Sven Kretzschmar

Sven Kretzschmar hails from County Saarland, Germany’s smallest area state. His poetry has been published widely in Europe and overseas, among other outlets with Poetry Jukebox in Belfast, in Writing Home. The ‘New Irish’ Poets (Dedalus Press, 2019), Poets Meet Politics (Hungry Hill Writing, 2020) Hold Open the Door (UCD Press, 2020), Voices 2020 (Cold River Press, 2020) and 100 Words of Solitude (Rare Swan Press, 2021), in The Irish Times, Live Encounters, Das Gedicht, Loch Raven Review, Wordpeace, 2 Meter Review, The Bangor Literary Journal and Selcouth Station. He was awarded 1st prize in the ‘Creating a Buzz in Strokestown’ competition in 2018 and he was shortlisted for the Allingham Poetry Award 2019, the Over the Edge New Writer of the Year 2019 and the Saolta Arts Annual Poetry Competition 2020, special mention in the Desmond O’Grady International Poetry Competition 2020. His collection ‘Fragments of Living’ was recently commended in the Full Fat Collection Competition. He is currently working towards a first chapbook and a first collection.

See more at: and Instagram: @sven_saar_poetry

Postcards from otherwhere

(after John Denver and Wolf Larsen)

Dear friend in mind, the weather’s shite
here in Dublin, where my studies brought me,
caught between the narrowness of Wicklow glens
and the vast expanse of that stretch of water
locals refer to as the Irish sea. I live
in the remnants of the British world’s decline,
you’ve heard of that, no doubt. The red
bricks have lost their glory; I don’t know what it’s about.
When the shadows fall and I’m on the bus from campus
in the rushing traffic of Leeson Street, I wonder
what you did today and when we’ll sit together again
nightly in front of Old Town pubs for the gargle
and the rights and wrongs I can go on about endlessly.
Sure, it is your patient smile missed most in Belfield.

Dear one at home, I just dropped down at the airport.
Leuven is a postcard decked out in red-brick colours – 
seems like I won’t get rid of them for another year or so.
What dragged me here into my own dark night
was the work and the roof and the food on the table,
which, you’ll agree, sounds as unromantic as the smelly
summer stream lovers saunter past on cobble stone paths
on their way to rosehip-framed meadows
or a thousand brews at the Old Market. Between
hundreds of student bicycles I am neither lost nor found,
but have turned this town into a transient habitat
of the bewildered, as you like to call philosophers such as me.

Dear one whose name slowly slips my memory,
I write this from the middle-class southwest
where German cars are built with all their cost and quality
and combustion engines. Where a crack
runs right down between members of one and the same
social stratum, with half-time academics
on the lesser side. Where I’ll try for a new start
one more time. I have been wrong, I have been right,
both things all in the same night
regardless of where you are now. And with whom.

Dublin simile

This city, like river water,
refuses its own shape.

Midday, early August

(after Jane Kenyon)

Scorched earth and acre where, weeks back,
gorse was yellowing the hillside, interspersed
by green-grey wicks of its branches.

Scythed by gone artifacts made to mend nature.
Sky-monotony spiked with scattered, indolent clouds,
no gleaming crow can be bothered to peck the ground –

even they sit out the heat, hide in lathy birches.
Air pierced by now-and-then stridulation of crickets,
unseen until they jump-fly away split seconds before

my boot takes hold again on this brown, dusty ground.
Gusts of dry wind roam on the summit.
Verdurous shoots show here, peep out from parched soil.

No day work on this brae. No making of hay, tilling of field.
Tonight, whiskey will leave in my tumbler
no after-scent. It is the only grain I have.

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