Wednesday, March 30, 2016

No. 22 Courage

This poem's short declamatory phrases leave no room for repeated subjects so I changed some of the lines to the imperative voice. This lends an encouraging feeling to the words, as if the poet is trying to buck himself up.
Despite this solution I am stuck on the famous line "Klagen ist für Toren." The translation must be as jarringly flippant as the original, but English phrases fail me. "Grieving is for dimwits" is just too funny. After our last performance on Saturday, the audience obsessed over this one but couldn't come up with a solution. In a text message to the host of our little Liederabend I wrote, "Figured it out: 'Kvetching's good as fish tits!'"
Most importantly, the proto-Nietzschean "Will kein Gott auf Erden sein, Sind wir selber Götter!" cannot be reduced to "If there is no god on earth, We are gods together"; it must somehow convey, "If there is no god on earth, Then we are gods ourselves." I have resigned myself to the possibility that conundrums like these might not sort themselves out until after our concert tour is over on April 2. Then we'll get some distance before beginning again next January. I hope to have final solutions before we record my English version next April.

No. 22 Courage
When the snow flies in your face
Shake it off and crash on
When you hear your heart's complaint 
Sing a rousing glad song
Never hear what it would say
I've no ears to hear it
Leave it to feeling what it may 
Grieving is for dimwits
Greeting all the world with mirth
Facing wind and weather 
If there is no God on earth
We are gods together

22. Mut
Fliegt der Schnee mir ins Gesicht, 
Schüttl' ich ihn herunter.
Wenn mein Herz im Busen spricht, 
Sing' ich hell und munter.
Höre nicht, was es mir sagt, 
Habe keine Ohren;
Fühle nicht, was es mir klagt, 
Klagen ist für Toren.

Lustig in die Welt hinein 
Gegen Wind und Wetter ! 
Will kein Gott auf Erden sein, 
Sind wir selber Götter !

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