Field Trip Poetry Psychogeography

Berlin dérive – Tiergarten

Walter Benjamin Platz - sign

Not to find one’s way around a city does not mean much. But to lose one’s way in a city, as one loses one’s way in a forest, requires some schooling.

Walter Benjamin

to the spooling thread
of a blackbird’s raga
gravity loosens and
Berlin floats – just a little

just off the Ku’damm
a corporate glass palace
with outdoor aviary
squawks and fireworks of
green and red, caged
and displayed as trophies.

did the birds
of East and West
sing different songs?
can walls ever
constrain the birds?

that moment when
subterranean shackles
are shattered and
the S-Bahn explodes
into light.

drifting back from
the bauhaus-archiv
having just read
of the stormtroopers
arriving on 11th April 1933

the bauhaus is closed
but minds and ideas
continue to expand


Under the gaze of the golden angel

Golden Else


IGraffiti Bunker

In the old hunting forest
under the gaze of
the golden angel
quiet stillness
mute graffiti bunker

I could be the last
person on earth


footprints in
the children’s sandbox
a trace of presence
a presence of absence

IIIIlluminating the darkness

the open-air museum
of street lamps

a chronology of gas
technology and progress

a timeline

illuminating a history
of human darkness.



her skull shatteredRosa Luxemburg
and a bullet in the head
Rosa sinks under
the dark water of the
Landwehr canal
her flickering flame
snuffed out

distant sparks kindle…



blue stars are pushing through
but today huddle for warmth

blackbirds, finches,
and a leering zoo
hyena for company.


Now playing: Einstürzende Neubauten  – Strategies Against Architecture III (1991 – 2001).

By Murdo Eason - From Hill to Sea

murdo eason / walking / writing / between world & word

8 replies on “Berlin dérive – Tiergarten”

Such an evocative combination of words, images and ideas – I love the ‘trace of presence/presence of absence’ particularly as I have been thinking about this kind of concept lately.

Thanks for the comments Diana. Much appreciated. I do like the concept of traces/presences being all around us that are markers of absence. Could be something as simple as a faded sign on a building indicating a previous usage for example.

A very evocative piece – and I love the Benjamin quote at the beginning. Speaking of traces of presence/presence of absence, I have been trying to photograph the visual evidence of this concept for years. It is probably one of the main reasons I am drawn to post-Soviet territories in transition where there are markers everywhere. I particularly like the ‘ghost Lenins’ that you sometimes find, empty spaces where the face has been crudely scratched away.

Thanks for the comments. The Benjamin quote was both serendipity and happenstance. I discovered it after returning from Berlin when I was reading his ‘Berlin Childhood around 1900’. The quote is from the opening of a short section on ‘Tiergarten’. Look forward to exploring your blog. I’ve had a quick look and it is right up my street. Great photographs.

Evocatively captures the ‘ghosts of Berlin’ (and I’d highly recommend Ladd’s book of that name). This city reeks such traces on and beneath its surface (plenty of bunkers and tunnels).

Oh, and Neubauten as the soundtrack is a great choice – reminds me of my own experience of trying to invoke the ghosts whilst in Berlin with a group of students a few years ago, I’d decided not to use Neubauten as intro to a lecture but a pneumatic trill kicked in anyway…

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