is a reconstruction of the Flood story from Genesis;
the word is Hebrew, and means 'destruction'.
The book also contains Slow Train to Göttingen - a sequence of more personal poems set in present-day Germany, and half a dozen translations from Das Meer steht auf, by the contemporary German poet, Rainer Malkowski.
from Slow Train to Göttingen
What I remember of Göttingen is not so much
the half-timbered houses turned to chic shops,
nor eating a President (Ich bin ein Berliner)
full of jam, nor an Amerikaner, but the cold
clear light, students gathering round the Gänseliesel
that I never kissed, the ring of arms around the town,
the ice and the earthen walls we walked
together listening to the sound of running water
echoing on frozen water. 'Häppy Borstei Lars!'
the spray-paint can had written on
a moderately historic wall. We never found
the water mill. All the signs were there,
Kein Blut für Öl. You wore a white bandage
round your arm for peace. We shopped for music,
listened to Sam Cooke singing 'Wonderful World',
then slept. Me in your bed, you upstairs.
from Das Meer steht auf
The Part and the Whole
I learned a wee bit today.
In the evening, when the lad fetched
the horses from the field
- one white, one brown one,
one black pony trotting along behind -
I tried to memorise
the clatter of hooves on asphalt;
The hooves against the other noises,
the noises against the smells,
the noises and smells
against the shapes and colours.
I'll never have to say:
I've kept the world
A quiet day's sailing
The air's fly-warm.
Scuppers fertilise the day's
Salt furrow. Mad ploughing, gulls follow.
No warriors call.
We are all a little frightened of violence now.
There are no wars to sail to, no coasts,
No proud walls tall against the sky
But this grey depth.
Pastures are gone far below the keel.
The man shudders, only the serpent could tell him
That they are passing over the abyss.
Even the mountains drowned some time ago.