stdClass Object
(
    [ID] => 16251
    [post_author] => 16
    [post_date] => 2015-10-10 17:07:34
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-10-10 17:07:34
    [post_content] => Sometimes I feel Hamburg
beat against my English tongue.
Tonsillitis every Summer
shrapnel in my throat.

(My Grandfather shelled meinen Opa
from the sky in ’43)

More than ein Haufen ashes,
Mehr als a heap of Asche.
Mehr als Staub, mehr als dust.

On my birthday, 25.07
Löwenstraße crumbled.
Seagulls circled, cawed.

Und das ‘in der Küche Leben?
unter Winter, in the kitchen.
My Großtante, rainwater,
a husband still in Russland
einen Sohn, God knows where.

A fever in December.
Gedanken Kriesen, Krieg führen.
Was soll ich mich entschuldigen?

But the balm that comes with the spring.
Remembering, remembering.
See – the cusp of the sky
We’ll climb over it like glass.

-
Notes:

More than ein Haufen ashes, / Mehr als a heap of Asche. / Mehr als Staub, mehr als dust.:  More than a heap of ashes / More than a heap of ashes / More than dust, more than dust.

Löwenstraße: Lion Street

Und das ‘in der Küche Leben?: And ‘Living in the Kitchen’

Großtante: Great-aunt

Gedanken Kriesen, Krieg führen: Circling thoughts, waging war

Was soll ich mich entschuldigen?: How should I excuse myself?
    [post_title] => Half-Halb
    [post_excerpt] => 
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    [post_name] => half-halb
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2016-11-18 15:48:05
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-11-18 15:48:05
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => http://poetrysociety.org.uk/?post_type=poems&p=16251
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => poems
    [post_mime_type] => 
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    [filter] => raw
    [meta_data] => stdClass Object
        (
            [wpcf-published-in] => 
            [wpcf-date-published] => 2015
            [wpcf-summary-description] => This poem was runner-up in the Timothy Corsellis Prize on Young Poets Network (YPN) in 2015.

Katharina says of her poem: ‘Half-Halb’ is a response to the concept of split-self and war-necessitated duplicity explored by Keith Douglas in his ‘Vergissmeinnicht’. While Douglas focused on the rift between ‘soldier’ and ‘lover’ in the young man’s soul, I chose to explore the split mode of thinking which dual-nationality imposes. Although my Grandfather was English, my Grandmother was German. I thus have a German first name and an English surname. Here, I present a body being wrenched in two opposing directions. The poem becomes a battlefield between the English and German tongue as both languages advance, clash and retreat across each stanza. However, at this point I encountered a problem: I wanted to write a poem which could be appreciated by those who could not speak German. I tried to overcome this by playing with the similarity between English and German in certain sentences (e.g. ‘More than a heap of ashes’ translates to ‘Mehr als ein Haufen Asche’) and mingling the two tongues. I noticed that there were some lines which lost their musicality when translated into English (‘Gedanken Kriesen, Krieg führen’ becomes prosaic and flat in the English ‘Circling thoughts, waging war?) and thus included references beneath the poem with translations. Overall, I would hope that the sound of the German when read aloud would override issues with literal comprehension. Towards the end of the poem, I wanted to express a sense of hope and clarity. Throughout the poem, I track the progression of time through seasons. The last stanza outlines a movement towards harmony between the two rival bodily directions.
            [wpcf-rights-information] => 
            [wpcf-poem-award] => Runner-up, Timothy Corsellis Prize 2015
            [wpcf_pr_belongs] => 
        )

    [poet_data] => stdClass Object
        (
            [ID] => 16379
            [forename] => 
            [surname] => 
            [title] => Katharina Dixon-Ward
            [slug] => katharina-dixon-ward
            [content] => Katharina is the runner-up in the 2015 Timothy Corsellis Prize.
        )

)
stdClass Object
(
    [ID] => 16379
    [forename] => 
    [surname] => 
    [title] => Katharina Dixon-Ward
    [slug] => katharina-dixon-ward
    [content] => Katharina is the runner-up in the 2015 Timothy Corsellis Prize.
)

Half-Halb

Katharina Dixon-Ward

Sometimes I feel Hamburg
beat against my English tongue.
Tonsillitis every Summer
shrapnel in my throat.

(My Grandfather shelled meinen Opa
from the sky in ’43)

More than ein Haufen ashes,
Mehr als a heap of Asche.
Mehr als Staub, mehr als dust.

On my birthday, 25.07
Löwenstraße crumbled.
Seagulls circled, cawed.

Und das ‘in der Küche Leben?
unter Winter, in the kitchen.
My Großtante, rainwater,
a husband still in Russland
einen Sohn, God knows where.

A fever in December.
Gedanken Kriesen, Krieg führen.
Was soll ich mich entschuldigen?

But the balm that comes with the spring.
Remembering, remembering.
See – the cusp of the sky
We’ll climb over it like glass.


Notes:

More than ein Haufen ashes, / Mehr als a heap of Asche. / Mehr als Staub, mehr als dust.:  More than a heap of ashes / More than a heap of ashes / More than dust, more than dust.

Löwenstraße: Lion Street

Und das ‘in der Küche Leben?: And ‘Living in the Kitchen’

Großtante: Great-aunt

Gedanken Kriesen, Krieg führen: Circling thoughts, waging war

Was soll ich mich entschuldigen?: How should I excuse myself?