Poetry Parnassus: Prologue (Luxembourg)

Poetry Parnassus is a project of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, hosted at the Southbank Centre in London. It ran from June 26 to July 1, featuring 145 poets from around the world. Here is the Guardian’s interactive map, where you can click on a country and read its poem. I will be posting them on a semi-regular basis until they’re done.

Prologue, by Anise Koltz (Luxembourg)

Life is no long quiet river
but a bloodbath

Yet you ask me for
poetry decorated with flowers
with little birds

I’m sorry Ladies and Gentlemen
each of my poems
buries your dead


I advance without a net
from one star to another
sliding through black holes
I leap from moons to suns

I rock at the edges
of the earth
already no longer belonging to it

Because this poem is a lie
it has the right to be beautiful

• Translated from the French by Anne-Marie Glasheen.

• ‘Prologue’ from At the Edge of the Night (Arc Publications, 2009),
by permission of the publisher.