Meret Oppenheim (Man Ray photo)

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 POEMS by Meret Oppenheim

  Translated by Pamela Robertson-Pearce & Anselm Spoerri

I feel how my eye turns towards the forests and the moon.

I feel my compass pointing towards the nourishing proverbs.

But my beautiful crocodile.

My crocodile out of heart,

Where does your pride go ?


Up there in that garden

There stand my shadows

That cool my back.

They stand in that garden

They fight about old bread

And crow like cockerels.

Today I want to visit them

Today I want to greet them

And count their noses.


For you, against you

Throw all the stones behind you

And let the walls loose.

To you, on you

For one hundred singers above you

the hoofs run loose.

I delight in my mushrooms

I am the first guest in the house

And let the walls loose.


The dew on the rose

Who touched it before

Before the night ?

She kept her pale flesh

Her wax

Black and white

One sees her again in the clouds

Eating marzipan.


Forsaken, forgotten

So black on the shore of oats.

I do not want to measure the time,

that invented this pain.

The yellow waves cut

The new net in two.

They come, go and say:

The poor miscellany !


Loyal captain

Tell me

Show me the place in the clouds

that the wing of the swallow opened

The valley of waves in the goddess' hair

The green lights in the forest

Here it is night

Evil brooms kill the kobolds

No wheel turns anymore.

Darkness does not know itself

Nor does it ask

It is a fist within a fist

That no one sees.


The sea lies frozen on the beach

The statues fall unconscious to the ground

A thousand flashes of lightning are looking desperately for an exit

Knives fly like birds through the air.

Nothing more to hear

Nothing to see

Nothing to feel.

Whoever sees her white fingers,

is willing to transform themselves.

Everybody sheds their skin

to offer themselves to the new world.

All know that no ship will bring her back

but the horn of plenty waves.


Finally !

Freedom !

The harpoons fly.

The rainbow is floating in the streets,

Only overshadowed by the distant humming of the giant-bees

Everyone loses everything, which they, oh so often,

have overflown in vain.

But: Genevieve:


Standing on her head

Two meters above the ground

Without arms.

Her son Realm of Pain:

Wrapped into her hair.

Small fountain.

I repeat : small fountain.

Wind and cries in the distance.


Weak, weaker, left.

The living to the left.

The dead ahead.

The stubborn will approach soon.

Who whistles once, does not belong here.

He will be sifted, respected,

And nine and well slaughtered,

And at last the hairs are empty.