Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.
The poem, ‘Spiral of Justice,’ or ‘Gerechtigkeitsspirale’ in its original German, was carved by Erhart Falckener onto a church pew in Hesse in 1510. The words are punctuated by red diamonds and surrounded by thistle and acanthus. I found an image of the pew while researching examples of shaped poetry. Reading the English translation is like reading the news: ‘Justice suffers in great need/Truth is slain dead […] Faleshood is of high birth.’
Justice suffers in great need.
Truth is beaten to death.
Faith has lost the argument.
Falsehood is of high birth.
That angers God the Lord.
O man, let go
That you may not always be lost.
(Adapted from English translations provided by Wikipedia)