Cornelia Marks (Germany)

Cornelia Marks (Germany)
Cornelia Marks, freelance translator, author, editor
06108 Halle (Saale), Germany,
Born September the 2nd in 1969 in Erfurt (Thuringia), studied Slavonic studies and German Literature at Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, several longer or shorter trips to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia, where she met poets and translated their work which is mainly poetry. Since 2007 she works as a freelance translator, author and editor. 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 she took part in the International Poetry-Festival SARAJEVSKI DANI POEZIJE in Sarajevo as a translator, but also read from her own work. In 2013 she took part in the Poetry-Festivals in Dresden (BARDINALE), in Istanbul and Izmir 2013 (KIBATEK), in Belgrade 2015 (TREĆI TRG) and in Banja Luka / Bosnia and Hercegovina 2018. Her poetry, which she writes since her childhood, was published magazines and anthologies, some poems have been translated into Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian, Macedonian, Turkish and Russian). C. Marks is a member of the writers-association of Saxony-Anhalt, the Association of German-speaking translators of literary and scientific works and of the Friedrich-Bödecker-Kreis Sachsen-Anhalt. She translated Adisa Bašić, Faruk Šehić, Mile Stojić, Hadžem Hajdarević and many other poets from Bosnia and Hercegovina and region of the former Yugoslavia.The latest publication is her translation of the poetry by Jovan Nikolić, Der Gast nirgendwoher (The guest from nowhere), Klagenfurt: Drava, 2021.
You there in the orbit, Sophora,
me here in my own world.
My eyes follow the lines in your bark:
through the window thrown at the wall –
seawaves, bars of light,
signs, oracles,
how can I interpret you?
Perhaps in the late may
the lips get unstrung
and the singing begins.
It is too far from my bed
to your skies.
and I’m waiting in the winter’s quietness,
there is no magic spell
that brakes the ban of silence before its time.
Green will awake your song
green will it vanish.
And without wavering I look to the south,
I am one of you,
because the southerly wind is mine
and I don’t like changing my colour,
wear night-black and Sophora-green,
wrap myself into a coat of silence
like into dark security
and I hum quietly, so nobody hears me.
Perhaps in the late may
the lips get unstrung
and the singing begins.
Still you mutly stretch
your boa-like figures.
Still your paths are winding.
But soon you will set off.
And me too…
For M.
I found my corner at the Café.
Empty is the chair next to me.
For the next hours there is only
One wish with you to be.
A gigantic thesaurus lies, ready to
Make my way through languages
Lattice-work. to notice the untold too,
All my senses I engage.
Page 346 is today’s gate
Through which I enter your world.
(Not that I proceed chronologically,
I merely enter where the heart is pleased.)
I found my corner at the Café.
Blue light shines on the chair
Next to mine through the half-
Opened window promising your return from where.
From the banks not far I sense easily
By moonshine’s gentle wave
Like your soul reaches me.
By dark waters, by a kind of grief
It’s still kept from any light
Where you wander it is cold.
I recognize your figure right
At this wall in the dark shadow.
At the café, I found my corner.
You sit next to me. For the next hours
There is only one wish: I hold
Your hand and listen to you.
All the light ones, all the dark – all that pain!
I follow all the paths you’ve walked.
Moments, when in your eyes I see rain.
Your heart touches mine, gives light and warmth.
It feels like you see, recognize me.
Through your face run the paths
Too. Discovered by my hand, moving cautiously.
She got her name from a midwife
that’s what her mother told her,
who only thought about names for a boy,
who was disappointed about giving birth to a second girl.
The midwife came to help her.
Without that unknown woman she would be nameless to this day.
She should be thankful,
she knows that now.
In the past however she felt like
that name is not hers, does not belong to her,
is just a borrowed one: a limited ticket to life –
the merciful justification for a lost girl.
If you’d be a boy, said her mother, your name would be Michael.
Sometime she thinks about that Micha, as her maybe-brother,
and maybe he is somewhere, watching her from a cloud –
why did he send her first into this life, that should have been his?
He would have had it easier than her, on a way flavoured with joy,
’cause doors open wide for those, who are welcome.
Who is unwanted has to knock for a lifetime…
Micha got his name, before it was clear that he would even exist.
No name was given to her, although, or because she existed.
All his faults were forgiven, before he could make them.
She got punished for mistakes she did not even make.
For Micha, to please her father, she learned, how to play chess,
trained hard on the field, running laps, till her heart
flicked like a red candle – and in the end
coldly embraced by the surgeons tools
wondered how it still kept beating,
afraid, with a thorn in its wounded chambers.
Today she sang this little song:
I came up to here to meet you.
Finally I got my name, by you I’m born again.
Spoken by you like a poem it opens wide.
Who I was – vanished in this mirror.
I got my name by an midwife,
and you…- you have given me my face.
Often you took your time, forgot to beat,
like ringing bells, quietly dying.
Strike the sails, don’t set them to sea!
Cold floods flew, my boat badly leaking.
When I was little, I believed: seventeen
years you will hold out – not another day!
A bottom-feeding swan. My boat on its bier
loaded with clouds, sunk into its watery grave.
Seventeen plus seventeen plus ten years,
my heart, persistently you beat under the ribs
sculptures of love. Made of love, as you are!
You colour them red, my hot kissing lips.
Still I do love, my heart. Trembling around,
is what I am thankful for, when it gets dark.
I wonder, how true, how persistently, wound
after wound, you keep beating, tired, but big.
Translated from German into English by Marco Organo

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