Can’t help but feeling fragile these days. Guess, it is the mellowing effects of recent events, that make me that raw inside.

Thus, I took out some books of poetry this morning, to browse the way, we used to at pre-computerised times: leafing through words, recognising bits and rediscovering others.

Until I stopped at this:

reis s ausse dei heazz dei bluadex

und haus s owe iwa r a bruknglanda!

fomiaraus auf d fabindunxbaun

en otagring…

daun woat a wäu

bis s da wida zuaqoxn is des loch

des bluadeche untan schilee

und sog:

es woa nix! oda: gemma koed is s ned!

waun s d amoe so weid bist

daun eascht schreib dei gedicht

und ned eea!


I am full aware, no English speaker can make any sense of this. Neither will German speakers. I doubt, even many Austrians will be able to decipher it, as it is written as spoken Viennese dialect. A poem by H.C. Artman, whom I like a lot. I’ll try and translate, first to German, then to English.

Reiß dein Herz heraus, dein blutiges | und wirf es hinunter über ein Brückengeländer! | meinetwegen an der Verbindungsbahn in Ottakring… | dann warte eine Weile | bis es wieder zugewachsen ist, das Loch | das blutige, unterm Gilet | und sage: | es war nichts! oder: Geh, kalt ist es nicht | wenn du einmal so weit bist | dann erst schreib dein Gedicht | und nicht eher!

Tear your heart out, the bloody | and throw it down over a balustrade! | for all I care on the railtrack in Ottakring… (part of town in Vienna) | then wait a while | until it has coalesced again, the hole | the bloody, under the vest | and say: | it was nothing! or: Gee, it ain’t cold outside | once you have come that far | only then write your poem | none earlier!

3 thoughts on “Viennese

  1. Wow, this really captures how I’ve been feeling the last few weeks. The Muses have been quiet of late, their silence saying, in essence “only then write your poem / none earlier.” Guess poetry is better once your heart has been torn out. 🙂

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