by Hans Bötticher (1883 - 1934), as Joachim Ringelnatz
Translation © by Sharon Krebs

Ein ganzes Leben
Language: German (Deutsch) 
Available translation(s): ENG
"Weißt du noch", so frug die Eintagsfliege 
Abends, "wie ich auf der Stiege
Damals dir den Käsekrümel stahl? "
Mit der Abgeklärtheit eines Greises 
sprach der Fliegenmann: "Gewiß, ich weiß es! " 
Und er lächelte: "Es war einmal -"
"Weißt du noch", so fragte weiter sie, 
"Wie ich damals unterm sechsten Knie 
Jene schwere Blutvergiftung hatte? "
"Leider", sagte halbverträumt der Gatte.
"Weißt du noch, wie ich, weil ich dir grollte, 
Fliegenleim-Selbstmord verüben wollte?? 
-Und wie ich das erste Ei gebar?? 
Weißt du noch, wie es halb sechs Uhr war?? 
-Und wie ich in Milch gefallen bin?? "
Fliegenmann gab keine Antwort mehr, 
Summte leise, müde vor sich hin: 
"Lang, lang ist's her - lang -"


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

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

  • ENG English (Sharon Krebs) , "An entire life", copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Ferdinando Albeggiani

This text was added to the website: 2009-12-07
Line count: 18
Word count: 116

An entire life
Language: English  after the German (Deutsch) 
"Do you remember," thus in the evening
Asked the mayfly, "how, upon the stairs
Back then, I stole that crumb of cheese from you?"
With the detachment of an aged one
Her fly-husband spoke: "Indeed, I remember!"
And he smiled: "That was a long time ago -"
"Do you still remember," she continued,
"That time when I had that terrible blood-poisoning
Under my sixth knee?"
"Unfortunately", said her spouse, half in a dream.
"Do you remember how, because I was angry with you,
I wanted to commit suicide upon the flypaper??
-And how I gave birth to our first egg??
Do you remember when it was half past five??
-And how I fell into the milk??"
Fly-husband did not answer anymore,
He hummed quietly, wearily to himself:
"Long, long ago - long -"


  • Translation from German (Deutsch) to English copyright © 2017 by Sharon Krebs, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2017-09-09
Line count: 18
Word count: 133