Eduard Schmidt-Zorner

Eduard Schmidt-Zorner

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 and experimental poetry. Member of four writer groups in Ireland. Lives in County Kerry, Ireland, for more than 25 years and is a proud Irish citizen, born in Germany. Published in over 160 anthologies, literary journals, and broadsheets in USA, UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada, Japan, Sweden, Spain, Italy, France, Bangladesh, India, Mauritius, Nepal, Pakistan, and Nigeria. Some of his poems, and haibun have been published in French (own translation), Romanian, and Russian language. He writes also under his penname Eadbhard McGowan.


It is a vocal dance
a deep song
with rhythm tools,
like the shoes,
the staccato of the heels,
surging sound of the guitars,
wild challenge of the castanets.

Racy, fiery dedication
with ardour and passion.
Paired are joy and loneliness.

She stomps, fights, hypnotizes,
bewitches, conjures, pleads,
invokes, exorcises spirits,
like looking into the eyes of a bull:
Tac tactac Tac tactac Tac tactac. ..
The twitch of her mouth,
anger of her eyes
turning of her hands,
like magic.

The throwing back of the skirt,
Clap claclap, clap clap clap. ..
Vibration of the body
transmits like a fever,
like the wave of an earthquake.

Incantation, conjuration,
Soleá, Alegría, or Bulería.

Echoes from far

My little town has many ports
where memories are anchored.
The curbstones
lead to quays like cords
where ships moor
to carry me
to other shores.

I close the eyes
and see the path:
The silk road, blue domes,
camel caravans,
smell the smoke of shisha pipes,
drink tea, a Doluca wine.
Hear the noise of bazaars.

Approaching by ship
I see the green coast of Béjaïa,
the gentle slopes, the harbour.
The fish place at the waterside,
a peacock near a waterfall,
winding streets,
houses with blue shutters,
walls full of bougainvillaea,
stalls with bunches of dates.

Bananas, coconut, mango,
coriander and cilantro
on African shore;
the jungle opens its door.
I rest near the river
and watch crocodiles
birds and bonobos.
I meet gentle people
with colourful clothes
noble princes and queens
proud of their tribes.

The bell tower in Xi’an
chimes five times.
I order a bowl of rice
with spicy and sour lamb.
Stroll through narrow streets,
pass by pavilions and pagodas,
watch old men shadow boxing
and tai chi near the town walls,
terra-cotta warriors
on guard
for two thousand years.

Memories which lead me
back to a mysterious world
which I recall in my dream.


When I close my eyes,
I hear you before I see you,
hear a song.
I smell you, breathe you in.
When I open my eyes again,
I have your taste on my tongue.

And if you would ask me
how Béjaïa smells,
what scent it has,
which aroma it emanates,
I would not know the answer.

I listen to your music,
which floats through the streets,
the sound of many languages,
which are guttural, fast, carried,
elegant, affectionate:
Arabic, French, Tamazight.

I hear the Raï music,
its melody, its impatience,
its clear vivid lyrics.
Hear footsteps on the pavement,
the humming of the market,
and the sounds of the harbour,
the market criers, the passers-by,
the quarrelling, joy of reunion,
birdsong, the noise of the streets,
I feel, smell, the desert air.

I smell the dust and the shadows,
the heat,
the mint, the aubergine,
the garlic and coriander,
as they force themselves
into every dish,
the scent of the tangerines.

Fig trees, agave, eucalyptus,
date palms cast shadows.
Then I translate all the smells
into colours,
first into the spice mixture
on the market,
yellow, red, orange,
roasted onions with cardamom,
sultanas and fenugreek,
saffron threads,
cumin, cinnamon, turmeric.

Then into the pale yellow
of the stones,
the ochre of the rocks,
the dust of your streets.
I can also smell the longing,
which is quiet, obscure,
and yet bitter, hurting,
and poignant.

Fata morgana

Green is the bay of Cap Carbon,
covered with pines,
olive trees, myrtle, terebinth.
Green-blue is the sea,
its waves let ships rock
in the port of Béjaïa,
at the mouth of Wadi Soummam
overlooked by mountain Gouraya,
with tree spurge and prickly juniper
on limestone ground,
resembles a sleeping woman.

Djourdjoura, huge and mysterious,
the mountains of Kabylia.
I have walked the villages,
that Lalla Fatma roamed,
areas with a rich history.
Towns sprinkled with shouts and laughter,
whispering shadows,
the scent of bougainvillaeas.

The swifts are almost all gone.
Some sit still in the branches.
A cold afternoon with a powerful,
glaring white sun.
Wahida waits at the window.
Her beaming face with green eyes,
framed by her chestnut brown hair.
Her tongue suddenly dances,
has gained wings,
her French has the colour of Kabylia,
Tamazight, rhythmic language,
peasant dialect.
She makes couscous with artichoke,
and peas for me
in a tajine.

I was given a burnus as a present, blue,
which accompanies me into the desert,
from oasis to oasis.
Houses, roads, yellow from dust,
tiny grains, inert dust,
which carries the day away,
blurs distances.


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Poetry in this post: © Eduard Schmidt-Zorner
Published with the permission of Eduard Schmidt-Zorner