The National Poetry Review

Joachim Ringelnatz translated into English by Bernadette Geyer


Once there was a boomerang;
It was a bit too long.
The boomerang was cast,
But never did come back.
For many hours the public throng
Waited for that boomerang.


War einmal ein Bumerang;
War ein weniges zu lang.
Bumerang flog ein Stück,
Aber kam nicht mehr zurück.
Publikum – noch stundenlang –
Wartete auf Bumerang.

BERNADETTE GEYER is the author of The Scabbard of Her Throat and editor of My Cruel Invention: A Contemporary Poetry Anthology. Her poems and translations have appeared in Asymptote, Fourteen Hills, Oxford American, Poet Lore, and elsewhere. Geyer works as a writer, editor, and translator in Berlin, Germany.

JOACHIM RINGELNATZ is the pseudonym of German author and painter Hans Bötticher, who is known for his absurd and subversive poems. A contemporary of Otto Dix and George Grosz, Ringelnatz was banned in 1933 by the Nazi government as a “degenerate artist.” Ringelnatz published more than 20 books of poetry and fiction before his death in 1934.