Jean Arp

(16 September 1886 – 7 June 1966 / Strasbourg)

Kaspar Is Dead Poem by Jean Arp


(Translated by G P Skratz)

o god our kaspar is dead
& now there's no-one to steal away with the burning flag &
snap it every day in the dark cloud's braided hair.

no-one to crank the coffee-mill in the ancient cask.

no-one to conjure idyllic deer from the petrified grocery bag.

no-one to sniff ships umbrellas bee-keepers udders of wind
spindles of ozone no-one to filet the pyramids.

o god god god our good old kaspar is dead. lord lord
kaspar is dead.

heart-broken shark's teeth rattle with grief in the belfry
when we utter his given name. so i stick to his last,
sighing kaspar kaspar kaspar.

why have you deserted us. what form has your great soul
wandered into now. have you become a star or a chain of
water on a hot whirlwind or a plump breast of black light
or a transparent brick on the groaning drum of the rocks
of existence...

o now the crowns of our heads the soles of our feet wither
away & angels smolder on the funeral pyre.

the dark bowling alley thunders behind the sun & there's
no-one to wind the compasses & the wheels of wheelbarrows.

no-one to dine with the phosphorescent rat at the barefoot
table.

no-one to drive off the wind devil when he tries to seduce
the horses.

no-one to teach us monograms in the stars.

his bust will adorn all truly noble firesides but there is
no snuff & comfort for a dead head.

Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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