Archive for 2013年1月

drache ade 别龍年

一月 28, 2013


drache ade

der mond ist ungeheuer oben.
der drache ist bald nicht mehr da.
am spielplatz sehen wir noch den mond.
es war ein schoener nachmittag
mit kleinem bob im belvedere.
der schnee ist jetzt schon laenger da.
die rampe bei den stufen rechts
wenn man hinaufgeht. leo fuhr
auf maias kleinem leichtem bob
vom schiurlaub in kaernten noch.
es war ein schoener ruhiger platz
und niemand stoerte sich an uns.
und eine mexikanerin.
der erste schnee, ganz frisch in wien
mit ihrem freund. der kann gut deutsch
er wohnt auch hier. sie fragten uns
und leo liess sie einmal fahren
und sogar beide je einmal.
der mond ist ungeheuer oben
ein bisschen hoeher als im herbst.
der letzte mond im drachenjahr
das fruehlingsfest ist heuer spaet
es kommt am zehnten februar
der mond ist ungeheuer oben
ein bisschen hoeher als im herbst.
das drachenjahr war ganz ok
mehr wasser als beim letzten mal
es rannte damals jiang zemin
mit fackel in die neue zeit
auf dem milleniumsmonument
jetzt gibt es schon den xi jinping
viel wichtiger: es gibt mo yan
man ahnte beides lang davor
beim letzten mal wars gao xingjian
das war im letzten drachenjahr
recht lang ists her. 12 jahre frueher
da war ich in taiwan
die 80er jahre
das letzte jahr vor 89
hat da shen congwen noch gelebt?
der haett es auch noch fast gekriegt
in stockholm, aus des koenigs hand
fuer literatur aus den vierziger jahren
und dreissiger jahren. vor 49.
jetzt gibts in deutschland liao yiwu
aus taiwan kamen lai hsiangyin
und chen kohua unlaengst nach wien
in taiwan ist viel hoffnung da
in china ist die luft recht dick
der mond ist ungeheuer oben
ein bisschen hoeher als im herbst
das drachenjahr war ganz ok
mehr wasser als beim letzten mal
in peking wars sogar zuviel
im juli, mit ertrunkenen.
zum abschluss wurde es sehr kalt
am ende kam ein schlimmer smog.
war es ein gutes drachenjahr?
ich weiss es nicht. wir sind in wien
in wien gibts haeupl weiterhin
und bundesheer. an seinem platz
und wenigstens nicht fuer den krieg.
der mond ist ungeheuer oben
den fluechtlingen ist ziemlich kalt
vor 20 jahren: lichtermeer
ich war in china. doch davor
nach 89 bald danach
war ich in wien. da war der loeschnak an der macht.
der cap war auch schon funktionaer.
das boot war voll. das sagte wer.
es gab die plakate
gesetze statt hetze
als auslaenderhetze.
das als das das statt war
das wollte ich kleben
auf alle plakate. in einer nacht.
ein bisschen wie bei ai weiwei.
ich hatte nicht genuegend freunde.
dann kam der krieg. jugoslawienkriege.
und ich war in shanghai.
dann war ich zivildiener, lehrer
fuer fluechtlinge aus bosnien.
doch nur weil ich wollte.
der grissemann hat nichts getan.
vielleicht aber spaeter.
es gibt nichts gutes. man tut es.
von kaestner. wie war das?
dann ging ich nach wuhan.
und spaeter nach chongqing.
dazwischen war rumaenien.
wir lernten und lehrten.
wir kamen nach peking.
und jackie ging zum militaer.
militaer in der botschaft.
und alles ganz friedlich.
und ich uebersetzte
dann waren schon die kinder da.
der mond ist ungeheuer oben
ein bisschen hoeher als im herbst
der letzte mond im drachenjahr.
ich muss jetzt endlich schlafen gehen.

MW Sa., 26. Jaenner 2013


一月 22, 2013

Yi Sha
Yi Sha


when I was prepared
to enter spring
it snowed again

every snow
brings good feelings
makes me pray

dear god
for suicides tomorrow morning
let it snow once more
they need it

Tr. MW 2013/1







2008年开始翻译了几首,瑞士NZZ他们要很短的,所以最近给他们寄 《春雪》等等,从《尿床》一本台湾版选几首最短的。有《精神病患者》、《感恩的酒鬼》、《致敬》、《我想杀人》、《鸽子》等等。也许他们还会登出一两。 2008年偶尔读《雪天里的几种事物》,很喜欢,翻译了以后寄给报刊,他回答说很喜欢,不过一直未登出,太长。译文可以查看在这里

More poems by Yi Sha in German

Yi Sha became well-known in the 1990s for acerbic remarks on other poets. He has been widely criticized himself. Spring is a time of hope. The Chinese moon year begins with Spring Festival, the biggest holiday of the year. Typically for Yi Sha, this poem sounds rather mundane, laconic and depressing, dashing most expectations connected with poetry.  The line “For suicides tomorrow morning” is a little truncated in my German version that was printed in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (see image). “Für die Selbstmörder von morgen” makes a better rhythm than “Für die Selbstmörder von morgen früh”. In English I wasn’t tempted to leave out the morning. But you could say “dear god/for suicides in the morning/ let it snow once more.” In German there is something like a rhyme within the first two lines. When I was prepared/ To stride into spring/ it snowed again. Does it sound better this way in English too? You decide.
Why did I pick this particular poem? I didn’t pick it for publication. Andreas Breitenstein at NZZ (Neue Zürcher Zeitung) likes to print poems whenever he can wrangle a little space in any particular day’s edition. They have to be short. I had translated another poem by Yi Sha about snowfall in 2008. Mr. Breitenstein liked it, but it was too long. So I looked through Yi Sha’s collection Niao Chuang 尿床 (Wetting the bed), published in Taiwan in 2009. It’s a very nice edition. Huang Liang 黃梁, a critic in Taiwan, has brought out two ten-volume Series of Mainland Avantgarde Poetry 大陸先鋒詩叢, in 1999 and 2009. A great resource.  I just picked some of the shortest poems in there.

Abstimmung 票決

一月 20, 2013

Für Zivildienst. Und ein Bundesheer mit breiter Bevölkerungsbasis. Wenn überhaupt ein Heer. Aber zur Polizei hab ich kaum Vertrauen. Wir sind neutral. Nicht bei der NATO. Vertrau ich der Polizei? Warum soll ich einem Berufsheer vertrauen? Wir gehen jetzt zur Flüchtlingsdemo. 13:30 beim Volkstheater. Bis dann, alles Gute. Martin Both females  Bock.jpg large Beim Seiteneingang BarBusch

We had a vote about our military in Austria on the weekend. And a demonstration for refugees on hunger strike. Complete with a huge Sachertorte. For the protesters. In commemoration of the “Lichtermeer” against racism and xenophobia in Vienna 20 years ago. I didn’t know if I was going to vote, on Sunday morning. So I got Jackie to call our old friend, Gen. A., her employer in Beijing. The Social Democrats wanted to abolish the draft. But some prominent Social Democrats wanted to keep it, incl. the president. General A. is Social Democrat. But he said if the draft is abolished, they will only get certain segments of the population as recruits. You can do all sorts of other things instead of going to the army. Work in a hospital, teach German to refugees (what I did), even go to Qiqiha’er 齊齊哈爾 for a year. (Here is another report in German, translated from 齊齊哈爾日報)。 It’s not that bad if every healthy young man is required to do something for the community. That was my reasoning. When I did that alternative community service thing, we had to do some training at first for being able to help in case of floods, storms etc. That boat thing was fun. The guy in our group whose parents were in the far-right Freedom Party volunteered and was the first to try and row to an island in the icy Danube. Boat leaked. He didn’t get very far. They sent him to hospital. He was ok. Later on he had to teach German to refugees, helping me. He wasn’t bad, they liked him. He really tried, and I’m quite sure his attitude to refugees etc. changed.


一月 15, 2013


speech and rain

speech is swept by wind in winter
swept away by wind and gone

speech would hardly help in summer
hardly help against the sun

speeches held by storms in springtime
storms in springtime hold no speech

speech will come in fall in beijing
speech in beijing, always late

MW    June 2012, Vienna

See also

Every country or region has repressed issues. 有時候被壓抑的事偶爾出頭。奧地利前內政部長剛被判4年徒刑。 A 14-year old boy was shot dead for breaking into a supermarket in Austria in 2009. The policeman who ran after him and shot him in the back is still on duty. The facade of the Konzerthaus in Vienna says “Honor your German masters and ban good spirits”. Whom or what did they ban in the 1930s and 1940s? This poem is from Beijing. We lived in Beijing 1999-2008.


Photo by Andreas Landwehr, dpa

reden (und sonnenschein)

reden fegt der wind im winter
fegt der wind im winter weg

reden hilft bei starker sonne
hilft bei starker sonne kaum

reden haelt der sturm im fruehjahr
haelt der sturm im fruehjahr nicht

reden kommt im herbst in beijing
kommt in beijing oft zu spaet

MW    Dezember 2007, Beijing






unser land

FAREWELL – Song Tik-lai 宋澤萊

一月 9, 2013

Song Tik-lai 宋澤萊


Thank you, 20th century
We all grew up some time with you
I was born and grew up too
In your arms I feel at home
In your last year
You are generous
To set me free

One hundred years
Two world wars
Cold war east-west
Countless other wars and conflicts
I don’t have much experience
I carried my gun
Two years military service
Thank heavens
I stayed alive

One hundred years
One economic depression
America’s streets full of beggars
Some nations went hungry
Russia and China adopted
I have only shallow experience
When I was small
There was no rice
But there were dried sweet potatoes
Thank you
I didn’t stay hungry
Although malnourished

There was political tragedy
Military dictators
Even governing through terror
Countless people
Went to jail
Wailing was heard on
The earth’s every corner
I have limited experience
Held and carried
Flags and banners
Walked in streets
Of silent protests

There was art in various ways
Dadaists and surrealists
Stream of consciousness, expressionism
Existentialism, postmodernism
Baffling and shouting, collapsing
Suicide and going crazy
I don’t have much experience
Still at my desk
With simple words
Writing my poems

I went to Grandpa’s grave
One hundred years of graves and mounds
Thousands and millions
Buried simply
Left in the 20th century
Wrongs and grievances abroad
I don’t know much and beg your pardon
I went through this time
And stayed alive

20th century
I don’t count as your victim
Listen, century
I’m not qualified
To raise my voice
In blame
But begging your pardon
At night when the Milky Way blazes
Raising my head
I often think of
Flying away

Tr. Martin Winter, Jan. 2013
With help from Khinhuann Li 李勤岸



做二年e 兵

我e 體驗真淺

我e 體驗無深

寫我e 詩




一月 7, 2013

Please click on the image


My favourite comments on Mo Yan in the last few months are in the article by Liu Jianmei (刘剑梅), published in FT Chinese on Dec. 11 and posted on the MCLC list on Dec. 19. The title asks something like ‘Does literature still work like a shining light?’ Maybe my translation is not too bright. Should literature be a shining lantern? That’s one of the questions in Liu’s article. Literature and art were thought of as relevant to society and the nation in the 1980s. Liu talks about different approaches and relationships of life and art. Mo Yan deserves careful reading, just like Yan Lianke and Lu Xun. Nothing more or less. Liu uses “Save the cildren”, the last line from Lu Xun’s Diary of a Madman, for a close look into Mo‘s works as well as Yan Lianke’s latest novel Four Books (not published in Mainland China). The main characters of Republic Of Wine and Frogs are unable to save the children, like Lu Xun’s narrator. Republic of Wine features cannibalism and a riotous carnival of language. It’s my favorite among Mo Yan’s novels, along with The Garlic Ballads.

What is art? What is it for? A little more than 100 years ago now, the Dadaists (in voluntary exile in Switzerland and other places) concocted a virtual antidote to the First World War. Words, ordinary and exalted speech, had lost any meaning in the collective carnage. Not much later, Hu Shi, Zhou Zuoren, Lu Xun etc. attempted to change the Chinese language, in written form and on stage. Yomi Braester shows in Witness Against History how Lu Xun’s most famous passages retain ambiguities that belie any straight nationalist reading, even if the author himself would have read them that way. I like the crazed language of the Madman. Republic of Wine, more experimental than any other works by Mo (to my knowledge), goes into that direction. In Bei Dao’s Rose of Time (Shijian de meigui), a collection of essays that appeared in Shouhuo (Harvest) magazine in the early 2000s, when Bei slowly became acceptable in China again, he writes about Pasternak and Mandelstam. In his youth, Pasternak praised Stalin. Later he tried to extricate other writers from the Gulag, with mixed success. Mandelstam believed in Communism all the way to his death in a labor camp. Bei Dao doesn’t say that. But the chapter on Pasternak invokes Russian Formalism and Structuralism that grew out of the abortive 1905 revolution. Art makes reality appear strange and different, enabling the spectator to perceive it more clearly. And the flag of art is always different from the flag on the citadel.

Republic of Wine is wilder than the real Mo Yan on the Nobel stage. When the real Mo (sounds funny, doesn’t it? The real NO, or the real NOT, like NOT A WORD), when the real Mo Yan talked about his mother, I was moved. It sounded like my grandmother in rural Austria around 1920. Sometimes she couldn’t go to school in winter because she had no shoes. But Mo Yan also said his mother was afraid he would “leave the collective” with his storytelling. Qunti 群体, the masses, the collective, could that be called an example of Mao wenti or Mao-ti, Mao-Speak in this usage? Actually not, qunti 群體 is an older word, could have been used by Li Dazho and other founders of the Chinese Communist Party, before Mao, Prof. Weigelin told me recently here in Vienna. She was right, I encountered qunti in another text I liked very much, was it by Yu Hua? Anyway, I was rather baffled when Perry Link related how a mother would tell her child on the bus to “jianchi 堅持”, to hold it until the driver could stop and let the child out to go to take a leak. Would “jianchi” really sound strange outside of Mainland China? But the discussions about Mao-style are still relevant – Mo Yan is an establishment figure nowadays, and generates critique of China’s established system in general.
I was a little surprised when Chinese critics of Mo Yan talked about the carnivalesque language in his novels. As if you had to be careful not to lose yourself in there. I did think of Mikhail Bakhtin and his concept of carnival in Dostoyevsky’s novels when I read Republic of Wine. But as far as I remember, Bakhtin had defended language and storytelling that would sound strange and crazy, as opposed to Socialist Realism. So when was Mo Yan’s writing first associated with carnival? Maybe in the 1980s? And how did this association evolve?
A few days after the recent massacre in a primary school in Connecticut, Ross Douthat in the New York Times talked about Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov. Although Dostoyevsky was a Christian, Douthat says, the senseless cruelty against children in the novel is just cruelly senseless, there is no “rhetorical justification of God’s goodness”. You have to look at the behaviour of characters who show “Christian love” to find any counterpoint. Below this op-ed, there are 121 reader’s comments, all within one day. Many say they want to talk about guns, not literature.
What is literature for? Why is there a Nobel for literature, but not for music or fine art? Or films? Nobels make for debate. Very much debate, in this case. Great.


一月 7, 2013

Family masks

(Malfarben von Dr. Seuss, für Jackie und Maia)

manche tage sind gelb, manche sind blau.
so ist es mit mir, so bin ich genau.

ungleiche tage, in ungleichen farben
und ich werde anders, das ist keine frage.

an hellroten tagen ein pferd zu sein
sich auszutoben und auszuschlagen!

an anderen tagen mit anderen dingen
an hellblauen tagen heb ich meine schwingen.

an manchen tagen, nicht an den bunten
da fühl ich mich langsam und ziemlich weit unten.

dann kommt ein gelber tag. ich bin auf schiene
ich bin die schnelle geschäftige biene.

ein grauer tag. alles ist grau.
gar nichts bewegt sich, wohin ich auch schau.

dann plötzlich hab ich den seehunde-tag
orangener zirkus. ich tu was ich mag.

grüne tage im meer. tief unten und kühl.
ich bin ein fisch. frisch und still.

an lila tagen muss ich traurig sein.
ich seufze und stöhne. ich bin allein.

doch rosige tage, da kann ich springen.
ohne zu denken kann alles gelingen.

ein schwarzer tag. hab die nase voll.
ich groll jeder wolke und heule ganz toll.

dann kommt ein tag, da ist alles drin.
und wumm! bin verwirrt, weiß nicht wer ich bin.

doch es wird gut, du wirst es verstehen.
ich werd einfach ich! du wirst schon sehen.

Übersetzt von MW, 6. Jänner 2013
MyManyColoredDaysOn Bright Red Days how good it feels
to be a horse and kick my heels.

Some days, of course, feel sort of Brown.
Then I feel slow and low, low down.

Then come my Black Days. Mad. And loud.
I howl. I growl at every cloud.
My-Many-Colored-Days-9780679875970Green Days. Deep deep in the sea.
Cool and quiet fish. That’s me.

Gray Day…Everything is gray.
I watch. But nothing moves today.

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