9 junio, 2024

33 Expressionist Poems by Great Authors

Expressionist poems are compositions that use literary resources typical of poetry, framed in the current called expressionism. Those by authors such as Wilhelm Klemm, Georg Trakl, Else Lasker-Schüler, Rainer María Rilke or Gottfried Benn stand out.

Expressionism is an artistic current that emerged in Germany in the early years of the 20th century and whose premise was to express the particular and internal vision of each artist, as opposed to Impressionism, a current that preceded it and whose basic principle was to reflect reality. in the most reliable way possible.

Expressionism sees a subjective reality and therefore deformed and capricious, where feelings prevail over forms.

Other currents such as Fauvism, Cubism and Surrealism were included within Expressionism, which is why it was a fairly heterogeneous movement that revealed the convulsed era in which it lived.

Expressionist poetry also adopted this concept, resulting in pieces charged with freedom, irrationality, and rebellion both in the topics addressed -disease, death, sex, misery-, as well as in their form and structure: without linguistic rules or with a distortion of them, although the rhyme and metrics were maintained in most cases.

List of poems by the most representative authors of expressionism

To the Mute

Ah, big city madness, late afternoon
shapeless trees look at dark nailed walls,
in a silver mask the genius of evil observes,
light with magnetic whip repels the stone night.
Ah, plunged are bells at sunset.

Whore that illuminates a dead child between icy tremors.
Wrath of God furiously whipping the forehead of the possessed,
purple plague, hunger that tears green eyes to shreds.
Ah, the hideous laugh of gold.

Calmer mana in dark lair quieter humanity,
and in hard metals forms the saving head.

Author: Georg Trakl. Translation by José Luis Arantegui


When Orpheus plays the silver lyre
a dead man cries in the afternoon garden,
who are you lying under the tall trees?
The cane field murmurs its lament in autumn.

the blue pond
gets lost under the green of the trees
following the sister’s shadow;
dark love of a wild lineage,
that flees from the day on its golden wheels.
serene night.

under shady fir trees
two wolves mixed their blood
petrified in an embrace;
the cloud died on the golden path,
patience and silence of childhood.

The tender corpse appears
by Triton’s pond
asleep in her hyacinth hair.
Let the cold head break at last!

For there always follows a blue animal,
lurking in the shadows of the trees,
watching these black roads,
moved by his nocturnal music,
for his sweet delirium;
or for the dark ecstasy
that vibrates its cadences
at the icy feet of the penitent
in the city of stone

Author: Georg Trakl. Helmut Pfeiffer version

beautiful youth

The mouth of a girl who had been long among the reeds
it looked so rotten.
When they broke his chest, his esophagus was so full of holes.
Finally, in a pergola under the diaphragm
They found a nest of small rats.
A little sister lay dead.
The others fed on the liver and kidney,
they drank cold blood and passed here
a beautiful youth
And beautiful and swift death surprised them:
they were all thrown into the water.
Oh, how the little snouts squealed!

Author: Gottfried Benn

The Ascension (of Christ)

He tightened his belt until it was close to him.
Its bare bone frame creaked. On her side her wound.
He coughed up bloody drool. She fluttered over her martyred hair.
A crown of thorns of light. And the dogs always curious.
The disciples were sniffing around. He struck like a gong across his chest.
For the second time long drops of blood shot,
And then the miracle came. The low ceiling of heaven
It opened lemon color. A gale howled on the high trumpets.
He, however, ascended. Meter after meter in the hole
Space. The Getas turned pale in profound astonishment.
From below they only saw the soles of their sweaty feet.

Author: Wilhelm Klem. Version of Jorge Luis Borges

garden love

when you arise

your body a clear temple blooms

My arms sink like a people praying

and they wake you up from the twilight

even the stars that around the chest of the Lord

they chain

Thus around love our hours weave garlands

and your long glances from the lands of the South

they plunge me into your soul

and I sink

and I drink you

and I find a drop of eternity in the sea of ​​your blood.

Author: Kurt Heynicke. Version of Jorge Luis Borges

I’m sad

Your kisses darken, on my mouth.
You do not love me anymore.
And how did you come?
Blue because of paradise;
Around your sweetest fountains
My heart fluttered.
Now I want to make up
just like the prostitutes
They color the withered rose on her hips red.
Our eyes are closed
like dying sky
The moon has aged.
The night will no longer wake up.

You hardly remember me.
Where will I go with my heart?

Author: Else Lasker-Schuler

Version by Sonia Almau


Loneliness is like rain
that rises from the sea and advances towards the night.
From far and lost plains
It goes up to the sky, which always picks it up.
And only from the sky falls on the city.

It’s like a rain in undecided hours
When all paths point to the day
and when the bodies, which found nothing,
they turn away from each other, disappointed and sad;
and when the beings that hate each other
They must sleep together in the same bed.

Then loneliness leaves with the rivers…

Author: Rainer Maria Rilke

Man and woman walk through the barracks of cancer patients

The man:
In this row laps destroyed,
in this other destroyed breasts.
Bed stinks next to bed. The nurses take turns every hour.
Come, lift up this blanket without fear.
Look, this lump of fat and rotten humours,
was ever important to a man
and it was also called homeland and delirium.
Come, look at these scars on the chest.
Do you feel the rosary of soft knots?
Play without fear. The meat is soft and does not hurt.
This woman bleeds as if she had thirty bodies.
No human being has that much blood. This one was first cut
a child from the sick lap.
They let them sleep. Day and night. —To the new
they are told: here sleep is curative. Only on Sundays,
for visits, they are left awake for a while.
Little food is still consumed. The backs
They are full of wounds. Look at the flies. Sometimes
a nurse washes them. How banks are washed.
Here the plowed field swells around each bed.
Meat becomes plain. Fire is lost.
Humor is ready to run. Earth calls.

Author: Gottfried Benn

I’d like

I would like to drink the water
of all the springs,
quenching all my thirst
turning me into a naiad.
Know all the winds,
cross all the roads,
suppressing my ignorance
by neoterica of time.
Nova all my anxiety
for quiet harmony
and feel the integrity
although there is nothing left.
I would like to see at night
not yearn for a new day,
drench myself in waste
of well-being and joy.
And if being I don’t know anything

Author: Nely Garcia


I am born, I live, I die,

repeated absurdity in this uncertain world.

The path is marked in the fleeting moment

of an unknown night

Moments of end and dawn are interwoven

walking in darkness along the announced route.

Some daydream.

Others live regrets.

Someone takes refuge in discovering silences

that can teach them the unity of time,

the why? Of the life,

the why? Of the dead

With these concerns, some take it for granted

the value of love, and burned by it

they launch themselves to live with the stillness, or the wind.

Dreamed privilege!, drenching the feeling of few graceful

who enjoy joy, simplicity and success!.

Author: Nely Garcia

The crutches

For seven years I could not take a step.

when i went to the doctor

He asked me: Why are you on crutches?

Because I am crippled, I replied.

It is not strange, he told me:

Try walking. are those junk

those that prevent you from walking.

Come on, dare, crawl on all fours!

Laughing like a monster

he took away my beautiful crutches,

he broke them on my back without stopping laughing,

and threw them into the fire.

Now I am cured. I walk.

A laugh cured me.

Only sometimes, when I see sticks,

I walk something worse for a few hours.

Author: Bertolt Brecht

Ode to the King of Harlem

With a spoon

gouged out the eyes of crocodiles

and beat the butt of the monkeys.

With a spoon.

Fire of always slept in the flints

and the beetles drunk with anise

they forgot the moss of the villages.

That old man covered in mushrooms

I went to the place where the blacks cried

while the king’s spoon creaked

and the rotten water tanks arrived.

The roses fled by the edges

of the last curves of the air,

and in the mounds of saffron

the children pounded little squirrels

with a blush of spotted frenzy.

You have to cross the bridges

and reach the black blush

so that the lung perfume

hit our temples with her dress

of hot pineapple

it is necessary to kill

to the blonde brandy seller,

to all the friends of the apple and the sand,

and it is necessary to give with clenched fists

to the little beans that tremble full of bubbles,

For the king of Harlem to sing with his crowd,

for the crocodiles to sleep in long lines

under the asbestos of the moon,

and so that no one doubts the infinite beauty

of the feather dusters, the graters, the coppers and the kitchen pans.

Oh Harlem! Oh Harlem! Oh Harlem!

There is no anguish comparable to your oppressed reds,

to your blood shaken within the dark eclipse,

to your deaf-mute garnet violence in the penumbra,

your great prisoner king in a janitor outfit!

Author: Federico Garcia Lorca

In you

You want to flee from yourself, to escape into the distance,

the past annihilates, new currents lead you –

and you find deeper in yourself the return.

Desecration of you came and cloistered happiness.

Now you feel destiny serve your heart,

so close to you, suffering for all the loyal stars engaged.

Author:Ernst Stadler

to beauty

Thus we have pursued your miracles

like children who are drunk from sunlight

a smile on the mouth full of sweet fears

and totally in the pool of golden light submerged

they came running gray crepuscuy from the portals of the dawn.

Far away is the great city drowning in smoke,

shivering, the night rises cool from brown abysses.

Now they make the burning cheeks tremble

in wet leaves that drip with darkness

and their hands full of desires tempt

on the last glow of the summer day

that behind the red woods disappeared —

its silent cry swims and dies in darkness.

Author:Ernst Stadler

Ah, your long eyelashes

Ah, your long eyelashes,
the dark water of your eyes.
Let me sink into them
descend to the bottom.

As the miner goes down to the depth
and flickers a very dim lamp
over the mine gate,
on the shady wall,

that’s how I go down
to forget about your breast
how much…

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