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Archive for the ‘German literature’ Category

May Morning
 
The May morning shimmered,
She sat silent and pale,
Her sweet eyes glimmered,
And slowly became moist.
 
Shadows of pain darkened
Her white features,
And large tears glittered
Like dew in the sunlight.

A butterfly gawked
At the sad, silent couple,
And fluttered
In her blonde hair.
 
His look; gloomy thoughts,
Sucked away her charm.
The hour, that trickled away,
Gave them pain, after pain.
 
They remained silent; each suffering,
In equally bitter torment.
So the two sat separately,
United for one last time.

-Mia Holm
translated by Joe Bandel

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Chrysanthemums

Katie, who reads my songs,
Wants me to write about chrysanthemums.
Chrysanthemums—
The flowers that Katie loves.
So now she stands before me at the writing desk,
And I put my head in my hands and search, search
For the soul of this flower—
And I think:
Yes—two images come to me,
That can put me on the track—
One: the delicate, sensitive Frenchman,
Pierre Loti visualized it and painted it
In the foggy tones of “The Boys of Glasgow”,
And hidden in a painting by Whistler,
He called his vision—“Madame Chrysanthemum”.
Yet these flowers speak differently to me,
Still, I can’t find their soft tones
And their voices—
Let me search further—
And the other image?
In my mother’s house, on one floor
In a brilliant white area is a
Black framed sketch of the Madonna,
The one sitting—and on both sides,
Are two small end tables,
Which hold large, gray vases.
But mother always puts chrysanthemums
In the vases,
Chrysanthemums, and only chrysanthemums.
Why only chrysanthemums?
No, red Mallows should be there,
Red, white and violet mallows!
And I search for the soul of this flower,
And can’t find a trace of it anywhere.
I have to ask Katie!
“Katie! Katie!”
Katie comes and rocks in the chair!
“Oh, you big fool!—you muse, muse,
Meditate and think—and my lovely flower
Says nothing to you?”
Then listen: “The coquette shepherd girls
From Trianon, at the festival
Carried colored chrysanthemums on their staffs—
And at the ball Katie laughs and dances,
And on her white shoulders laughs
Colored chrysanthemums.
Fluttering soft petals, like those of the
Colorful shepherd girls, that play in the wind,
That forget all troubles and sorrows.
And the short hours of sweet embrace,
That delight the poor senses!
You see—that—is everything!”
And I kneel:
“Katie, let me kiss your shoulders,
On your shoulders I kiss your flowers,
Soft chrysanthemums:—Katharina!”

-Hanns Heinz Ewers
translated by Joe Bandel

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Otherwise
 
You have described me wonderfully,
How I have almost destroyed your love;
But me—you—you don’t love me,
Otherwise you would love me differently.
 
Otherwise you would want to please your friend,
And not think of reputation and duty,
And I would thankfully press my face
Into your blissful breasts.
 
Otherwise I would not remain so mute,
When you mouth speaks to me of love;
Not I! —No, no, you don’t love me;
Otherwise—oh, otherwise, I would love you!

-Richard Dehmel
translated by Joe Bandel

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Stand Still, Sweet Night

You were already lovely at morning
And at midday, sweet maid.
Yet you are the cutest and most beautiful
Right now, at evening time.

Your sun golden hair wears
A wreathe of moonbeams,
And wraps you in a white veil
Of glamorous mist.
 
Wreath and veil, dear girl,
Those are cute bridal garments,
Fog and moonlight, even more magical,
Stand still, sweet night!

-Mia Holm 1900
translation by Joe Bandel

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Hyacinths

I break apart many hundred hyacinths.
Lay my colorful hyacinths
On a white silk cloth—
There are large red hyacinths,
Large violet hyacinths,
Yellow, white and blue hyacinths.
 
And I bow my head down low,
Bury my forehead and my temples,
Immerse them in the colored hyacinths.
 
And I kiss my colorful bunches,
All the white, red and yellow bunches,
Bathing in the perfume of the hyacinths.
 
Miraculously gentle women’s hands
Covering me—
And my head lies on miraculously soft
Women’s breasts—
Women’s kisses close my eyes,
Encircling my neck, miraculously sweet,
Soft women’s arms.
 
Oh, I feel these light kisses,
Pressing through my skin with a soft trembling,
Slowly releasing my great pain.
 
Oh, I feel these fine hands,
Coaxingly caressing my moist curls,
Slowly closing my deep wound.
 
And from women’s hands and women’s kisses,
Exudes the perfume of tender women’s bodies,
The miraculous perfume of women’s bodies.
 
Sweet perfume, like summer breezes that
Flutter around me on white wings,
Soft enticing waves of chords
That flood through every fiber of my body.
 
Sweet perfume! On cool women’s breasts
Slide my hot glowing cheeks,
And in the twilight my senses reel
In the sweet perfume of women’s breasts.
 
—I break apart hyacinths, hyacinths,
Many hundred colorful hyacinths,
Hide my head in colorful hyacinths.
And I bathe in women’s kisses,
In the perfume of sweet women’s breasts,
In the sweet perfume of hyacinths.

-Hanns Heinz Ewers
translated by Joe Bandel

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On Longing

I have baptized you “Switch”,
Because you are so slender,
And because God wants to chastise me with you,
And because there is a longing in your motion
Like in the slender poplars in April.
 
I don’t know you—but one day
You will knock on my door during a storm,
And I will open at the knocking,
And my untamed breast will beat
At the same time
And knock upon your untamed breasts.
 
Then I will know you—your eyes shining like buds
And you will blossom, blossom, blossom!
And your young mind will bubble
Like whipped shrubs in a torrent
And you, as I, will have to brave God’s storm
Or break!

-Richard Dehmal
translated by Joe Bandel

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Them In You
 
I love the water with its tumbling fall,
Its booming, foaming flood.
I love the storm and the reverberation of thunder,
The lightning’s unbounded rage.
I love them with exultant passion.
Only you with consuming fervor,
Carry lightning in your heart,
The storm in your breast,
And roiling waves in your blood.

-Mia Holm 1900
translation by Joe Bandel

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