Alle Tage / Every Day

April 2, 2008 at 3:20 am 4 comments

Ingeborg Bachmann

Listen (to Bachmann read)

Der Krieg wird nicht mehr erklärt,
sondern fortgesetzt. Das Unerhörte
ist alltäglich geworden. Der Held
bleibt den Kämpfen fern. Der Schwache
ist in die Feuerzonen gerückt.
Die Uniform des Tages ist die Geduld,
die Auszeichnung der armselige Stern
der Hoffnung über dem Herzen.

Er wird verliehen,
wenn nichts mehr geschieht,
wenn das Trommelfeuer verstummt,
wenn der Feind unsichtbar geworden ist
und der Schatten ewiger Rüstung
den Himmel bedeckt.

Er wird verliehen
für die Flucht von den Fahnen,
für die Tapferkeit vor dem Freund,
für den Verrat unwürdiger Geheimnisse
und die Nichtachtung
jeglichen Befehls.

Translation (by Peter Filkins):

War is no longer declared,
but rather continued. The outrageous
has become the everyday. The hero
is absent from the battle. The weak
are moved into the firing zone.
The uniform of the day is patience,
the order of merit is the wretched star
of hope over the heart.

It is awarded
when nothing more happens,
when the bombardment is silenced,
when the enemy has become invisible
and the shadow of eternal armament
covers the sky.

It is awarded
for deserting the flag,
for bravery before a friend,
for the betrayal of shameful secrets,
and the disregard
of every command.

I’ve been reading a lot of Bachmann recently, having just got my hands on a 2006 edition of her Collected Poems translated by Peter Filkins and entitled Darkness Spoken.

What I love about this poem is the first stanza, which seems to me to encapsulate the essence of modern warfare, the way the horrors of violence are converted into just another television feature, how routine steadily numbs us to the brutality of the truth.


P.S. Today’s recording comes to your courtesy of lyrikline, where you can also fine a whole bunch of other Bachmann recordings.

Entry filed under: 'New' Poetry, Anita Barrows, Falstaff, German, Ingeborg Bachmann, Jalaluddin Rumi, Peter Filkins, Philip Vellacott, War Poetry.

Mandalay The Iliad (Excerpts)

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. david eberhardt  |  October 5, 2008 at 9:52 am

    Dave Eberhardt (poured blood on draft files with him in 1967- the “Baltimore 4” action)

    (poets remember- all poetry is political-even a poem like one of Rilke’s about absence is political- in its depth of communication it teaches us about ourselves- why would we want to practice violence when we can dissolve into absence

    now- Heinrich von Kleist? that’s another matter- H V K the only successful right wing poet ever, wagner, maybe (i don’t like hitler’s paintings)

    “Hi from the Unknown Soldier. I threw away my rifle and went swimming.

    You may have seen me slipping away from the column. Shsssssh.

    If in a desert “theatre” I leave to go look at the night sky with all its stars- Aldeberan (sp?), Rigel, Spica, Eta Carinae.

    I am a statue to the Noble Deserter in the park.”

    Want to join us? Then practice non-violence, join the plowshares movement resist war, and don’t forget to move to the left.

    am links meine bruder und schwester

    Forgive them mother for they know not what they do.

    Heroes to follow? Tom Lewis, war resisters, Dan and Phil Berrigan,”Plowshares” activists, M. Gandhi, ML King, AJ Muste, Dorothy Day, Quakers, Norman Morrison, Rachel Corrie,

    Authors to read H Thoreau, Dalai Lama, Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, Wilfred Owen, Gary Snyder etc.

    feel free to read at any funeral/memorial- my best to all his friends and loved ones

  • 2. Bratz  |  February 24, 2010 at 10:24 am

    This is my favorite poems, it is nice to find like-minded people.

  • 3. david eberhardt  |  January 31, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    i say, bless the baader meinhof and all comrades of the left- aber- bless more- the non violent witness- the weisse rose- white rose-
    we must create the condictions in which non violent tactics can succeed- and- it will not b easy
    the forces of capitalism are arrayed
    let us begin to toss leaflets into the square

  • 4. montage nr. 176 « Werkmaschine  |  July 5, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    […] worte sind ingeborg bachmann holz und späne und alle tage und herbstmanöver Bewerten:Teilen Sie dies mit:TwitterDiggRedditStumbleUponFacebookGefällt […]


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