Lotte Kramer came to England with Kindertransport in 1939. She studied art, has had paintings exhibited and her work has been widely broadcast and published–UK, US, Germany, Canada, Ireland; 11 collections and translations into German and Japanese.
When you speak German
The Rhineland opens its watery gates,
Lets in strong currents of thought.
Sentences sit on shores teeming
With certainties. You cross bridges
To travel many lifetimes
Of a captive's continent.
When you speak English
The hesitant earth softens your vowels.
The sea – never far away – explores
Your words with liquid memory.
You are an apprentice again and skill
Is belief you can’t quite master
In your adoptive island.
Myself, I’m unsure
In both languages. One, with mothering
Genes, at once close and foreign
After much unuse. Near in poetry.
The other, a constant love affair
Still unfulfilled, a warm
Shoulder to touch.
Poem published: in The Desecration of Trees, Hippopotamus press; Lotte Kramer: Selected and New Poems, Rockingham Press
Black Over Red and Lotte Kramer: Selected and New Poems, Rockingham Press;
A bi-lingual edition Heimweh in Germany in 1999;
Kindertransport, Before and After, Sixty Poems 1980-2007, an Elegy and Celebration, is now available from Centre for German-Jewish Studies, Arts B, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9QN. £10 plus £2.50 p&38;p. A Japanese edition is published;
Reflections, the Jewish Year Book, 2000 (pp 69-75).
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