The poem this week highlights that there is no separation between people, even when we think there is. It asks how can we think of harming someone else, all we will be doing is harming ourselves.
Another poem that also examines this issue is Alice Notley’s ‘I the People’. At the end of this poem Notley laments that the separation is very real ‘(and I/ the people am still parted in/ two & would cry)’.
I like Kohler’s poem because it is asking us to look beyond ourselves, ask us to examine ourselves in a bigger context.
More about Barbara Kohler and more of her poems can be found on the Poetry International Website.
‘Poem’ by Barbara Köhler
Translation by Georgina Paul
I call myself you for thus the distance
between us is eliminated like skin
against skin we are not
to be distinguished or divided one
and the other the border is
the injury the transition
an open wound you call me
I which of the two of us says
here’s your knife
make my cut.