Forgotten Borough & Other Poems by Eduard Schmidt-Zorner

July Online Open Mic

Eduard Schmidt-Zorner gifts us with sharing his oil painting as well as his poetry today. He expresses his experiences and sorrows with the Corona Virus. Let’s join with him in his reverence for those who’ve passed, as well as the appreciation of life.


Forgotten Borough

Coffins stacked side by side on Staten Island.
without wreath and floral decoration.
Hastily shovelled earth rumbles on cheap wood.
No prayer, no commemoration, no last salute.
As the last humane appearance
people in protective clothing
shoulder the shovels as a salute.

Coffins side by side, with dead who never met.
Anonymously as they arrived
so do they part again.
Coffins on a site where over decades
shiploads of burdened, persecuted,
passed by on their way to Ellis Island
under the flame of hope from far away.

Buried now side by side
and on top of one another
and with them buried the American dream,
dreamt by millions
who fell back or were born in poverty,
in a rejected class, with the wrong colour,
failed, ill, disabled, no WASPS for sure.

And a pimp in his fine suit still mocks them.
“10000 dead a great job”.
Signs cheques to buy votes.
To make him great again.
Dug graves, digging a grave for him too.
The gravedigger spits in his hands
and does not keep a distance.
Grim Reaper grins, reaps a rich harvest.
What a success, the numbers are rising,
but not on the balance sheet.

Death pulls the doughy mask off his skull,
a grinning skeleton
that keeps the world in suspense,
powerful, power-obsessed,
now the maggots are licking their lips.
His coffin will also be made of wood,
maybe with a little more varnish,
but 6 feet under it will soon come off
and make all equal…..So equal.

Condemned to wait

I am sitting in a train
which does not leave the station.
Nobody knows the departure time.
Discussions on the platform
by people in uniform
and worried travellers.
Experts draw deviating conclusions.
All seems fine
but seconds later doom
and disappointment.
Some leave the train
and are never seen again.
Some turn to entertainment
and read or write.
And for spite,
the announcement says
that all have to wait
further three weeks.

We speak again…

We speak again of heroes,
we speak again of war.
Hundred thousand victims,
thousands of dead and coffins,
at an invisible front.

We speak again of suffering,
we speak again of who is worth to live.
Emergency laws are passed,
harsh rules, curfews imposed.
We face shortage, rationalisation.
History repeats.

For the politicians we are pawns.
There will be war profiteers,
charlatans will raise their heads.
Mass graves, deserted regions.
Nothing will be as before.

Enforced rest

Re-dating history,
revitalize deleted words,
see butterflies with closed eyes,
patiently counting dead flies,
that fell from the windowpanes,
kill time,
and lie to the clock every now and then,
read again what has been read,
hum forgotten melodies,
dig through yellowed photos
and be glad that fate spared me
when I see
photos of ex-girlfriends,
who went out of shape,
and passed the aphroditic stage.
Nod off now and then,
without being reprimanded,
talk to the dogs
and lecture the cats
about impermanence.
Watching the sheep graze so peacefully,
the clouds on the mountains, the Reeks,
and follow the flight of the gull,
that floats weightlessly.
Wait and see what the future brings,
when we have to race restlessly again.

Silky case

Twelve weeks served
in prison without bars.
Days dripped like a leaky faucet.
Calendar shows five months elapsed.

As my own faithful companion
I looked over my shoulder
while writing
and wrote down at the same time
how I looked over my shoulder.
Words whisper side effects.

Age poses the grumpy question:
How much longer? Isolation.
We see the world sinking into wars
and collateral damage
and with determination
going astray.

I pupated to wait like a silk moth
to emerge from the cocoon
or like a caterpillar
to become something colourful.

Became, as if to add insult to injury,
stultified in banishment.
Everything is covered in mildew
even my brain
not to speak about my soul.

What I miss is dialogue,
the voices of the others,
the reaction, the advice,
the warmth, the embrace,
exchange of inspiration
and hopefully empathy, too,
the vibrations of the mind.


Berlin, long ago
an island in a hostile sea.
Cut off in an August
from the rest of the world
by a wall.
Wherever you went
you bumped into barriers
and concrete blocks
3.6 metres high
in the centre
the Brandenburg Gate.

Restricted, incarcerated.
An island kept alive
by an air lift
to make sure all had to eat
and coal to heat.

I remembered that when I felt
like on an island
when the virus threatened
and surrounded us
and we were not allowed
to leave or fly out.

How lucky we are.
At least the glance is not limited
by grey bricks.
And there is no barbed wire
to restrict our way.

There are friends and neighbours
who provide.
They give serenity
in our isolation.

Social impoverishment

Audible and cognitive fatigue
when listening to certain keywords,
emotive terms. Corona, Covid19.
The fear of the unexplored,
the unknown enemy,
the invisible blight.
Rumbling carts of the corpse collectors:
“Hand out the dead” accompanied by drumbeats.
Memories of the Middle Ages.
Camus’ “The Plague” is recommended
to be read during these dull days,
also, as a pastime for those elderly
they want to sacrifice to the gods,
to ask for good tidings
and to appease unknown spirits.
Weighing, triaging,
whom they allow surviving
or whom to abandon
in the rough sea of this fight.
Like on the Auschwitz ramp:
You to the left, you go to the right.
Hoarding of toilet paper
and shifting of masks
by elegant dealers.
The black market is flourishing.
The greed, the avarice, selfishness
is not killed by the virus.
Hatred thrives even more.
The search for culprits, well-poisoners.
When you think the Dark Age is over,
it peeks around the corner.
The dark instincts, desire to kill, violence,
the Neanderthalian takes its place,
is pathbreaking again.
Culture just swam free,
is drowning, lost now
in the whirlpool of events.
The thin skin,
music, art, science, ethic,
torn apart and reveals betrayal,
utter aberration.
Futility and senselessness
in the face of abuse of power,
wars, oppression.
All malevolent spirits
believed forgotten
are rising again.
The free opinion is punished,
religion imposed,
heads cut off, education denied,
equal rights undermined,
opportunities smashed.

We do not need tear-gas to cry.

Time void

A rock as outpost
of a person in seclusion.
Summer without people.
Months of loneliness,
without conversation.
A boat bobbing on a lake
in its own indivisible time,
on a Sunday without end.
A lonely seagull his companion.
Both keep distance, eying each other.
He hears voices, but discards them,
the whisper of faces,
he cannot see.
Vague sound memories
of the last carefree year.
Not a soul is here.
A bookmark in a book,
which he reads again and again,
an expired train ticket.
For a train he never took,
a journey he never made.
Time as a band
that ties in with the past.


The years will pass,
eagles will circle up in the sky,
roses will be picked for someone,
and a wreath braided for a head,
flowers are bound for a grave.
And the sun and the moon
will set the rhythm
for day and night;
tears will flow
and laughter will be heard.
Everything repeats itself
and goes down again.
The eternal cycle.


Eduard Schmidt-Zorner is a translator and writer of poetry, haibun, haiku and short stories.

He writes in four languages: English, French, Spanish and German and holds workshops on Japanese and Chinese style poetry and prose.

Member of four writer groups in Ireland and lives in County Kerry, Ireland, for more than 25 years and is a proud Irish citizen, born in Germany.

Published in 103 anthologies, literary journals and broadsheets in USA, UK, Ireland, Japan, Sweden, Italy, Bangladesh, India, France, Mauritius, Nigeria and Canada.

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