Eratosphere Forums - Metrical Poetry, Free Verse, Fiction, Art, Critique, Discussions Able Muse - a review of poetry, prose and art

Forum Left Top

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Unread 05-24-2019, 07:33 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 4,952
Default Georg Trakl, "To the Boy, Elis"

To the Boy, Elis. Translated by Christopher Newton

Elis, when the blackbird calls in the dark forest,
this is your downfall.
Your lips drink the cool of the blue
rock spring.

Invoke, when your brow lightly bleeds,
ancient legends
and dark interpretations of bird flight.

You, though, go with soft paces in the night
that hangs full of purple grapes
and you wave arms more beautifully in blue.

A thornbush chimes
where your mooning eyes are.
O, how long Elis, are you dead?

Your body is a hyacinth
a monk dips his wax finger into.
A black cave is our silence.

Sometimes a soft beast treads out of it
and slowly sinks its heavy lids.
Black dew beads on your temples.

The last gold of fallen stars.



An Den Knaben Elis

Elis, wenn die Amsel im schwarzen Wald ruft,
Dieses ist dein Untergang.
Deine Lippen trinken die Kühle des blauen Felsenquells.

Laß, wenn deine Stirne leise blutet,
Uralte Legenden
Und dunkle Deutung des Vogelflugs.

Du aber gehst mit weichen Schritten in die Nacht,
Die voll purpurner Trauben hängt,
Und du regst die Arme schöner im Blau.

Ein Dornenbusch tönt,
Wo deine mondenen Augen sind.
O, wie lange bist, Elis, du verstorben.

Dein Leib ist eine Hyazinthe,
In die ein Mönch die wächsernen Finger taucht.
Eine schwarze Höhle ist unser Schweigen,

Daraus bisweilen ein sanftes Tier tritt
Und langsam die schweren Lider senkt.
Auf deine Schläfen tropft schwarzer Tau,

Das letzte Gold verfallener Sterne.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Unread 05-24-2019, 07:38 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 4,952
Default

I'm reading Trakl at the moment in the Doss-Schmitt bilingual edition; not bad, but I do feel it could be better. He was a leading Austrian expressionist, who published three volumes of poetry, 1908-1914, anonymously financed by Ludwig Wittgenstein. He died young of a cocaine overdose after serving in World War One. The poem here gave Doss and Schmitt their title: The Last Gold of Expired Stars.
I hear echoes of Trakl in Paul Celan.

Cheers,
John
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Unread 06-09-2019, 01:16 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1,832
Default

John,

Thanks for sharing this. Trakl is perpetually on my "To Read" list.

If the work you're reading is subpar, why not have a go at it? Trakl is in the public domain, right?
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Unread 06-09-2019, 03:35 PM
Allen Tice's Avatar
Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Brooklyn, NY USA
Posts: 4,526
Default

This is definitely Trakl. He has a unique voice. I don't always like it, but it's a modern German-language voice I can tolerate reading fairly closely, along with Rilke and Morgenstern. Nobody else that I know of yet. Nobody I can stand for more than a line or a title. And I like the German language of my forebears and their current freundschaft. Speaking of bears, there's the true story about the three Pennsylvania Dutchmen who were out hunting when about noon they came to a sign at a fork in the path. Amos said to Sam (in English), "Now, what does that mean?" Martin said, "It says, 'BEAR LEFT'." Sam agreed, and added "We're too late today." So they turned around and went back home.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Unread 06-09-2019, 07:55 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 4,952
Default

Hi Andrew, hi Allen,

Andrew, the translation isn't terrible, it just says things like "I lift the eyes" or "goldenly" or "the blueness" - a bit Yellow Submarine-y in fact. Trakl writes free verse, so it's possible to stick fairly closely to syntax and vocabulary without massacring the poem. The bilingual edition I mentioned is certainly worth considering for anyone interested.
Allen, I do love Morgenstern, funny and light and sometimes thoughtful. Very German. I don't know if you've tried Brecht or Benn or George, but if not, they're worth a look. Here meanwhile is Celan's Todesfuge, which is a contender, with the Duineser Elegien and maybe the Moritat von Mackie Messer, for the most famous German poem of the last 100 years. Translation by Michael Hamburger:

Death Fugue

Black milk of daybreak we drink it at sundown
we drink it at noon in the morning we drink it at night
we drink and we drink it
we dig a grave in the breezes there one lies unconfined
A man lives in the house he plays with the serpents he writes
he writes when dusk falls to Germany your golden hair
Margarete
he writes it and steps out of doors and the stars are flashing he
whistles his pack out
he whistles his Jews out in earth has them dig for a grave
he commands us strike up for the dance

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink in the morning at noon we drink you at sundown
we drink and we drink you
A man lives in the house he plays with the serpents he writes
he writes when dusk falls to Germany your golden hair
Margarete
your ashen hair Shulamith we dig a grave in the breezes there
one lies unconfined.

He calls out jab deeper into the earth you lot you others sing now
and play
he grabs at the iron in his belt he waves it his eyes are blue
jab deeper you lot with your spades you others play on for the
dance

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink you at noon in the morning we drink you at sundown
we drink you and we drink you
a man lives in the house your golden hair Margarete
your ashen hair Shulamith he plays with the serpents

He calls out more sweetly play death death is a master from
Germany
he calls out more darkly now stroke your strings then as smoke
you will rise into air
then a grave you will have in the clouds there one lies unconfined

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink you at noon death is a master from Germany
we drink you at sundown and in the morning we drink and we
drink you
death is a master from Germany his eyes are blue
he strikes you with leaden bullets his aim is true
a man lives in the house your golden hair Margarete
he sets his pack on to us he grants us a grave in the air
he plays with the serpents and daydreams death is a master from
Germany

your golden hair Margarete
your ashen hair Shulamith
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Unread 06-19-2019, 06:57 PM
Julie Steiner's Avatar
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Posts: 6,127
Default

What am I missing? What is it that you admire about "To the Boy, Elis," John? I see nothing particularly swoon-worthy about it, but maybe I'm just swoon-immune.

I think that first quatrain is supposed to be a tercet, BTW.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



Forum Right Top
Forum Left Bottom Forum Right Bottom
 
Right Left
Member Login
Forgot password?
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Statistics:
Forum Members: 8,022
Total Threads: 19,999
Total Posts: 255,820
There are 251 users
currently browsing forums.
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Sponsor:
Donate & Support Able Muse / Eratosphere
Forum LeftForum Right
Right Right
Right Bottom Left Right Bottom Right

Hosted by ApplauZ Online