Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Aesthete

When I sit, I sitting, tend
to sit a seat with sense so fine
that I can feel my sit-soul blend
insensibly with seat's design.

Seeking no support the while
it assesses stools for style
leaving what the structure means
for blind behinds of Philistines.

--Christian Morgenstern from Die Galgenlieder, Translated by Jerry Lettvin

Note Jerry's use of alliteration which lets him fill the poem with asses just as he fills the chair with his own. Even the title is a lisping pun. 

This is an excellent example of his ability to retain Morgenstern's humor. I have read several other translations none of which have the same sense of wicked play. I wish that he had done more than the few that were published in The Fat Abbot.

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