Colour Grey

Herta Müller
b. 1953



I grow time, beans, the colour gray
And stitch the shadows of a dying day
They make a woman, rather a girl
Lost in the ocean like a grain of pearl
The swans of Coole fly over me
Will they rest for a while by me!
Maybe it’s my turn now.
Deep in the frost where my eyes shall never go
The leopard will print his paw
And with a sudden leap break free
All the chimes of poetry
Maybe it’s my turn now.
The rough beast was never born
Though we devised a cage for his morn
Maybe it’s my turn now.
I have a tale to tell I shall also ring the bell
When you start believing
When you start hearing
Maybe it’s my turn now.


These days I don’t think of you
But after the soot covers me
I begin to wonder where those
Evenings have gone, those wanderings
In the spacious lawns of enchantment
That smacked of no design, though
We were bent on making a sense
The early birds get their worms
I lie in the tireless ticking of my old watch
Counting the bits of frozen blood,
Listening to the worms
That are in all of us
Then I begin to crawl towards the womb
That threw me off a long way back
And look for the dark, the black hole
To suck me up.


I was nice to him
He was nice to me
Our doors, our windows
Kept closed
Lest we smell each other.

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