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.
Surely the German doesn’t use the idea of spitting the dummy?
No, in German it’s “Die Flinte ins Korn werfen”, or “throwing your shotgun into the corn”, which means “to throw in the towel”. But since guns and towels aren’t much alike (and it’s quite easy to get your towel back, if you want), I had to make some changes. So this translation is more of an imitation/paraphrase, or a “conceit”, if you like.
Well found indeed – presumably though ire/pacifier?
First I was searching for equivalent expressions for “throw in the towel”, and since anger was also mentioned in the poem, I thought of “spitting the dummy”. That’s when the ire/pacifier link presented itself. One other thing I like about this one is that by using both “dummy” and “pacifier”, I didn’t have to choose between British and American English, a choice that I usually do have to make.
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