Two Poems by Karen Leeder


we wake to sunlight in the curtains
singing in another room.
streets away there’s someone
knocking at a door, bringing
help, of that we’re sure,
or the instruments of grief.
but all we see is this:
this sliver of glass that tells
our slippages, our shifts.
the inadvertent millimetres
that we are adrift.
our acts of faith are never
what we think they are:
we sleep, we breathe.

Poem in Translation: Poem by Ulrike Almut Sandig translated by Karen Leeder

The tongue is a needle. And I am True North. Telling lies.
Late underdogs rattle in the home, ingest all. ‘Nu ein Ei’!
Hide it in a hat. Lea runs legend-lost to unreel teeming
data. Hello, in line! No using the ultra-green tides. Meet
a satellite retinue hounding neater gold helmets in
to nature!
genuine stellar lights, one alien theme. Did
someone tell a lie? Lea, treading dust, uttering her inn-
er need to linger: slum it, atone, still aged heath, ennui.
Latent turn made true. The Gili-isles inhaled. Gone. One
nitrate hell intuited, almond Lea’s egg rite unseen. Oh!
The North ill, undone. See Lea, mud-genii, greet Atlantis.
The tongue is a needle. And I am True North. Telling lies.

The Gili Islands are a group of three islands belonging to Indonesia that lie a few meters above sea-level. Five species of sea turtles lay their eggs on the sandy beaches there.

“The tongue is a needle. / And I am True North. / Telling lies.” Is taken from Emma McGordon’s poem “Magnetic”.
Karen Leeder is a writer, critic and translator who lives in Oxford and teaches German, publishing her own poetry in small magazines. Her latest (translation) publications are: Ulrike Almut Sandig, I am a field full of rapeseed give cover to deer and shine like thirteen oil-paintings laid one on top of the other, and Durs Grünbein, Porcelain: Poem on the Downfall of my City, both with Seagull Books 2020. Twitter @karenleeder1 / Facebook Karen Leeder