Wednesday Jun 19

Ringelnatz Poetry Joachim Ringelnatz is the pseudonym of German author and painter Hans Bötticher, who is known for his absurd and subversive poems. A contemporary of Otto Dix and George Grosz, Ringelnatz was banned in 1933 by the Nazi government as a “degenerate artist.” Ringelnatz published more than 20 books of poetry and fiction before his death in 1934.

Geyer Poetry Bernadette Geyer is the author of The Scabbard of Her Throat and editor of My Cruel Invention: A Contemporary Poetry Anthology. Her poems and translations have appeared in Asymptote, Fourteen Hills, Oxford American, Poet Lore, and elsewhere. Geyer works as a writer, editor, and translator in Berlin, Germany.


Ein ganz kleines Reh stand am ganz kleinen Baum
Still und verklärt wie im Traum.
Das war des Nachts elf Uhr zwei.
Und dann kam ich um vier
Morgens wieder vorbei,
Und da träumte noch immer das Tier.
Nun schlich ich mich leise – ich atmete kaum –
Gegen den Wind an den Baum,
Und gab dem Reh einen ganz kleinen Stips.
Und da war es aus Gips.


A small deer stood near a very small tree
Still and saintly, as if in a dream.
That was at two past eleven at night.
And when I returned to the scene
Four days later: What a sight!
The creature stood there still mid-dream.
Well, I snuck quietly – I didn’t breathe –
Against the wind and over to the tree,
And I poked the deer with a little aster.
And he was made of plaster.


Es war eine Schnupftabaksdose,
Die hatte Friedrich der Grosse
Sich selbst geschnitzelt aus Nussbaumholz.
Und darauf war sie natürlich stolz.

Da kam ein Holzwurm gekrochen.
Der hatte Nussbaum gerochen.
Die Dose erzählte ihm lang und breit
Von Friedrich dem Grossen und seiner Zeit.

Sie nannte den alten Fritz generös.
Da aber wurder der Holzwurm nervös
Und sagte, indem er zu bohren begann:
“Was geht mich Friedrich der Grosse an!”


Once there was a box for snuff
That Frederick the Great himself
Carved out of a fine walnut wood.
The snuffbox, therefore, proudly stood.

A woodworm came in search of food.
He had smelled the walnut wood.
The snuffbox wove a lengthy story
About Frederick the Great and all his glory.

The box called old Fritz charitable.
However, the woodworm was irritable
And said, as he began to eat:
“What do I care for Frederick the Great?”