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Five songs on poems of Emily Dickinson

Word count: 354

by David Horowicz (b. 1960)

German (Deutsch) translation: Fünf Lieder auf Gedichte von Emily Dickinson für Sopran, Bratsche, Mandoline und Gitarre (Bertram Kottmann)

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1. I'm nobody! Who are you? [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE GER GER ITA

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Walter A. Aue) , "Ich bin ein Niemand! Wer bist Du?", copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Io non sono nessuno, e tu?", copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us - don't tell!
They'd [banish us]1, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell [your]2 name the livelong [day]3
To an admiring bog!


View original text (without footnotes)
1 Bacon, G. Coates: "advertise"
2 Bacon, G. Coates: "one's
3 Bacon, G. Coates: "June"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Much madness is divinest sense [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE GER GER

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Walter A. Aue) , copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Much madness is divinest sense
To [a]1 discerning eye;
Much sense the starkest madness.
'Tis the majority
In this, as all, prevails.
Assent, and you are sane,
Demur, - you're straightaway dangerous,
And handled with a chain.


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1 Langert : "the"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Tell all the Truth but tell it slant [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): GER

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Tell all the Truth but tell it slant -
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise

As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind -


Submitted by Bertram Kottmann

4. We grow accustomed to the Dark [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): GER

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


We grow accustomed to the Dark -
When Light is put away -
As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Good bye - 

A Moment - We uncertain step
For newness of the night -
Then - fit our Vision to the Dark -
And meet the Road - erect - 

And so of larger - Darknesses -
Those Evenings of the Brain -
When not a Moon disclose a sign -
Or Star - come out - within -

The Bravest - grope a little -
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead -
But as they learn to see - 

Either the Darkness alters -
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight -
And Life steps almost straight.


Submitted by Bertram Kottmann

5. The wind tapped like a tired man [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): GER

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


The wind tapped like a tired man,
And like a host, "Come in,"
I boldly answered; entered then
My residence within

A rapid, footless guest,
To offer whom a chair
Were as impossible as hand
A sofa to the air.

No bone had he to bind him,
His speech was like the push
Of numerous humming-birds at once
From a superior bush.

His countenance a billow,
His fingers, if he pass,
Let go a music, as of tunes
Blown tremulous in glass.

He visited, still flitting;
Then, like a timid man,
Again he tapped - 't was flurriedly -
And I became alone.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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