The Romanian Riveter: SEASONS by William Totok. translated from the German by Robert Elsie

The time has come,
The guards are rattling their keys behind your back.
There’s nothing else to miss,
The branches of the trees are cracking,
Under the snow, it’s quiet in the barns.
Your eyes are now two burn-out lightbulbs.
Petroleum seeps into the sand.

By William Totok

Translated from the German by Robert Elsie

Read The Romanian Riveter in its entirety here.


William Totok was co-founder of the Aktionsgruppe Banat and was imprisoned for ‘propaganda against the socialist order’. Since 1987, he has lived in Berlin. His most recent volume of poems, …Anger Rages on the Masts, appeared in Ludwigsburg, in 2016. He has also published several volumes of essays as well as literary, political and historical studies.


Robert Elsie is a linguist, translator and critic. He is editor of the anthology The Pied Poets: Contemporary verse of the Transylvanian & Danube Germans of Romania (1990).

Category: September 2020 – The Romanian RiveterTranslations

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