Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Gottfried Benn Poem and a couple of transpations

oh dass wir unsere Ur-urahnen wären
Ein Klümpchen Schleim in einem warmen Moor.
Leben und Tod, Befruchten and Gebären
Glitte aus unseren stummen Säften vor.

Ein algenblatt oder ein Dünenhügel,
vom wind geformtes und nach unten schwer.
Schon ein Libellenkopf, ein Möwenflügel
Wäre zu weit und litte schon zu sehr

==google trans.

oh that we had our primal ancestors
A clot of phlegm in a warm mud.
Life and death, fertilizing and giving birth
Slipped from our silent juices before.

An algae-leaf or a sand-hill,
shaped by the wind and down hard.
Already a dragonfly's head, a gull wing
Would be too far and suffer too much

==my more meta trans.

oh that we had our primal ancestors, the elegantly
sleeping Minnezoons like snot in the warm and
tender sphinxemud, life and death, birth and fertilizing
had come before us as a slippage in the silent juices.

an algae leaf or sand hill
is pushed down too hard to the bottom,
already a dragonfly's head, a gullwing
would be too far along, and suffer too much

Benn, here like a version of a Buddhist saint in a religion of knowledge.
What he seems to be saying is "Our level of physical complexity is too much."
Already, at the level of dragonfly, or bird, the suffering is too great.

If we look at poets who have anything to say of value, and who have seen anything.
We should look to Benn. His humor is dark, as dark as the vacuum of space.
And as far as I know, he is the earliest poet to say we evolved from protozoans.
Benn will always be for me in the hall of the amoebic jellybean immortals.