Sunday, May 7, 2017

Game: Deutsche Gedichte

The quarter is half over already. I'm less stressed than last quarter, but last quarter set my stress standards pretty high. My sister once wisely told me that at some point in college you stop bragging about how little sleep you get, and instead start bragging about how much. I think I'm reaching that point.

A lot of my time is spent thinking about the future, at various removes--tomorrow, next week, next month, the summer, next year, the rest of my life. But lately I've been feeling nostalgic for last year, when I was in Europe. Whenever I see photos or depictions of the places that I was--looking up a Hamburg StadtRad station for my presentation on sustainability in Germany, photos of the Colosseum, a friend who's in Berlin now posting a selfie in front of Brandenburger Tor--my heart hurts.

Since I haven't been writing much outside of school things lately, here's a game. It's the same format as all the other games I suggest here, namely:

1) pick a song
2) pick one other source of inspiration (in this case, a photo of someplace you have been)
3) write a poem

The format (found after a couple minutes poking around Google) is the Dinggedicht, or object poem, because that seems fun. To quote the linked page:

"The Dinggedicht or Object Poem is a things poem. This is a genre of poetry in which communication of mood or thought is made through acute observation of things and symbolic concentration. It was introduced in the early 1900s by Austrian poet, Rainer Maria Rilke while studying impressionist paintings. It is closely connected to the imagist movement of the same time. It appears the difference may be in the subject of the observation. The dinggedicht appears to be more likely to observe man-made articles while the imagist tends to observe more natural surroundings."

For a little more structure, try the Bar Form, which is:
  • "stanzaic, any number of octaves made up of 2 couplets followed by a quatrain. The 2 halves of the octave are known as Aufgesang and the Abgesang “after song”. (the Abgesang can use portions of an Aufgesang phrase.)
  • metered, at the discretion of the poet as long as the rhythm of the lines of the first couplet is repeated by the 2nd couplet, the following quatrain has a different rhythm in each line which is not repeated within the octave. It might be clearer described in music the first 2 couplets repeat a melody, the quatrain carries a different melody.
  • rhymed, ababccdd"

Los geht's!


Song: "Liebe ist alles" - Adoro



Jetzt wachsen die Lindenblättern
Die kleinen Blumen mählen
Grün soll die Stadt aussehen
Grün soll die riechen

Neue Füße auf alten Straßen
Die Kinder schreien, die Denkmäler schweigen
Hör zu, hör zu--
Kannst du die Lindenbäumen hören?

Wilkommen, Frühling, wilkommen, Flüchtling
Egal wer du bist
Under den Berlinerlinden
Ruh dich aus


Now the linden leaves grow
The small flowers paint
The city should look green
The city should smell green

New feet on old streets
The children scream, the memorials are silent
Listen, listen
Do you hear the linden trees?

Welcome, spring, welcome, refugee
Whoever you are
Under the lindens of Berlin
Come rest


That ended up much less impressionistic and much more political than I intended, probably because I'm relieved that Le Pen was so soundly defeated in the French elections today. Now to try the Bar Form.


Song: "Dein Weg" - Eisbrecher



Wenn du jetzt gehst, ach du darauf
Dass du mitnimmst, alles das du brauchst
Erst fang an, bete, und lauf
Willst du noch, dass du tieftauchst?
Keine Zeit hast du, alles weg
Kommst du jetzt an: hier, den Steg
Bleibt nur die Ebbe und die Flut
Und frohes Singen in deinem Blut.


When you go now, watch out
To take with you all you need
First start, pray, and run
Do you still want to dive deep?
You have no time, it's all gone
You arrive here at the bridge
There remains only the ebb and the flow
And the joyful singing in your blood


I don't think I can make it rhyme in English without contorting things terribly, apologies that the translated version has no flow. This isn't about jumping off a bridge with harmful intent; the song made me think about selkies/other mythological creatures who stay only a little while in the human world before they want to go home to their own element.

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