Tuesday, 20 October 2015

kind of blue

At home I have a blue piano.
But I can’t play a note.

It’s been in the shadow of the cellar door
Ever since the world went rotten.

Four starry hands play harmonies.
The Woman in the Moon sang in her boat.
Now only rats dance to the clanks.

The keyboard is in bits.
I weep for what is blue. Is dead.

Sweet angels, I have eaten
Such bitter bread. Push open
The door of heaven. For me, for now---

Although I am still alive---
Although it is not allowed.

Else Lasker-Schuler
My Blue Piano, tr. Edward Hirsch



  1. Mein blaues Klavier

    Ich habe zu Hause ein blaues Klavier

    Und kenne doch keine Note.

    Es steht im Dunkel der Kellertür,

    Seitdem die Welt verrohte.

    Es spielten Sternenhände vier –

    Die Mondfrau sang im Boote.

    – Nun tanzen die Ratten im Geklirr.

    Zerbrochen ist die Klaviatur.

    Ich beweine die blaue Tote.

    Ach liebe Engel öffnet mir

    – Ich aß vom bitteren Brote –

    Mir lebend schon die Himmelstür,

    Auch wider dem Verbote.

  2. my my, that first photo is gorgeous.

    1. thank you, that was unexpected! :-)

  3. That title seems familiar...

    kind of blue--done in style

    if i were a gallery owner i would exhibit number three (then wouldn't let anyone in so as to admire it in peace)

    (do you want me to translate the poem for your non-German readers? The first line in 'my keyboard is blue.')

  4. yes, the first photo is breath-taking:-)

    i like the translation, as a poem in its own right, but it is very different from the German poem ... though i can't imagine how to do it better, and it might be impossible ...

    and this in reply, on blue ...

    by Lynn Powell

    Not Delft or
    delphinium, not Wedgewood
    among the knickknacks, not wide-eyed chicory
    evangelizing in the devil strip—

    But way on down in the moonless
    octave below midnight, honey,
    way down where you can't tell cerulean
    from teal.

    Not Mason jars of moonshine, not
    waverings of silk, not the long-legged hunger
    of a heron or the peacock's
    iridescent id—

    But Delilahs of darkness, darling,
    and the muscle of the mind
    giving in.

    Not sullen snow slumped
    against the garden, not the first instinct of flame,
    not small, stoic ponds, or the cold derangement
    of a jealous sea—

    But bluer than the lips of Lazarus, baby,
    before Sweet Jesus himself could figure out
    what else in the world to do but weep.


    1. thank you for this poem, i found it difficult at first, because of the language and some blue references i had to check - but it has a mysterious beauty about it, and i came to love it...

      in fact, after posting this and seeing the response here (as i got a marvelous Benn blue-poem as well, did you see? below -) i got an exciting idea: to make a book of poems about colours, with my photos as well - that is, translate the poems into romanian, if i can do that (that's another question, though it is the crux of the matter :-)... and have colour-poems that i love, grouped accordingly... what do you say? it could be a gorgeous book, if printed in certain conditions (though that's exactly what will not happen haha)

  5. eu o sa pun o intrebare prostesc-inadecvata: sunt adevarate florile acelea? adica, exista cu adevarat acel albastru? ma gandesc ca el nu poate fi posibil decat, o clipa, langa acele porti care s-ar deschide precum noaptea de sanziene la eliade. si, daca acele porti s-ar deschide, nu s-ar vedea nimic altceva decat Acel albastru, nu s-ar auzi decat Acele note, la fel de albastre...
    este, oricat de sceptic ai deveni odata cu timpul, o atat de mare mirare fereastra cuiva. dincolo de aceasta imi imaginez ca trebuie sa existe neaparat o pelerina de catifea albastra si o oglinda cu marginile patinate, ovala, in care lucrurile ar putea fi vazute ca in imaginile tale.
    mi-a fost atat de dor de aici, de albastru

    1. nu stiu!!!! nu cred ca sunt adevarate :-) si eu m-am intrebat - eu cred ca sunt fie artificiale, fie colorate artificial... am cunoscut barbati care viseaza la flori artificiale (cum suna asta! :-) - si ma intreb daca exista femei cu asemenea pasiuni... e o intrebare importanta, de ce ar prefera cineva, ca reverie, nu pentru considerente practice, florile artificiale...

  6. the "Is dead" on its own like that! seems genius to me. is the poem to me. not enough energy to link this fragment. no hope. given up. (but not really, for there is the poem, isn't there? and this is the entreaty, which is a form of hope.)

    and for what blue is. what is blue, anyway? the question with profound implications for being and our perception of being, our articulation of the world.

    yes, i agree, that first photograph. the romantic one. (are we all so predictable?) and yet with each photograph, each interpretation, revelation, i gasped. revelation indeed.

    and why the two petals bent like that upon each flower head? a peculiarity of this specific type of flower? or the plant itself? or happenstance?

    and what was revealed to me through this sequence, which began so close to the heart, as though it were skin or blood itself, is that you became not the viewed, but the voyeur. for at first it seemed you were the romanticized version. but then you moved further and further away, revealing your earthly stance. this was terribly interesting.

    1. oh erin
      you went directly to that part, "is dead" - which i also found brilliant - and which, unfortunately, or fortunately for us, makes out of the translation a poem on its own, as it is not in the original... which says, simpler and more direct: i weep for the dead one (meaning: for the dead keyboard, which is feminine in german).

      and also - but this doesn't surprise me any longer - you raised the question of chronology, how viewing the pics in a certain order changes the meaning, i tried both ways, and couldn't make up my mind between interpretations... what would have the reverse told about me, if i had chosen it? the "romanticized" version? :-)

    2. the bent petals!!! how closely you looked... no, i think they are bent because someone pressed the vase against the window pane and it just so happened that two petals were bent like that upon each flower head - this seems to be, of course, in itself - an important detail, though who could even dream of interpreting it?

  7. I enter the deep blue hour-

    here is the landing, the chain shuts behind

    and now in the room only carmine on a mouth

    and a bowl of late roses-you!

    1. oh my - that is so beautiful - and i had no idea Benn wrote such poems as well - how did you think of it, anon? don't tell me you sleep with Benn's poems on your night table? how did you remember it, just then???

  8. Why so down, kid?

    "And everything will be as it was then. All shall be blue around me, and in the midst of the blue my heart will be innocent and free, and will beat gently..."

    1. no, not down - well the poem is, yes - but it's one just of the many faces of blue... your quote here is wonderful, i will look for that story and read it...

      hi, b! how come you came here to talk to me? i imagined these windows were long forgotten (i myself barely remembered them :-)

    2. did anyone ever tell you..you ask too many questions!


      Reason not the need, dear child.

  9. My beautiful friend Roxana.How wonderful that you are writing in your journal.
    thankyou for another one of your masterpeices -it can only be so long that Ican exist in this octave without a new masterpiece from you.
    this blue is gripping Im filled with joy at you writing here but at the same time I feel the despair of blue and the joy embraces me and yes the harmonic pause of blue and joy mixed perhaps the joy of being alive enough to feel and express the blueness.

    have a beautiful day

    1. thank you for your lovely comments, Madeleine, and for your support, you are very generous! and i am glad that i could bring you so much joy with such a modest post :-)

      "the joy of being alive enough to feel and express the blueness" - who could have said this better?!!! yes!!!

  10. daaa, trebuie sa agree with pensum on this one: the first image is pure beauty.

    este absolut miraculoasa toata postarea, in mijlocul tututor culorilor din toamna, parca nu te astepti sa vezi albastrul acesta, atat de clar, de puternic. si eu, ca cerasela, m-am intrebat daca sunt adevarate florile acelea. cred ca sunt, totusi ;-)

    1. da, imaginea este inainte de instalarea completa a toamnei, dar doar acum m-am invrednicit sa o pun :-)

      multumesc dragei ca a venit, sa ne imbratisam in albastru (am spus ceva patetic acum :-)

    2. ;-) nu este patetic.
      ne imbratisam in bordo si in albastru.
      albastru nu cred ca agrees with us. ;-) poate turcoise-ul, dar albastrul.... ;-)

  11. oh by the way Roxana I didn't notice your translation in german in the comment box.-beautiful thankyou for doing that I will explore it.
    hugs and luminosity

    1. the german poem is the original, the english version the translation :-)