Issue 26: Jamie Osborn translates five poems by Mara-Daria Cojocaru

Shock moulting

I had, once, a sparrow in my hand. I

Took a little sand, two spoons

Of seed, here, an unassuming creature. Und

So war ich. And you think loss won’t hit you

Twice. I had, then, the sparrow in my

Hand. He began to scrape and to bathe

I let him with pleasure, and began to flutter. So

Mein Herz. And you think loss

Won’t hit you twice. I held stock still, I

Was afraid, for the sparrow, for myself. I

Baked more bread, I hated much and everything

Turned to dust. Shed but for a single feather

Longed to change luck for happiness*

And always sparrows, sparrows, always dust


*Glück for Glück

Death of a young queen

Bumblebee, majesty, thou putt’st me under the silver lime

To death. Too cold, the day. Granted

Bladder gall, what a waste, what a difference

It makes that they depart from this life while I simply

Lose mine: the thought,* brittle, just gone forever

Turned to dust. Breath catches in late blossom, I blow

Blisters of air, find sugar-spots on my skin. From which

I wanted to feed her. Gladly I’d become provision

If it did the queen any good. Counting these little creatures

Inside me. Exodus of the intestinal bacteria. And I now call

Good the changing of the guard beneath my skull

Who am I to inter myself beside you, in the shadow

Of your death, and to dispose that on my grave

Honeysuckle, and plumtrees, should bear fruit

*Feeding trail

Fetiţa in the Wunderkammer

Take your father’s delicate goat and ride, pure of soul

Cat clasped against your heart, into the world – who

For all that’s good, crammed it so full? The entire

Celestial contraption unfolding itself already

Schema of divine intuition. A finely carved

Plum pit. Erkäntnüß des apfelrunden Kreises, take

A bite and tug the nobles, bivalves out from deep

Under the sea under the net: string of pearls, amateurist’s

Loves in sandwich-paper from when the world was still

Fat, folded to heaven and hell. Become soul, undyingly

In love with yourself. Fetch the phial filled with liquid dragon-farts

Inject it into yourself, into the goat, flee the Leveller, whose

Pickled horse apes Pegasus, gryphon-hacked. Just

As well, death is a human thing after all, and you on your goat

Are the fastest

Note of absence

On the beach at Pte. Ste. Cathérine

I impart of myself to

The eggshell of your self-

Liberating, much lamented

Hatchling. Open water

Return into the sea

Time remains

The bow wave of our

Consciousness: now

Waking-wet, thrust reverser

The shark already singing

The requiem before we

Submerge into a tinier

Eternity, in a

Skin at times thicker

Coming to our senses, in the demilitarised zone

Beautiful morning, against the sky lie finely

Chiselled structures of ice, masterpiece in May

A slice of sun, still pale as the

Moon, behind it the divine intestine, irradiated

Atmospheric endoscopy or historic

Pincushion. We, anyway, put the planes aside there

It is so beautiful, we could pluck ducklings. In the dream

However an elk bit me. I lay a finger on

The I-know-not-what: whether the swallow’s

Dance can be compared to the bat’s. And whether we

In the development of buds could prop-

Agate ourselves. Go by all means

Wakeful into the next night

Mara-Daria Cojocaru is a German poet who lives in London. She grew up in Munich, was nominated for the Leonce and Lena prize in 2015, awarded the Kunstförderpreis Literatur by the Bavarian State in 2017 and is nominated for the Lyrikpreis Meran 2020 (postponed). Her next and fourth book of poetry is forthcoming with Schöffling & Co. in autumn 2021.

Jamie Osborn’s poems and translations of poems have appeared in New Poetries VII (Carcanet), PN Review, the TLS, Blackbox Manifold, Modern Poetry in Translation and elsewhere. He lives in Norwich.

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