Archive for June, 2011


Sore point

Sore point (orig. Eugen Roth, Empfindlicher Punkt)

A man will hardly flinch at all
As cliffs around him crash and fall.
But what a tiny stone can do
To plague him – when it’s in his shoe.

Ein Mensch, umdäut von Felsentrümmern,
Lässt sich davon nicht sehr bekümmern.
Doch bringt sofort ihn aus der Ruh
Ein winziger Stein – in seinem Schuh.


Foreign Worlds

Foreign Worlds (orig. Eugen Roth, Fremde Welt)

A man, a fish from deeper waters,
Felt comfortable in darker quarters.
But in him, soon a wish took hold
For regions not so dank and cold,
And boldly, bravely he ascended
To circles not for him intended,
Where he saw fish cavorting free,
All far more beautiful than he,
With somersaults and caprioles,
And lightning-quickness in the shoals.
The man, however, from the deep,
Not built to somersault or leap,
And with his gawking, gaping face,
Felt hideously out of place,
And, sensing he’d disturbed the throng,
Swam back to where he did belong.
Thus we, with paradises too,
Can take an in-deep-endent view.



Impulsiveness (orig. Eugen Roth, Voreilig)

A man possessed by rage today
Will spit the dummy straight away.
Tomorrow, though, his rage will pass,
And where’s his dummy? In the grass.
A wiser man, to curb his ire,
Will hold on to his pacifier.


Fellow men

Fellow Men (orig. Eugen Roth, Mitmenschen)

A man sits on the tram one night,
Surveys the people left and right,
And very soon decides that he
Will pass on immortality.


Progress (orig. Eugen Roth, “Fortschritte”)

A man desires, with will unshakeable,
That joy and glass were both unbreakable.
For science, this is easy fare —
With glass, at least, they’re almost there.


Deliveries (orig. Eugen Roth, “Besorgungen”)

A man goes out one morning, late,
Suspecting not the hand of Fate,
And hurries into town, where he’s
To make the day’s deliveries.
But Fate soon fires her first attack:
A sign proclaiming, “Be Right Back”.
“Right back” is rather vague at best,
And so the man resumes his quest
And meets, at number two, the porter:
“Oh, she just left, you almost caught her…”
At number three a friend relays:
“They won’t be back for seven days!”
At number four, the CEO
Turns out to be in Tokyo;
An overcrowded waiting room
At number five spreads doom and gloom,
And at the sixth, what does he find?
He’s left the paperwork behind.
Then number seven joins the queue:
“We’re closed for lunch from twelve ’til two!”
The man, enraged and fit to burst,
Goes back again to try the first
And nearly has a heart attack.
For there, it still says “Be Right Back”.