March 3rd, 2010


Tsvetaeva 2

This is a stab at a very odd poem - but it's one of the poems in which she addresses female desire and I think that's why it is unclear and sort of like a Chagall painting.

Not sure about it...

Darkness and fog throughout the town
buses with smudgy windows hurtling past.
clear as a flower in sun I glimpsed
her face for moments. She went by so fast

young, sad-eyed, blonde. A princess
I gasped, and caught myself, was still
Sometimes our yearning brings old ghosts to us
from tombs or urns or underneath the hill

Dreaming I've seen her - in thick station crowds
glancing my way or looking down from clouds
living or dead but lovely, dressed in shrouds
or in couture. Why should she come to me?
Jaded with heaven's crystal sanctity
why seek my dowdy mediocrity?

And tonight Heinrich Heine brings you...


I don't know why, or what it means
that I get so depressed
that some old story haunts me.
I'm suddenly obsessed.

There's a cold breeze, it's twilight
but in the last sunshine
the mountain tops still glimmer
beside the river Rhine

A pretty girl is sitting-
how did she get up there?-
in nothing but her jewels
combing her golden hair.

Her comb is made of gold too.
She sings an eery song
It's really quite compelling.
The river flows along.

The boatman in his dinghy
seized by the melody
ignores the rapids, stares at her
so absentmindedly.

His boat tears out its bottom
He sinks beneath the waves
The Lorelei has killed him
Her song makes men her slaves.

I shudder at the speed with which that one came.

The Gods of Greece

This one is long and I am less sure of it, because the original is quite tough-going with my mediocre German. The original is rhapsodic, which means it's harder to get the tone right. But I think this works - behind an lj-cut for length though.

Collapse )