 

 

 

Is poetry

a continent

or is it more like an ocean?

 

 

Are there more written

or more unwritten poems?

 

 

How much does it cost

to produce

a poem?

 

 

Which poem

says more about its author:

his first one or his last?

 

 

How many poems per month

does an average

family of four need

to make ends meet?

 

 

Should a poem contain

everything

that is found in the newspaper

or everything

that is not found in the newspaper?

 

 

Which words

have never ever

appeared

in a poem?

 

 

If one places

a book of poems

on the scales

and it shows 300 gram,

does that indicate

the weight of the paper

or that of the poems?

 

 

What is

the opposite of a poem?

 

 

Do poems tend

to be loud

or to be quiet?

 

 

How many old poems

fit in a new one?

And how many new poems

fit in an old one?

 

 

What is the difference

between a poem with a title

and a poem without a title

discounting the fact

that one has a title

and the other has none?

 

 

How can poems

be prevented?

 

 

 

Can a poem sense it

if it’s brushed

by the mantle

of literary history?

 

 

Should poems

be provided

with the foot-note

“please delete what does not apply”?

 

 

May poems

refuse to give evidence?

 

 

Should one throw poems

to the drowning?

 

 

 

 

What do memorable poems

remember?

 

 

Do political poems

represent

the interests

of apolitical poems?

 

 

How good must a poem be

in order to be forbidden?

 

 

Do poems evaporate

if one leaves the book

lying open for too long?

 

 

Is earth

the only planet

where poems

are to be found?

 

 

Should poems

be deployed

in areas of crisis?

 

 

Has the supply

of poems

for the population

been secured?

 

 

In case of emergency

are there any reserves of poems

and for how long

would they last?

 

 

How long

can a human being

survive

without poems?

 

 

From ‘Mickle Makes Muckle’ by Michael Augustin, Dedalus Press

2007

 

 

Isabel Healy

Isabel Healy

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