Ulla Hahn: silent drumming

New poems from the last twenty years

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Ulla Hahn: stille trommeln | © Lucas Niggli
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Ulla Hahn: stille trommeln |

I stumbled upon this wonderful collection of poems by Ulla Hahn quite by chance. I was fascinated and inspired by the title. For a percussionist, continuing to drum silently through a seemingly endless fermata is a polymetric challenge!

Compressed into a few words, catchy grooves with light beats, minimalist beauty versus ›too much is not enough‹, delicate swirls like silver threads, an unintentional yet powerful rimshot... no matter which page I turn to in Ulla Hahn’s living room of intimate puzzles and muted universes, I like to sit down in the corner and allow myself to be swept away, sometimes by just one line: ›I lick the sound from your ears‹, ›Feel how it pursues me‹.

Focus, immersion, reading big (thick) books, strengthening my resistance to viral news streams, no swiping and zapping and scrolling, merely skimming the surface... instead going for long walks, or better hiking long distances, turning the same thought over two or three times yet remaining flexible when the pandemic loosens its stranglehold. And then this: a truly stimulating tool for the daily exercise of extracting something powerful from the ephemeral.

And always a subtle introduction to new feelings and thoughts that had not existed in my life in this form until the pandemic:

Growing older
For J.K.
Sitting in the sun whiling away the time
waiting, soaking up the warmth
ripening like the apple on the tree
not one will be forgotten when the fruit picker comes.

(page 83)

Lucas Niggli, April 2021