Thursday, January 15, 2009

A little nerd poetry entry

Ok, so I'm going to go all nutty and academic for this post and write a little more about the poem that I am kind of in love with.
It's by Kurt Tucholsky, born in 1890 in Berlin (woot). After 1929, however, he moved to Hindås which is in/near Göteborg Sweden (the more I learn about this guy, the more I like him).

This is where the story gets sad though:
In 1933 he was officially denied his German citizenship because of his writings; his books were burned in Germany, and he died in 1935, presumably a suicide.

There is a street in Berlin named for him now, and he's my favorite poet at the moment. Here's an approximate translation of his poem "Augen in der Grossstadt" and it's not a good doesn't capture the beauty, but I hope that it kind of helps to sum up why I like it so much.

Eyes in a Big City
When you go to work
in the early morning,
when you are standing at the station
with your concerns:
then the city shows you
its smooth asphalt
people in the hopper
millions of faces:
Two strange eyes, a quick glance,
the brow, pupils, eyelids--
What was that? maybe your life's happiness...
over, gone, never again.
In your whole life, you go through
a thousand roads;
you see on your way
that you forgot.
An eye beckons,
the soul sounds;
you have found
only for seconds...
two strange eyes, a quick glance,
the brow, pupils, eyelids--
what was that? No one turns back time...
over, gone, never again.
You must be on your way
wandering through cities;
see for just a beat
the strange other.
It could be an enemy,
it could be a friend
it could be a comrade in your struggle
he looks over and attracts
the brow, pupils, eyelids --
What was that?
A piece from mass humanity
over, gone, never again.

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