What’s Bad

By Gottfried Benn Gottfried Benn Read the Q & A
Not reading English,
and hearing about a new English thriller
that hasn’t been translated.

Seeing a cold beer when it’s hot out,
and not being able to afford it.

Having an idea
that you can’t encapsulate in a line of Hölderlin,
the way the professors do.

Hearing the waves beat against the shore on holiday at night,
and telling yourself it’s what they always do.

Very bad: being invited out,
when your own room at home is quieter,
the coffee is better,
and you don’t have to make small talk.

And worst of all:
not to die in summer,
when the days are long
and the earth yields easily to the spade.

Source: Poetry (November 2009).

MORE FROM THIS ISSUE

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

November 2009

Report a problem with this poem


Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.