Poetry Travels with Anna Blasiak and Lisa Kalloo: THE GIRLS IN BERGEN-BELSEN by Nora Gomringer, translated by Annie Rutherford

Anne and Margot
hidden so long under the stars,
covered with little more than a voice,
filled the lines with time
and there emerged what people
call a diary.
The book of days of one became
canon. The other
has disappeared from this earth.
Is Schwester von und Tochter von,
barely remembered as such even by the dead.
Frau Typhoid, though, still recalls
how she met the girls.
She was glad to take the bright one, so admired,
for herself. She makes for good company,
you can rhyme worlds into numbers with her.
And she’s light too, light as a feather.
Although they come to a tonne
when conscience adds them one by one
to the incomprehensible total:
Margot and Anne.

By Nora Gomringer

Translated by Annie Rutherford


Nora Gomringer, Swiss and German, lives in Bamberg. She writes, sets to music, explains, prompts, and loves poetry. For her, the spoken word always comes from what is written and what is heard. On behalf of the Free State of Bavaria, she encourages artists of international origin. She does this at Internationales Künstlerhaus Villa Concordia. With devotion. www.nora-gomringer.de


Annie Rutherford champions poetry and translated literature both through her work at StAnza, Scotland’s international poetry festival, and as a writer and translator. 2021 sees the publication of her translations of Volha Hapeyeva’s poetry, In My Garden of Mutants, and Isabel Bogdan’s novel, The Peacock. She also translates Nora Gomringer, Annette von Droste-Hülshoff and Kinga Toth. She’s a fiction’s editor for The Interpreter’s House and runs the Women in Translation book club for Lighthouse Bookshop.


Photo by Lisa Kalloo


Read previous poems from Poetry Travels:

DECEMBER, by Jaume Subirana, translated by Christopher Whyte

ROSE RED, by Ulrike Almut Sandig, translated by Karen Leeder

*** (I D[R]IPPED MY PEN…) by Mario Martín Gijón, translated by Terence Dooley

WHAT COMES by Magda Cârneci, translated by Adam J. Sorkin and Mădălina Bănucu

TRANSLATION by Justyna Bargielska, translated by Maria Jastrzębska

*** (MY EYES, DENSE NIGHT…) by Gëzim Hajdari, translated by Ian Seed

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