Friday, 13 March 2015
Germany, A Winter's Fairy Tale (Caput IV)
Caput IV . . . draft in free translation
Late in the evening I came to Cologne,
I could hear the sound of the river,
And when I sensed the breeze from the Rhine,
I was suddenly swayed by its power -
To sharpen my jaded appetite. On a
Bacon omelette I then did dine,
But it tasted too much of salt, therfore
I ordered a carafe of Rheinwein.
The Rheinwein gleamed as it always does,
Like gold in its green Roman glass,
But if one should drink a second carafe
In the nose a prickling will come to pass.
Within the nose a tingling so sweet,
One cannot believe its delights!
To the echoing streets I drag myself out
And into the gloom of the night.
How strange the stony buildings look,
As if they could tell to me
The legends of bygone times, of
This holy city's history.
Long ago there were clerics
Full of tricks and dark secrets,
For men of darkness ruled here
As Ulrich von Hutten describes.
The cancan of the Middle Ages
Was danced here by the nuns
And monks; and here too were
Flames of the pyres licked books,
Devoured people betrayed;
Bells rang loudly and long,
And around them the Kyrie was prayed.
Cruelty and folly were promiscuous too,
Those dogs running free and roaming;
Their descendants you can still see today,
You can see their religious loathing.
But look! up there in the moonlight,
The colossal unholy accomplice.
Upwardly towering, dark and condemned,
The Cathedral of Cologne, there it is.
(to be revised and continued . . . )