Tag Archives: Porcelain: Poem on the Downfall of my City excerpt

From “Porcelain: Poem on the Downfall of my City” by Durs Grünbein

“My little bird won’t come”
—Immanuel Kant, 1803

1

Why moan about it, Johnny-come-lately? My friend,
When you were born your city was long gone.
Misty eyes don’t turn hair grey and you,
Your name: too quick for it, too green.
Seventeen years, a childhood hardly, were plenty
To erase the past. They sealed the wounds all up
In strict and somber grey; enchantment ceded to bureaucracy.
The Saxon peacock wasn’t slaughtered out of need—
Lichens, inexorable, bloomed on sandstone flowers.
They come back like hiccups, elegies: why brood, why bother?

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