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!