Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Kleiner Mann, Was Nun?

Die Dreiziger Jahre

Ja aber, kleiner Mann, was nun?
Wenn's morgen anders ist, was tun?
Bedenke, dass die Welt sich dreht
Seit sie besteht!
Ja, kleiner Mann, was nun?
Wenn dich das Glück vergisst, was tun?
Oft wie ein Traume schnell vergeht
Im Winde verweht

Yes; but Little Man, what now?
When it's tomorrow, what do you do?
Remember that the world has been turning
since it was born
Yes, Little Man, what now?
When luck's forgotten you, what next?
It's often how a dream quickly passes
Of course, on the wind

Und musst du heut' vielleicht auch beiseite steh'n
Kann es doch morgen schon wieder aufwärts geh'n
Nur Kopf hoch! Kleiner Mann, was nun?
Wenn's morgen anders ist, was tun?
Vielleicht wird's auch, sei dir selber treu
Dann geht das Glück nicht vorbei!

And today perhaps you'll have to stand aside
Tomorrow you can continue on your way
Just keep your head up! Little Man, what now?
When it's tomorrow, what do you do?
Perhaps [tomorrow] will be true to you,
and luck won't pass you by!

-- "Little Man, What Now?" (1932)
    Music: Harald Böhmelt; Lyrics: Richard Busch

(MEHR, MIT EIN TIEFES U. BLEIBENDES GEFUL DER ANGST: Whoa Whoa Whoa with the emails about the quality of this translation, already. It's why I have a deep respect for everyone who ever translated a novel or poem from one language to another. My ability with German is a few degrees past utilitarian; I like to imagine I have an apprehension of the Geist in Der Sprache -- and can approximate it in a way that's true to the author[s]. But, you know.)


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Please feel free to thrill all humankind with the brilliance and importance of You. And forgo all civility (especially the passive-aggressive sort, aggression masquerading as mildness) . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

But, consider: Dogs have short attention spans, don't tolerate bullies, and we're notoriously thin-skinned -- so make sense, be brief, and play nice, or I'll bite you and pee on your leg. Bark Bark Bark Bark Bark Bark.