Two Poems, Clemens Setz
To a Poltergeist in the Bedroom’s Northward Wall
Your senile hollow knocking has
remained ever the same, no
development, no punctuation,
you repeat yourself day after day,
night after gray sleepless night,
always with the same beat, as if you were a heart
seeking to strike sparks on the stones
of the old house. A heart knocking softly
with knuckles on the incisors
of the future, seeking an entrance
or a reason to stay.
The Theory of Literature
An infinite number of monkeys
with typewriters, it is said,
would ultimately produce the complete
works of Shakespeare.
And shortly thereafter the works of Dante,
then Joyce, Goethe, Kafka,
Then, after some months,
a few personal writings about things such as
paws, trees, or
Then a little Dostoevsky again
followed by the whole of Shakespeare all over from the beginning,
line by line.
And in between a few pieces about trees,
and perpetual repetition.
Translations from the German
By Peter Constantine