Tag Archives: War Poetry

Hanging on the Old Barbed Wire!

19 May

In which Ms Heather brings us another poem from the trenches, this time from the perspective of the German side which makes no difference if you are 17 and being shot at by another 17 year old from another country who’s been told by some bloke with a walrus moustache what is expected of him but would rather not be shooting at anyone, the translation comes across as clunky. Unlike Kraftwerk who would always chnge the words on english versions so there was a sense of ryhme. Not that Kraftwerk did war poems!

A First World War poem by a German poet Albert Lichenstein:
(Für Peter Scher)

Vorm Sterben mache ich noch mein Gedicht.
Still, Kameraden, stört mich nicht.
Wir ziehn zum Krieg. Der Tod ist unser Kitt.
O, heulte mir doch die Geliebte nit.
Was liegt an mir. Ich gehe gerne ein.
Die Mutter weint. Man muß aus Eisen sein.
Die Sonne fällt zum Horizont hinab.
Bald wirft man mich ins milde Massengrab.
Am Himmel brennt das brave Abendrot.
Vielleicht bin ich in dreizehn Tagen tot.

Leaving for the Front
(To Peter Scher)

Before dying I must just make my poem.
Quiet, comrades, don’t disturb me.
We are going off to war. Death is our bond.
Oh, if only my girl-friend would stop howling.
What do I matter? I’m happy to go.
My mother’s crying. You need to be made of iron.
The sun is falling down on to the horizon.
Soon they’ll be throwing me into a nice mass grave.
In the sky the good old sunset is glowing red.
In thirteen days maybe I’ll be dead.


And finally on this weeks edition of War Poetry Please here’s Chumbawamba with a song that was sung by the 17 year olds and the rest that had to be content with being cannon fodder. As a song it was a “tolerated” act of sedition based on the plain fact that the actual target of the song, mostly upper class generals safely tucked away some miles back couldn’t hear what was being said!



If you want to find the General....

If you want to find the General….