Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Krisana - Fallen

This is a wonderfully melancholy, atmospheric film by the maverick German director Fred Kelemen. Set in Riga, it follows the events in the life of Matiss, after he has witnessed a woman apparently throw herself to her death from a bridge. Events unfold slowly without ever dragging, you can feel the characters thoughts in the silent moments and as a result ponder all sorts of questions around responsibility and isolation.
It's unlikely that Riga Tourist Board would pick this film for publicity purposes. For a city lauded as one of the new top destinations in eastern Europe, it looks pretty grim in this film.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Arch Nemesis

Hatred in her gypsy dark eyes,
she curses me
when she passes
in a language she doesn't know
I understand.

She lies about me
to everyone in town,
graffitti's the bridge
with hatred of me.

sticks pins in a voodoo doll
with my name on it,
brews evil potions for me.

She hates me so much
but can't remember why.

Arch Nemesis for Sunday Scribblings

Monday, November 20, 2006

Haiku - senses

brush fingers against
the dark nap of velvet –
black cat on my knee.

silver bracelet
glints in the candlelight –
one red rose.

red wine
warm in the mouth –
sweet conversation.

sensual scents -
patchouli oil and jasmine

hang in the air.

blends with the music –
dancing feet.

Senses for One Deep Breath

Monday, November 13, 2006


One Deep Breath this week challenges us to write a renga, a collaborative poem from the Japanese tradition. Alter Ego has been very adventurous and has collaborated with her old friend Crafty Green Poet to give us:

starry sky and moon
above the sleeping city –
frost sparkles on paths.

inside we dance until dawn
all dressed in glamorous clothes.

Renga, including very long ones, are very popular with some poets in Scotland. There an interesting article at:

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Ingeborg Bachmann

I've just finished reading 'Die Gestundete Zeit' a collection of poetry from the Austrian writer Ingeborg Bachmann (1926 - 1973). Her poetry is beautifully written, dark and melancholy and a little too difficult for me always to fully appreciate it in the original German. I'm glad to see that there are at least two volumes available in English:
Darkness Spoken: Collected Poems of Ingeborg Bachmann, 2005 (trans. by Peter Filkins)
Last Living Words: The Ingeborg Bachmann Reader, 2006 (trans. by Lilian Friedberg)
though some of her work strikes me as untranslateable. Certainly when I attempted to translate her poem Autumn Manoeuvers I was not at all happy with the result. I am always reluctant to create a 'new poem' when translating and yet I couldn't produce anything that sounded good in English while remaining faithful to Bachmann's original.
I would definitely recommend looking out for her work - in the German original if possible or in translation.