Panther and Gazelle
Published by Hearing Eye
Translated by Martina Thomson.
Panther and Gazelle contains translations of 42 poems from Paula Ludwig’s Dem Dunklen Gott (To the Dark God, 1932), with an introduction by the translator, plus reproductions of three other handwritten poems, two drawings and a painting by Ludwig. The poems arose from a passionate affair in 1931 with the surrealist poet Ivan Goll (the Dark God). They express moods of elation and desolation in concise and vivid imagery:
I became a dancer under his eyes –
darkly his voice beat the gong of my heart.
Under his hands
The iris of my body blossomed.
He leapt at me with the blackness of a panther,
in the skin of a deer he lay at my side.
Paula Ludwig (1900-1974), was born in Austria and studied at the Breslau poetry school in Germany. In 1938 she escaped Hitler’s Germany to live in Brazil for fifteen years. In 1962 she received the Georg Trakl prize.
Martina Thomson, born in Berlin of Austrian parents, came to England as a child. She remembers Paula Ludwig visiting her home as a family friend. Her other books are On Art and Therapy (1991) and the pamphlet Ferryboats (Hearing Eye, 2008). Seven of her Paula Ludwig translations have appeared in Modern Poetry in Translation. She lives and works in Camden Town.