World Poetry Day

Saturday was World Poetry Day, I learned via facebook. One of my pals there asked for favourite poems of everyone to mark the occasion. As the people I am connected with on facebook are mainly German speakers, I left out Robert Frost’s “The road not taken“, a poem not as well known in German speaking countries, as it should be. I spent seven years with “The road not taken” painted in a single line around my living room walls. This might demonstrate, how much I love it.

But yesterday I had to think of my favourite German poem. Pondering this for a while, my mind always turned back to – alas, not Goethe, but Uwe Friesel. Competing with Ernst Jandl‘s writings, ruling out H.C. Artmann all together. As his poems (my absolute favourites, ever) are in Viennese, to be more exact Ottakringer dialect and no-one (apart from Austrians, and even I struggled the first time trying to grasp the wording) can understand his written-as-pronounced, printed in lowercase only, poems.

But back to Uwe Friesel and part of his poem “Selbstgespräch”:

Ach die Tage
als die Sonne schräg durch die Buchen
auf moosiges Grün
oder
magisch und trennscharf
die Kimme im Deich
und sehr aufrecht stromabwärts
der Schornstein eines Ostindienfahrers

Wohin denn zerfließt dauernd die Zeit
wo bleibt das Leben ab
was erkennst du noch wieder
im Badezimmerspiegel jeden Morgen

I’ll try and give you a translation. The title reads “Soliloquy”:

Oh, the days,
The sun slanted through beeches
Onto mossy green
Or
Sorcerous and sharp-edged
The notch of the dyke
And very upright downstream
The stack of an East Indiaman

Where to does time perpetually dissolve
Where’s life got to
What do you still recognise
Every morning in the bathroom mirror

And my pick from Ernst Jandl is this:

wir wollen wissen
wo wir herkommen
wer ist unser urahn unser altvorderer
dieses arschloch
damit wir uns ihm ehrfürchtig nah’n
damit wir uns ihm ehrfürchtig nah’n

Here, again, a faint try to give you an idea in English:

“We want to know
Where we stem from
Who is our ancestor, our forebear
That arsehole
So we can approach him awestruck
So we can approach him awestruck”

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2 thoughts on “World Poetry Day

  1. Hallo.

    Jetzt steh ich zwischen den Stühlen.
    Englisch oder doch Deutsch kommentieren.

    Wie du siehst habe ich mich für Deutsch entschieden.
    Wäre es in Englisch angemessener? Keine Ahnung. 😉

    Auf alle Fälle finde ich deinen Blog und die Artikel
    gut aufgearbeitet. Das gefällt mir. Viel Intressantes
    dabei.

    L.G. Mutist

    Like

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