Monday, 22 June 2009

Erich Fried's Evening

Here is the final poem, for now, in the Erich Fried mini-series. It's PiR-translated from Warngedichte (pub: 1964 Hanser, Munich). This stark cold scene of Evening is reminiscent of some of the Thomas Bernhard poems that were translated here a few months ago.


We bring the cold
and place it on the table
cut it without a knife
with naked hand
for you and for me a slice

Simple fare
food and drink together
thirst killed
hunger chased away
and now sleep comes

We dream of stars
and again of the warm moon
snow softens the wind
and nothing
is harder than ice



  1. I'ver enjoyed (if that's quite the right word!) these translations. Reading this I was reminded of the film Withnail and I (I saw it recently). Withnail and "I" have just arrived at a freezing holiday cottage with no means to keep warm. They smash up a chair and try burning it in the grate. "We might as well sit round a cigarette" says Withnail.

  2. Thanks for the comment Dominic. Bad news about the 3 mountain runners in France. If you haven't already seen it you can find it via the MST Link from Bard on the Run. I've left my thoughts there.

  3. yes enjoyed these too Gwilym

  4. Add my liking it to the other two Gwilym - I love your translations.

  5. Being unwell, still i thought to comment on your bringing this poetry...
    Right now, really thankful for this..though it is much more serious thing.
    May like to express more about this... inshallah,
    And i must say , you have good muscles.

  6. satyapal, thanks for comment and hope you are soon speedily on the mend, and re my 'good muscles' i have them because i often use them, in fact they came in handy on saturday and carried me along a 57 km mountain trail with 2290 mtrs climb and descent, naturally afterwards they were a bit tired so i've now given them 2 warm baths in 'mirfusot' (it's good stuff and by ratiopharm and is a mixture of eucalyptus, pine, lavender and thyme) and most grateful the muscles are for it too ;~)

  7. I would say it again, as i have read the poems again...thanks a lot Williams for providing such beautiful poems... free of cost. I am surprised there are not as many comments as these first-rate poems deserve. The poetic insightfulness and the contents of the poems demand enlightened disscussion. Eric has a wide range...from evening to buldozers... from love to petty selfishness...
    All of sudden he brings us back... from mundane to meaningful... from surface to deep... from superficial to serious.....Oh! he makes us human again... i will keep on reading him many times , courtesy Williams...
    G.W.! you have talked a little about your translation -process somewhere here... You could have spoken more... infact, in my view, you should always speak about this, whenever you trans. next time... and sometime you can talk about translation-work in general as you see it.. i am really interested in listening to that...
    And there is this thing called Politics of Translation...
    And i admire the politics of this translation-work in particular...
    Bravo Man! Carry-on G.W!...

  8. Thanks for your comments and encouragement Satyapal. I count 18 comments so far on the Erich Fried posts (including mine and yours of course) and I've also received an e-mail comment off-blog from someone who knew Erich Fried, was inspired by him, and even went on demonstrations with him. I'll try my best to live up to your high expectations and will also give some more information concerning translations.


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