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  #1  
Unread 04-30-2021, 05:23 PM
Allen Tice's Avatar
Allen Tice Allen Tice is online now
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xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xx
xxxxxxxxThe Olfactory Organ

Palmström builds himself an olfactory organ
and plays von Korf's Sneezewort Sonata on it.

This begins with triplets of alpine herbs
and enchants with an acacia air.

But in the scherzo, suddenly and without warning,
in the middle of the tuberoses and eucalypti

occur the three famous passages of sneezewort
which give the sonata its name.

Each time at these hot sauce syncopations
Palmström nearly falls off his seat, while

Korf, at home, seated solidly at his workdesk,
hurls Opus after Opus onto paper . . . .


— Christian Morgenstern

xxxxxxxxDie Geruchsorgel

Palmström baut sich eine Geruchs-Orgel
und spielt drauf von Korfs Nießwurz-Sonate.

Diese beginnt mit Alpenkräuter-Triolen
und erfreut durch eine Akazien-Arie.

Doch im Scherzo, plötzlich und unerwartet,
zwischen Tuberosen und Eucalyptus,

folgen die drei berühmten Nießwurz-Stellen,
welche der Sonate den Namen geben.

Palmström fällt bei diesen Ha-Cis-Synkopen
jedesmal beinahe vom Sessel, während

Korf daheim, am sichern Schreibtisch sitzend,
Opus hinter Opus aufs Papier wirft . . . .


xxxxxxDie Geruchsorgel 'crib'

Palmstrom builds an olfactory organ
And on it plays Korf's sneezewort sonata.

This begins with alpine herb triplets.
And enchants with an acacia aria.

But in the scherzo, suddenly and unexpected,
Between the tuberoses and the eucalyptus,

Come those three famous sneezewort passages
Which give the sonata its name.

At these B-C-sharp-a-choo syncopations, Palmstrom
Nearly falls off his chair every time, while

Sitting safely at his desk at home.
Korf throws opus after opus onto paper.

Changes: last line is “onto paper”, was “onto the paper”

Last edited by Allen Tice; 05-02-2021 at 08:10 PM.
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Unread 05-01-2021, 08:20 PM
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I did my version long before I found the 'crib', which was a bit hard to locate on the Internet, and I've made no recent changes to my translation since I located the 'crib'.

Morgenstern's language is almost always very direct and simple, and this practically translates itself. Where I differ from the crib is not quite in literalness, but in my feeling for a good way of bringing it into English.

I differ from the crib slightly for hard-to-define reasons of rhythm and word-weight in English, that I ask others to to bang away at. I won't mind. I'm seriously interested in comments.

Last edited by Allen Tice; 05-01-2021 at 08:35 PM. Reason: differ
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Unread 05-02-2021, 08:39 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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.
"I'm seriously interested in comments."



—But are you seriously interested in stabs in the dark?

Here I am again on the translation board (for awhile I was always chiming in to Susan's Rilke translations to say how much I loved them) even though I have very little ability to speak any language except in fits and starts...

I love this. I don't know if you've co-opted the psyche of Christian Morgenstern or you have replaced it with your own (although from the literal translation you provide the two of you are peas in a pod).

In this line — Each time at these hot sauce syncopations — you may be better off saying Each time he hears these hot sauce syncopations so that it juxtaposes more cleanly with the final couplet. Maybe.

I think you could remove "the" from the last line and not lose anything.

But what do I know about the German language? Language? Anything? Ha!

.

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 05-02-2021 at 08:43 AM.
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Unread 05-02-2021, 10:44 AM
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Thank you. That final “the” is expendable if I want to spend it. I thought it made the image more visual. Thanks. I’m annoyed that the crib that I found just last week is so close to my version. Pleased also. Annoyed. Pleased. Isn’t that like a tempestuous romantic relationship—the kind I can barely stand. (Too many kilowatts for mellow-needing me.)
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Unread 05-02-2021, 08:11 PM
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Trial deletion of “the” from last line. Is it really better?
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Unread 05-03-2021, 01:53 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Allen, I like the poem. Maybe you could try to make each line loosely five beats? Here are a few suggestions:

S2L2: and then enchants with an acacia air.

S3: But in the scherzo, suddenly, with no warning,
between the tuberoses and eucalypti

S4: occur the three famed passages of sneezewort
from which the sonata has received its name.

S5L2: Palmström nearly falls off his seat, and meanwhile

Susan
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  #7  
Unread 05-03-2021, 03:29 PM
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Thank you! I can’t give your suggestions my fullest attention right now, but I certainly shall as early as easily convenient. Your ear 👂 is uncommonly good.
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