Else Lasker-Schüler | Your Diamond Dreams Cut Open My Arteries


...Then came the night and brought your dream
In the quiet blaze of stars.
And the smiling day went marching by
Where the wild, breathless roses are.

I long now for a May of dreams,
The moment when your love appears.
I'd like to blaze upon your mouth
A dream-time of a thousand years.


The stars are fleeing pale with dread
From the heavens of my solitude,
And the black eye of midnight
Stares closer and closer

I cannot find myself again
In this dead abandonment!
It's as if: I lie world-far from me
Among gray night of old anxiety.

I wish a pain would stir
And hurl me down cruelly
And jerk me to myself!
And some shaping desire
Would lay me down, back home, at rest
   Under my mother's breast

My motherland is empty-souled;
Roses no longer blossom there
In the warm air-
.... If I but had the sweetheart of my wish!
I'd bury myself in his flesh.


My limbs are ripped apart by claws
And lips gnaw at my dreaming sleep.
Woe to your destiny, and my own
That their star-crossèd rendezvous did keep.
My longing cries aloud up to these stars
And in the morning light turns stone---
           And I groan
           To all the hells.

Give me your arms as a gift for a night,
Which such fresh fragrance breathe,
Like two Nordic ocean swells.
So when I wake from my dark night
Demons won't trample my despair,
So I'll not be alone with grief.
To the heavens I send my plea each night.
But Satan sets his devils on my prayer.

Poems taken from : Your Diamond Dreams Cut Open My Arteries, Poems by Else Lasker-Schüler, Translated by Robert P. Newton, UNC Press.

Else Lasker-Schüler

(born Feb. 11, 1869, Elberfeld, Ger.—died Jan. 22, 1945, Jerusalem, Palestine), German poet, short-story writer, playwright, and novelist of the early 20th century.

Of Jewish parentage, Schüler settled in Berlin after her marriage to the physician Berthold Lasker in 1894 (divorced 1903). In Berlin she frequented avant-garde literary circles, and her lyric poems and short stories began appearing in periodicals. Her second marriage (1903–11) was to Georg Lewin, the editor of the leading Expressionist journal Der Sturm, to whom she gave the pseudonym Herwarth Walden. Her first book, a poetry collection entitled Styx (1902), was followed by Meine Wunder (1911; “My Miracles”), Hebräische Balladen (1913; “Hebrew Ballads”), and several other volumes of lyric poetry. Her other important works are the play Die Wupper (1909), the autobiographical novel Mein Herz (1912; “My Heart”), and the short stories collected in Der Prinz von Theben (1914; “The Prince of Thebes”) and Der Wunderrabbiner von Barcelona (1921; “The Wonder Rabbi of Barcelona”). She emigrated to Switzerland in 1933 after the Nazis came to power in Germany, and in 1940 she resettled in Jerusalem in Palestine. She had always led an eccentric and unpredictable life, and she spent her last years in poverty.

Lasker-Schüler’s poems exploit a rich vein of fantasy and symbolism and alternate between pathos and ecstasy in their intensely personal evocation of her childhood and parents, romantic passion, art, and religion. Many of her short stories reinterpret Arabian nights tales in a mode of modern fantasy rich with visual images. Poet Gottfried Benn is credited with calling Lasker-Schüler Germany’s greatest lyric poet. Source

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