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  • Today ten years ago my grandmother died. Cancer. A miserable death. A death in agony. A death she didn't want to give in to. But also a death on her own terms; at home, her favourite crocheted blanket wrapped around her, her faithful red tomcat at her side. I wrote a poem for her funeral and read it aloud standing next to the open casket. Later I translated the poem into English. Every year on the anniversary of her death I return to the poem.

    Sunday’s child:

    I have no words,
    Only tears.

    You have never been one for grand gestures or speeches.

    No poem, then.

    It’s just that –
    Our tears,
    Left to their own devices, will turn into a roaring river that sweeps us away.

    – don’t make such a fuss

    And yet it is the same world.
    The same world.

    – of course it is

    The same world of butterflies enjoying the first flowers,
    Of sheep (happy survivors of Easter) frolicking in fresh green meadows,
    Of cats lying in the sun.

    – indeed

    The same world, in which you went on to build your life.
    Defiant. In spite of it all:
    War, hunger, poverty, flight.
    (Defiant. In spite of it all to the very end.)

    – who says that

    The same world, in which you cared ceaselessly
    For others:
    Children, grandchildren, cats.

    – then all is well and leave it be

    The same world.
    The same God.

    Boundless He is:
    Boundless in agony.
    Boundless in anguish.
    Boundless in death.

    A powerful God.

    Therefore, oh God, we ask:
    Be boundless, too,
    In Your grace,
    In Your solace,
    In Your peace –

    Our hope.

    And then all is well.

    – there you go



    Ich habe keine Worte.
    Nur Tränen.

    Du bist auch kein Freund vieler Worte, großer Gesten.

    Also kein Gedicht.

    Nur, es ist so –

    Unsere Tränen,
    Uns selbst überlassen, sind ein gewaltiger Strom, der alles hinwegreißt.

    – also, macht nicht so ein Theater

    Und doch ist es dieselbe Welt,
    Dieselbe Welt,

    – natürlich ist sie das

    Dieselbe Welt, in der Schmetterlinge sich an den ersten Blüten freuen,
    Schafe (Ostern glücklich überstanden) das frische Grün genießen.
    Katzen in der Sonne liegen.

    – eben

    Dieselbe Welt, in der Du aufgebrochen bist, Dein Leben zu leben,
    Allem zum Trotz:
    Krieg, Hunger, Not, Vertreibung
    (Und trotzig bis zuletzt).

    – wer sagt denn das

    Dieselbe Welt, in der Du ohne Aufhebens
    Für andere da warst:
    Kinder, Enkel, Katzen.

    – dann laß es jetzt gut sein

    Dieselbe Welt.
    Derselbe Gott.

    Unermeßlich Seine Maßstäbe:
    Unermeßlich im Leid.
    Unermeßlich in der Not.
    Unermeßlich im Tod.

    Ein mächtiger Gott.

    Darum, oh Gott:
    Unermeßlich sei auch
    Deine Gnade,
    Dein Trost,
    Dein Frieden –

    Unsere Hoffnung.

    Und dann ist es gut.

    – na also
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