Issue 6 – Summer 2004 – Sabine Techel

Sabine Techel

Translated by Andrew Duncan

In the work of Sabine Techel (born 1953), the lack of reference axes allows subjective space to reach an immense depth, raising domestic life to the level of myth. She has said, “The tactic, lasting almost twenty years, of handling poems in such a way that people tried to produce showpieces – something rather unappetizing – that is, always trying to show people just what you can do. This was a quite nauseating way of getting too close to people, so too close to the public. And what the public quite rightly did, as time went by, was to withdraw, rather shocked and repelled. I am sometimes glad about this, because I have the impression that, perhaps there isn’t yet anything like a tacit consensus, but it is slowly making headway, that this a biotope in which many flowers can thrive, in which they are allowed to, and where one can safely let them.” ‘Hawelmann’ is a crybaby, but also a child character in a famous story by Theodor Storm, who was ‘always crying out for more’. 


To the Giant, Light

would never sleep any more now would lie awake at night and
would just not stop talking to you. I have finished 
these days here of missing you and am on my
way. Don’t give me up or give me away. What

is behind your eyes I don’t want to know
just now, I see enough, don’t want
to feed on pictures. The
walk of trees stand already as

if waiting at the end
of them was you.
I would run, if, ever, only
towards you and would shout “Station! Station!” I would
know that one person understood that – not me:



                 Close almost to vultures in flight they
Are doubtless constantly (or past) superfluous
In a way (how it hurts, a part that is
Gone: here the synapses lie). How
Matter of factly they died are

                 They arms, that they
Fly up and down? Them
Yellow fat horny north-east. This
Blind and toothless laugh. All
Mouth they put their deathface on show.

                 They have just come from praying and
Now are pushing their shoulders out. Their
Eyes waking still quite shy of
Light. Their honey scent far-fetched
         As if
A skin had rolled off them
They stretch and rock at will
Daily a different animal.



Before it fades
Circling towards the light a vulture flight
Quoted rubbish gardenia-rank
               stuff as if the idea was
To squint into the light
The rest of the world must act as if wet
                            itself become alike a
Balcony born botcher of creation leafwise stalkwise and
               practiced that
Knows how one gets naked or stretches 
And all talk over knocks out of the way
               says it’s
Tulipness and has no other genus
Than itself
                            Found again in darkness Quite


Sunday of Things

The drums forget to pray for rain
The grain ducks under the combine harvester and
stands up again the seam splits
into work and thread The laundry
is already big and takes care about making stains
all by itself The facts
lift their skirts and at once fall asleep
      Wind has brought the past a participle that
bloats it filled the cradle with shake us down
they cry, we are ripe long since, the plans
whine and stink.
                     Sun, shouts Crybaby,
haven’t you had enough yet and fishes himself
something black from the Elbe strand. 


Crybaby’s Monday

Father, you ought not to have gone now
there is too much woman in the house. Everywhere pipes
build me in heating, five cubic metres just for eating
how much is the rent and rubbish, father

how can you leave me to
what I want when I 
win do I have to be the player again what
do I have everything I want and more

and no-one pushes me to the 
back, just woman all the time, I say,
is what I love, what else
is there to do with them. 


Crybaby’s Song, on a Wednesday

Who opened my oven and
Who is blowing into my heart. In my 
house there are writings, signs, not
mine, not meant for me. In the fireplace
live the guests of the cat under the kitchen
the guests of the baker. Fish,
spread yourself, says my wife, but today
fish don’t do that any more. I
was so strict with my life, who
will loose that for me now? I can’t even prevent
it from being Thursday, however
often I pull a Wednesday 
and pump.


Crybaby’s World

Now let the sun be equal to the moon and 
right be as good as wrong. Gravity would like
to be put in question, relationship 
welcome it too. He would
connect everything 
with everything Blame
it equally if it goes on
or disappears

             This is what he calls priceless. Lets It
be in essence far from the Is.
Says let X be not X. A knot untied. Cake
which goes on and as it does disappears without 
Joy, Strength, as if that too
was not 
Being. His. 



Andrew Duncan is the author of Anxiety Before Entering a Room and Skeleton Looking at Chinese Pictures and is a translator of German-language poetry. To see more about him, visit



Leave a Reply