Non Sense

I mentioned some time ago in one of these blogs that I still had some of the writings and scribblings from my early days. I started to recently read a journal I had kept while I was living in Grevenbroich, a small town in North Rhine Westphalia, Germany, in the mid seventies. I must have been pretty bored as this was an attempt on my part, sometime in April 1976, to write a nonsense “epic” – although it never got beyond these 17 lines.

I used a stanza from Part VI of Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner, as follows:

Like one, that on a lonesome road

Doth walk in fear and dread,

And having once turned round, walks on,

And turns no more his head;

Because he knows, a frightful fiend

Doth close behind him tread.

and substiituted words from a German dictionary picked out at random, provided they (more or less) fitted the stresses in the original verse.

Here goes the first stanza .

Bresche dach bis on schnuller schnock

rast quitt in torte and miltz,

for chroming duft heissed laub

nieds on, siet wieges solist dem stiltz

Regung pegels a mitlied mond

Drohne gang, bebot kuhl dritz.


The second stanza of eleven lines was also based on the metre of another poem – kudos to anyone who can identify the original upon which my “version” was based.

In Zyankaliden, tuch mitlied mond

a laufly kneten hell, dross ell

ran dalf, the ranzen skonto, drond

duft abrufs denkbar less to phfond,

eld to a fachless kell.

So Bresche fuss wehrs of emsig gruft

mit hilfs and judes, kern starkéd frag;

und, ulk ver wartens, schirm with bellious recks

goss haffered moty an orden, pecing lenk,

und bund dur egrebs, garbren as the secs

kostliching hafy alts of tivery.

And here’s the “translation”

Bresche goes out on a lonesome night

 great sword in hand and shield,

for searching through darkened lands

remains in his thoughts, as long as dealt

cards let a frightful fiend

serve death, because all yield.

In Zyankaliden, did the fearful fiend

a lonely castle hold, where all

that pass, the wretched fief men groan

through hard toil, more or less, to them

came a joyless fall.

So Bresche comes out of his bright land

with arms and nerves, dresséd proper;

and, prepared by his strength, with courageous skills

for he hoped many an honour, winning fame

and many fine prizes, just like the heroes

following many deeds of bravery.

I think the reason I never continued with the “epic” was that, despite having just finished a BA in Old & Middle English, Language and Literature, I couldn’t, for the life of me, remember any other poetry upon which to base my nonsense.

So much for my attempt to join the ranks of the nonsense poets of Edward Lear, Mervin Peake and Lewis Carroll!



Author: serkeen

I am Irish, currently living in West Australia. I have a degree in Old & Middle English, Lang & Lit and, despite having worked in Kuwait, Italy, Malaysia, USA, Brunei, Australia and Hong Kong over the last 40 years, I have a strong interest in Ireland’s ancient pre-history and the heroes of its Celtic past as recorded in the 12th and late 14th century collection of manuscripts, collectively known as The Ulster Cycle. I enjoy writing historical novels, firmly grounded in a well-researched background, providing a fresh and exciting look into times long gone. I have an empathy with the historical period and I draw upon my experiences of that area and the original documents. I hope, by providing enough historical “realia” to hook you into a hitherto unknown – or barely glimpsed - historical period.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: