Grey

In Ireland grey has many colours. I never knew that grey may have so many colours at all.  The sky is smoke grey ash grey mouse greylead grey stone grey in the land. In Ireland I hear the sea everywhere. The sea mumbles and rumbles and sometimes whispers but I don’t understand enough Irish to understand what the seas means or if the sea just remains grey, the color of silence .I live in a small town and every night I am going to the harbor. I count the ships. The big ones and the small ones. Sometimes the ships are too far away, they are white maybe or blue, but all I can see is grey. You said to me, dolphins swim in the sea, but you don’t speak to me anymore and I can’t see any dolphins, because they are smoke grey, ash grey, lead grey stone grey in the land. At home I look out of the window, I can see a lighthouse, the light is red and green, the seagulls have yellow peckers and grey feathers, they dive after every silver spoon that falls from the window when instantly portly marmalades are being made in kitchens flown through in fine weather by farmers‘ wives with hay in their pants steam in their bums on turnip fields at noon. But the turnips are grey, coming from a soil that is grey too, the walls in my house they are not grey, but sometimes between day and night, they shimmer grey, like very old silverware, long forgotten and already forgotten in the drawers and the cat which lives next door is grey as a cat can be.

Sarah Kirsch

Breath Pause

The sky is smoke grey ash grey mouse grey
lead grey stone grey in the land
of sudden showers of continuous thunder
the bloated meadows the gardens
rotting and dogs during the night
have grown fins they dive
after every silver spoon that
falls from the window when instantly
portly marmalades are being made
in kitchens flown through in fine weather
by farmers‘ wives with hay in their pants
steam in their bums on turnip fields at noon.

translated by Peter Lach-Newinsky

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