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“Alone” a Poem by Karl von Holtei (1798-1880) translated from the Silesian German Dialect

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1. Each and every person has a place,

to go and sob in that quiet space:

where one does not have to say a word

and where one cannot be heard.

From the house – alone – to dart out

and go there to cry one’s heart out.

2. My place has a gathering of high beach trees

that stand like a kettle in the leas.

No one ever goes there to loom

and never there do flowers bloom.

Nothing is there but loneliness

and me with my heart’s distress.

3. After that when the sun goes down,

a third feeling starts coming round.

From the green beaches it descends like dew

and asks: “Can I be with you?”

With my heart-ache and loneliness

then mingles a sense of blissfulness.

Translated by pkrey 4/07/2009


1. Jedweder Mensch hot seine Ohrte,

Wu a im stillen flennen kan;

Do macht ma weiter keene Wohrte

Und tutt’s irscht keenem andern san:

Ma gieht alleene aus em Haus

Und weent sich ganz alleene aus.

2. Ihch ha an’n Ohrt, wu hohche Buchen

Beisammen in a’m Kessel stiehn.

Kee Mensch kümmt durte nei gekruchen,

Ma sit ooch keene Bliemel bliehn;

‘s ihs nischte durt, wie Einsamkeet

Und ihch mid meinem Härzeleed,

3. Und gieht dernoch de Sunne under,

Do stellt sich noch a drittes ein.

‘s kümmt vun a grienen Buchen runder

Und frat: Tar ihch derbeine sein?

Mit Härzeleed und Einsamkeet

Vermengt sich de Glicksäligkeet.

From Otto Hattstädt, Professor am Concordia Gymnasium, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Handbuch der deutschen Nationalliteratur von ihrem ersten Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart, (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 1906), page 495.


Written by peterkrey

April 7, 2009 at 8:48 pm

Posted in 1, My Poems, Translation

One Response

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  1. Them Germans! I must really be German because I relate to this poem so much. It’s so mysterious and alluring and yet tragic. So far all these poems you’ve been translating have such a unique vibe. The speaker of the poem is a true watcher and thinker. They are the vigilant one in the night and they sense the vibrations of the universe. I’d say part of the reason these poems come across this way is because I feel like that’s the way you are, dad, and your voice comes out in these translations and they are beautiful translations at that. I feel like I’ve had places like that in my life. A unique grove where I know god is waiting for me with a shoulder to rest my weary head on. The poem almost makes me think of being in love with god or something. I like it a lot!


    April 17, 2009 at 6:50 am

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