Tuesday, October 5, 2010

From Wikipedia:

Der von Kürenberg or Der Kürenberger (Kuerenberg, Kuerenberger, fl. mid-12th century) was an Austrian poet, and one of the first named poets to write in German.
He was an Austrian nobleman possibly from the area around Linz. Some of the 14 stanzas that appear in Minnesangsfrühling group themselves into poems. His poems were most likely written before the concept of ideal courtly love was formulated. As their subject they have a more direct and less stylized relationship. Some are in dialogue form (Wechsel). The best known poem is the "falcon song". It is possible that both stanzas were spoken by a woman (it could also be argued that they were written by a woman). His poetry, as well as that of Dietmar von Eist (Aist), suggest that there may have existed a poetic form indigenous to the Upper Germany/Austria before the impact of the Provençal influence.

His poems contrast sharply with those of the later convention. So much so that some have been tempted to suggest that he disapproved of them. (But as Walsche says: This would be presuming too much). His poems are composed almost exclusively in an old Danubic form which is called the Nibelungenstrophe (the Germanic long-line). Most of his poems tell little stories. In one of the poems a woman stands and listens to the song of one knight among all the others. The knight sings "in Kürenberges wise". She states that "either he must leave the country, or she will enjoy his love." The poet's response is to call for his horse and armour and flee. This lady is unique in the poetry of the time in that she wishes to compel the knight's love and seeks to fulfill the promised eroticism of the knight's song. Strangely, one is left with the feeling that the knight was shocked to have been taken seriously. Der von Kürenberg paints bold images with few words and creates men and women who are bold and confident. The impression he leaves seems more true to what one might expect the men and women of a warrior-aristocracy to be like than that portrayed in the following generation's poetry.


Like Ava, the first named female poet writing in German, der Kürenberger lived and worked in the area along the Danube river between Bavaria and Lower Austria. Conventionally he is associated with Linz. He was of knightly family and one of the early travelling singers (Minnesinger) common in this area.
[edit] Work
His poems were written in Middle High German between 1150 and 1170. Fourteen or fifteen of his verses have been preserved in the Codex Manesse, some of which may belong together as poems; the Falcon Song ("Falkenlied") below is the best known. Sometimes he is cited as the author of the Nibelungenlied, on the basis of the similarity of verse form, although on grounds of chronology this is extremely unlikely.

Original text:

Ich zôch mir einen valken mêre danne ein jâr.
dô ich in gezamete als ich in wolte hân
und ich im sîn gevidere mit golde wol bewant,
er huop sich ûf vil hôhe und floug in anderiu lant.

Sît sach ich den valken schône fliegen:
er fuorte an sînem fuoze sîdîne riemen,
und was im sîn gevidere alrôt guldîn.
got sende si zesamene die gerne geliep wellen sin!

I brought up a falcon for more than a year.
When I had him tamed as I wanted
And when I had adorned his feathers with gold,
He hopped up into the sky and flew to another land.

Since then I have seen the falcon flying:
He wore silken jesses on his feet,
And his feathers were all red-gold.
God bring together those who want to love each other!


--------------------------------------------

I thought I'd try my hand at this, so here goes:


A falcon I raised for more than a year
and when he was tamed as I wanted, and reared
and his feathers gilded like golden bands
he flew through the skies to other lands

since then other falcons I’ve seen in the skies
the silken jess straps on his feet as he flies

2nd try

A falcon I raised for more than a year
and when he was tamed as I wished, and reared
and his feathers were gilded like golden bands
he flew through the skies to other lands

since then other falcons I’ve seen in the skies
the silken jess straps on his feet as he flies
all golden and scarlet bedeck the feathers
May God bring true lovers together


3rd

A falcon I raised a for more than a year
and when he was tamed as I wished, and reared
and his feathers were gilded like golden bands
he flew through the skies to other lands

since then other falcons I’ve seen in the sky
the silken jess straps on their feet as they fly
all golden and scarlet bedecking their feathers
And I pray that God bring true lovers together

4th
A falcon I raised a for more than a year
and when he was tamed as I wished her, and reared
and her feathers all gilded like golden bands
she flew through the skies to other lands

since then other falcons I’ve seen in the sky
the silken jess straps on their feet as they fly
all golden and scarlet agleam on the feather
May God allow lovers to come together

5th

A falcon I raised for over a year
and when she was tamed as I wished her, and reared,
her feathers all gilded like golden bands
she hopped up and went sailing to other lands

since then other falcons I’ve seen in the sky
the jess straps of silk on their feet as they fly
all golden and scarlet agleam and afeather
May God grant that true lovers come together

6th


I raised a falcon for more than a year
and when she was tame as I wished, and reared,
her feathers all gilded with golden strands,
she hopped up and flew off to other lands

since then other falcons I’ve seen in the sky
their jess straps of silk on their feet as they fly
all golden and scarlet and gleaming afeather
May God grant that true lovers come together


...a work in progress...the last two lines especially...maybe 'afeather' is of my coinage, although I think it's like "awing", and maybe "come together" expands on the original, but such is translation. See Richard Wilbur's wonderful translation of Jorge Luis Borges' "Everness", where "forgetfulness" (olvido) becomes "oblivion"...it's a very wonderful translation.

Monday, June 14, 2010

There Will Come Soft Rain, by Sarah Teasdale

I post this because it's evocative of Alfonsina Storni's Litanies for the Dead Earth, and because it's evocative in itself...thanks to Simran Khurana's poetry blog, where I read it some days ago:


There Will Come Soft Rain

There will come soft rain and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum-trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone

- Sarah Teasdale

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A thought from Erich Fromm

If it is true that the ability to be puzzled is the beginning of wisdom, then this truth is a sad commentary on the wisdom of modern man. Whatever the merits of our high degree of literary and universal education, we have lost the gift for being puzzled. Everything is supposed to be known – if not to ourselves then to some specialist whose business it is to know what we do not know. In fact, to be puzzled is embarrassing, a sign of intellectual inferiority…to have the right answers seems all-important; to ask the right questions is considered insignificant by comparison.

Fromm, Erich: The Forgotten Language: an Introduction to the Understanding of Dreams, Fairy Tales and Myths, GROVE PRESS, INC., NEW YORK, N.Y.

Sonnets

Garcilaso de la Vega (1501-1536)

Escrito está en me alma vuestro gesto...translation:

Written upon my soul your gesture is
and everything I write desire of thee
who wrote it all along, I only read,
yet still I keep myself from you in this.

Thus I am and I will always be;
for though I see I can't contain your good,
as you exceed my fit, I still believe,
and take my faith in you as understood.

I'd not be born except for love of you,
My soul has cut your measure to its size
and made of you a habit for the soul.

I owe you all I have, and can't deny:
From you my birth, for you I live my life,
For you it is I'll die; for you I die.