By Günter Eich Gunter Eich

Translated By Joshua Mehigan Read the translator's notes

This is my cap,   
this is my overcoat,   
here is my shave kit   
in its linen pouch.   

Some field rations:   
my dish, my tumbler,   
here in the tin-plate   
I’ve scratched my name.   

Scratched it here with this   
precious nail   
I keep concealed   
from coveting eyes.   

In the bread bag I have   
a pair of wool socks   
and a few things that I   
discuss with no one,   

and these form a pillow   
for my head at night.   
Some cardboard lies   
between me and the ground.   

The pencil’s the thing   
I love the most:   
By day it writes verses   
I make up at night.   

This is my notebook,   
this my rain gear,   
this is my towel,   
this is my twine.

Source: Poetry (April 2009).


This poem originally appeared in the April 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2009


Günter Eich (1907–1972 began writing the poems that compose his first major book, Abelegene Gehöfte (Outlying farms), while being held in a US prison camp at Remagen in 1945. Subsequent collections include Botschaften des Regens (Messages of the rain) and Zu den Akten (For the record). A co-founder of Gruppe 47, Eich's honors include the Büchner and Schiller Memorial Prizes.

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Poems by Günter Eich

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, History & Politics, War & Conflict

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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