Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.


Thursday, 19 April 2012

Bertolt Brecht: Alles wandelt sich / Everything Changes


.

File:Wassertropfen.jpg

A water drop: photo by Sven Hoppe, 2005



Everything changes. You can make a new start
With your last breath.
But what has happened, has happened. And the water
You have poured into the wine, you can
Not pour back out.

What has happened, has happened. The water
You have poured into the wine, you can
Not pour back out, but
Everything changes. You can make a new start
With your last breath.




File:2006-01-14 Surface waves.jpg

Surface waves of water (expansion of a disturbance): photo by Roger McLassus, 2006



Alles wandelt sich. Neu beginnen
Kannst du mit dem letzten Atemzug.
Aber was geschehen, ist geschehen. Und das Wasser
Das du in den Wein gossest, kannst du
Nicht mehr herausschütten.
Was geschehen, ist geschehen. Das Wasser
Das du in den Wein gossest, kannst du
Nicht mehr herausschütten, aber
Alles wandelt sich. Neu beginnen
Kannst du mit dem letzten Atemzug.



File:2006-01-28 Drop-impact.jpg

Impact of a drop of water on a water-surface: photo by Roger McLassus, 2006


Bertolt Brecht: Alles wandelt sich / Everything Changes, c. 1954: English version by TC

14 comments:

Hazen said...

A beautiful and moving translation . . . and good medicine for you, Tom, I imagine, given recent events; yet for myself also. (I’ve watched a few “crooked number” birthdays gallop past my door). Every breath is a starting over. We just breathe.

Nin Andrews said...

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

TC said...

Many thanks, dear friends.

Yesterday was another of those medical days here. Every time I get trapped inside the technological prison citadels of that mega industry, I can think only of escape, starting over, dragging my bent crooked-number frame back out into the air of relative freedom, and never looking back. If only.

ACravan said...

This is terrific, the German and English words and the amazing images, and very appropriate for our feelings about life in general and the day in particular. I remember learning to read German to meet a graduate school qualification and being astonished by its beauty. I had heard it spoken before and had always liked the sounds, but I really learned then how much I loved them. At the same time I learned how strongly I disagreed (and in some cases violently disliked) people who failed to recognize this and would say disparaging things about German as a language, generally for superficial political reasons and because they thought saying so made them sound intelligent and worthy. Curtis

TC said...

Curtis,

With Brecht it's the directness and simplicity (a deceptive simplicity of course, but still, isn't that the best kind) that not only makes the work so great, but also invites the wobbly hand of the amateur translator.

aditya said...

Simple, beautiful.

but what has happened
has happened ..
but ..


if only

We all wish you good Tom.
And its always so calming to come back knowing you are here ..

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

Simply stupefying all the way.

Annie said...

You and Bertolt, both unblinking and generous.

TC said...

Many thanks friends, your kindness confirms the theory it's definitely new start time.

Also, apologies to those whose comments have been eaten up in one of our Blogger host's greedy entropic fits, yesterday and today.

During the latest Blogger hiccup this sweet note came in one minute and then vanished poof! in the next. But was so sweet and I was so delighted to see it that I have now fished it out of the cyber-grates. Many thanks, dear Phoebe!

Phoebe said...

Beautiful, Tom.

I am so glad you are recovering. I found out about the accident from Lally's blog - since I retired in June from teaching, I read it regularly, and now yours, too. Wonderful.

Life is good here in Pasadena. Lewis is well, kids and grandkids thriving in NYC.

Please give my best my love to Angelica.

Phoebe

____

And she sends hers to you.

Phoebe said...

I think I disappeared it by mistake. Many thanks for the cyber retrieval. All healing thoughts in your direction!!

Susan Kay Anderson said...

Ach Du Lieber Zeit.

TC said...

Phoebe,

About the cyber retrieval...

Not long ago I saw a fellow who looked and even dressed like a young Dizzy Gillespie rooting around in a sewer drain downtown, with the grating removed and most of his body immersed; out of curiosity I paused to observe, and was rewarded, moments later, by hearing him exclaim, "I found it!" When he climbed out, grinning broadly, he flashed a huge glittering ring, and said jubilantly, "That's four years of my life right there!" It was his Marine Corps ring. From that I learned that fishing beneath grates can be a positive thing. Many thanks again.


Susan,

Sie haben es gesagt!

Sandra said...

beautiful pics!!

TC said...

Thanks Sandra, I'm always grateful for your fine eye.