Three Songs on poems by Georg Trakl

Translations © by Bertram Kottmann

by Stefan Heucke

Word count: 270
Original language: Drei Gesänge nach Gedichten von Georg Trakl
Am Abend, wenn die Glocken Frieden läuten,
Folg' ich der Vögel wundervollen Flügen,
Die lang geschart, gleich frommen Pilgerzügen,
Entschwinden in den herbstlich klaren Weiten.

Hinwandelnd durch den dämmervollen Garten
Träum' ich nach ihren helleren Geschicken
Und fühl' der Stunden Weiser kaum mehr rücken.
So folg' ich über Wolken ihrer Fahrten.

Da macht ein Hauch mich von Verfall erzittern.
Die Amsel klagt in den entlaubten Zweigen.
Es schwankt der rote Wein an rostigen Gittern.

Indes wie blasser Kinder Todesreigen
Um dunkle Brunnenränder, die verwittern,
Im Wind sich fröstelnd blaue Astern neigen.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

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

  • ENG English [singable] (Walter A. Aue) , "Decay", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Bertram Kottmann) , "Decay", copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Décomposition", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Decadenza", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
by Georg Trakl (1887 - 1914)
1. Decay
At nightfall, when the bells of peace are ringing,
I follow the birds’ wonderful migration,
that in long rows, like groups of pious pilgrims,
pass out of sight into fall’s clear expanses.

Walking at leisure through the dusky garden
I dream after their destinies, much brighter,
and hardly feel the hour hand’s advancing.
Above the clouds I follow thus their journeys.

A soft whiff of decay makes me then tremble.
The blackbird wails in the bare-facèd branches.
The crimson vine leaves sway on rusty treillage.

Meanwhile like death-dances of pallid children
around dark brims of fountains decomposing,
in autumn’s wind blue asters bend and shiver.

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2018 by Bertram Kottmann, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.

    Bertram Kottmann.  Contact: BKottmann (AT) t-online.de

    If you wish to commission a new translation, please contact:

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2018-11-28
Line count: 14
Word count: 105

Translation © by Bertram Kottmann
2. Die Ratten [sung text checked 1 time]
In Hof scheint weiß der herbstliche Mond.
Vom Dachrand fallen phantastische Schatten.
Ein Schweigen in leeren Fenstern wohnt;
Da tauchen leise herauf die Ratten
 
Und huschen pfeifend hier und dort
Und ein gräulicher Dunsthauch wittert
Ihnen nach aus dem Abort,
Den geisterhaft der Mondschein durchzittert
 
Und sie keifen vor Gier wie toll
Und erfüllen Haus und Scheunen,
Die von Korn und Früchten voll.
Eisige Winde im Dunkel greinen. 

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

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

  • ENG English (Bertram Kottmann) , "The rats", copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Les rats", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "I topi", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
by Georg Trakl (1887 - 1914)
2. The rats
The autumn moon shines milk-white in the yard.
Chimeric shadows fall from eaves and crests.
A silence dwells in empty windows;
then furtively the rats appear

and scurry whistling here and there
and a grayish vapour scents them
following them from the latrine,
on which the moonlight quivers eerily

and they shriek as if mad from greed
and crowd barns and houses,
full of grain and fruit.
Icy winds whine in the darkness.

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2018 by Bertram Kottmann, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.

    Bertram Kottmann.  Contact: BKottmann (AT) t-online.de

    If you wish to commission a new translation, please contact:

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2018-11-28
Line count: 12
Word count: 73

Translation © by Bertram Kottmann
3. Die Schwermut [sung text checked 1 time]
Gewaltig bist du dunkler Mund 
Im Innern, aus Herbstgewölk 
Geformte Gestalt, 
Goldner Abendstille; 
Ein grünlich dämmernder Bergstrom 
In zerbrochner Föhren 
Schattenbezirk; 
Ein Dorf, 
Das fromm in braunen Bildern abstirbt. 

Da springen die schwarzen Pferde 
Auf nebliger Weide. 
Ihr Soldaten! 
Vom Hügel, wo sterbend die Sonne rollt 
Stürzt das lachende Blut
Unter Eichen 
Sprachlos! O grollende Schwermut 
Des Heers; ein strahlender Helm 
Sank klirrend von purpurner Stirne. 

Herbstesnacht so kühle kommt 
Erglänzt mit Sternen 
Über zerbrochenem Männergebein 
Die stille Mönchin.

Authorship

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

  • ENG English (Bertram Kottmann) , "Melancholia", copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "La mélancolie", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Malinconia", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
by Georg Trakl (1887 - 1914)
3. Melancholia
You are tremendous, you dark mouth
inside, a figure formed
from autumn clouds
and golden quiet of the evening;
a greenish dusking alpine stream
in the shadowed space
of broken pines;
a village
dying piously in yellowed pictures.

Black horses leap
on misty pastures.
You soldiers!
Downhill, where the sun rolls dying,
the laughing blood descends 
speechless
under oak trees! O grumbling gloom
of the army; a flashing helmet
fell rattling from a purple forehead.

Autumn night comes down so coolly,
gleaming with stars;
over broken bones of men
the silent monkess.

Authorship

  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2018 by Bertram Kottmann, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.

    Bertram Kottmann.  Contact: BKottmann (AT) t-online.de

    If you wish to commission a new translation, please contact:

Based on

Translator's note: "Mönchin" is such a rare word in German that the similarly rare word "monkess" is used here instead of the more common "nun".



This text was added to the website: 2018-11-28
Line count: 22
Word count: 92

Translation © by Bertram Kottmann