Things that I have found quite interesting

A Bit of Translation

I spent over two years trying to learn German at the City Lit., Holborn.

Although I learnt French 70 years ago, I have not forgotten it, and was brave enough to use it a little when we were in Paris.
We were on the Metro when a lady came into our carriage.
She had a mewing cat in a large container with a handle, and we exchanged smiles.
I wanted to ask if the cat was male or female, but had no idea how to say it, so I asked," Monsieur ou madame?" to which she replied, using a scissors motion with her fingers, "Monsieur coupe!"

We understood immediately, and laughed together.


I did not find German easy, largely because of the grammar and word order.
I have never been able to understand why it should be thought necessary to divide everything in the world,even inanimate objects,into male, female or neuter categories.

However, I was beginning to make some headway when my arthritis was doing the same; I found it harder and harder to manage escalators, and was forced to give up my German class.

During my visits to Germany, I was given a long poem, written by a german poet who is considered very funny indeed.
I have always enjoyed translation, and decided I would try to put the poem into English, not forgetting to make it rhyme.
I shall give the translation in small sections, german version first.
You will notice that it has a simple structure, and rhymes in couplets.

Just glance through the german bits,then look at the English version.
I sent it to my German friends, and they seemed to enjoy it.

NB: there is no way of typing the special 'double-s' sign, so I shall put two esses instead.

FUSSBALL

1 Der Fussballwahn ist eine Krank-

Heit, aber selten, Gott sei Dank.

Ich kenne wen,der lit akut

An Fussballwahn und Fusswahlwut.


                                                   FOOTBALL

                                                 1 Football-mania's a disease

                                                   Which, thank the Lord, one rarely sees.

                                                   I knew a man who had it bad-

                                                   With football-rage went football-mad.



2 Sowie er einen Gegenstand

In Kugelform unt ahnlich fand,

So trat er zu und stiess mit Kraft

Ihn in die bunte Nachbarschaft.


                                                    2 Whenever he an object found

                                                     Of global form, and football-round

                                                     He'd kick it - with what strength he could -

                                                     Into the crowded neighbourhood.


3 Ob es ein Schwalbennest,ein Tiegel,

Ein Kase, Globus oder Igel,

Ein Krug, ein Schmuckwerk am Altar,

Ein Kegelball, ein Kissen war,

Und wem der Gegenstand gehorte,

Das war etwas,was ihn nicht storte.


                                                      3 A hedgehog, cheese,or globe,or pot

                                                       Or swallows'-nest:it mattered not:

                                                        A jug, a cushion,skittle-ball,

                                                        Round altar-decorations - all

                                                        Were booted, flying through the air:

                                                        And who got hurt? He didn't care!


4 Bald trieb er eine Schweineblase

Bald steife Hute durch die Strasse.

Dann wieder mit geubtem Schwung

Stiess er den Fuss in Pferdeding.


                                                        4 Soon a pig's-bladder felt his feet,

                                                         Top-hats went whizzing through the street

                                                          And then again, with footwork sure

                                                          He thrust his boot in horse-manure.


5 Mit Schwamm und Seife trieb er Sport

Die Lampenkuppel brach sofort.

Das Nachtgeschirr flog zielbewusst

Der Tante Berta an die Brust.


                                                           5 With sponge and soap fine sport he made:

                                                            He kicked - and smashed - the oil-lamp-shade:

                                                             The chamberpot flew with the rest

                                                               And headed for Aunt Berta's chest.


6 Kein Abwehrmittel wollte nutzen,

Nicht Stacheldraht in Stiefelspitzen,

Noch Puffer aussen angebracht.

Er siegte immer,0 zu 8.


                                                              6 All self-defence was doomed to fail

                                                                - Barbed-wire proved to no avail,

                                                                 Buffers were quite inadequate;

                                                                  He always triumphed, nil to eight.


7 Und ubte weiter frisch, fromm, frei

Mit Totenkopf und Straussenei.

Erschreckt durch seine wilden Stosse,

Gab man ihm nie Kartoffelklosse.

Selbst vor dem Podex und den Brusten

Der Frau ergriff ihn ein Gelusten,

Was er jedoch ais Man von Stand

Aus Hoflichkeit meist uberwand.



                                                                7 And still he practised,earnest, bright;

                                                                 A skull and wreaths sailed out of sight!

                                                                 Terrified by these wild mishaps,

                                                                 Folk kept their dumplings under wraps

                                                                 While he himself, though seized with lust

                                                                  When glimpsing some plump female's bust,

                                                                  Out of politeness saw no grounds

                                                                  For sport: these balls were out of bounds!



8 Dagegan gab ein Schwartenmagen

Dem Fleischer Anlass zum Verklagen.

Was beim Gemusemarkt geschah,

Kommt einer Schlacht bei Leipzig nah.

Da schwirrten Apfel,Apfelsinen,

Durch Publikum wie wilde Bienen.

Da sah man Blutorangen, Zwetschen

An blassen Wangen sich zerquetschen.


                                                                  8 In contrast,once a Butcher sued

                                                                   Our hero for behaviour rude

                                                                   - His brutal treatment of a Brawn.

                                                                    And still his madness drove him on:

                                                                     At the fruitmarket was revealed

                                                                     A veritable battlefield,

                                                                    As apples,plums and oranges

                                                                    Buzzed through the crowd like angry bees.


9 Das Eigelb uberzog die Leiber,

Ein Fischkorb platzte zwischen Weiber.

Kartoffeln spritzten und citronen,

Man duckte sich vor den Melonen.

Dem Krautkopf folgten Kurbisschusse;

Dann donnerton die Kokosnusse.


                                                                  9 Down the pale cheeks of local folk

                                                                   The juices ran: the yellow yolk

                                                                   Of eggs bedaubed their clothes- and worst

                                                                   Between the women a fishbasket burst!

                                                                    As lemons and potatoes showered

                                                                    Around them,people ducked and cowered!

                                                                    Cabbages,melons hurtled through -

                                                                    Coconuts, pumpkins thundered too.....


10 Genug! Als alles dies getan,

Griff unser Held zum Grossenwahn.

Schon schakernd mit der U-Bootsmine -

Besann er sich auf die Lawine.

Doch als pomposer Fussballstosser

Fand er die Erde noch viel grosser.

Er rang mit mancherlei Problemen.

Zunachst: Wie soll man Anlauf nehmen?


                                                                10 Enough! As this match neared conclusion

                                                                 Our hero,gripped by wild delusuon,

                                                                  Already toying with a plan

                                                                  To boot a U-boat mine, began,

                                                                  Obsessed, to dream of targets greater still:

                                                                   Perhaps an avalanche might test his skill?

                                                                   The Earth was massive - just the ticket

                                                                   For such as he: but how to run and kick it?


11 Dann schiffte er von dem Balkon

Sich ein in einem Luftballon.

Und blieb von da an in der Luft,

Verschollen. Hat sich selbst verpufft. -

Ich warne euch, ihr Bruder Jahns,

Vor dem Gebrauch des Fussballwahns!


                                                               11 Briefly he struggled with this problem - soon

                                                                Easily solved - he booked an air-balloon

                                                                And from his balcony that fateful day

                                                                Sailed - disappeared! Had blown himself away!

                                                                 I warn you all, your Brother Jahns,

                                                                 Against the dreaded Fussballwahns!



Personally, I do not find the poem anusing, but My German friends find it extremely funny!




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