Sunday, March 20, 2016

Rilke in Charleston

     Yesterday I spent too short a time in lovely Charleston, SC. The American Association of Teachers of German-South Carolina met there. In order to accommodate our members, we rotate between the Midlands, Upstate, and Low Country for meetings (I am in the Midlands, and Charleston is in the Low Country that's for international readers).

     We convened at the College of Charleston. How anyone can study or work there is beyond me! Charleston is a lovely, active city, full of tourists, full of local culture, and full of good things (usually- it has been a hard time since the events at Mother Emmanuel Church).

     My presentation's title translates as "Poems in the Classroom". I spoke about Rilke's Dinggedcht  "Der Panther" , and about some of the poems I use in the classroom and where I find them.        I was also asked to read something from my book, and I read this one, which actually came to me in a dream. From Places and Times I also include a translation.

Mein Traum
Die Namen der U-Bahnhöfe schweben
Vor mir in der nächtlichen Ferne
Wie bunte Sterne, im Himmel wehend,
Ein Paternosteraufzug in der Stadt.
Ich steige aus und sofort will wieder
Einsteigen zum heranwinkenden Licht
An Bellvue vorbei, dann Friedrichstrasse
Richtung Alex, dann Prenzlauer Allee.
Musik von Konzert oder Kneipe,
Vielleicht mal ins Kino oder Café.
Unbegrentzte Möglichlichkeiten reizen
Mich wie Lorelei oder Sirenen
Abhängig von ob ich mich befinde
Auf dem Rhein oder auf’m Mittelmeer.
Im Grunde bin ich unweit von der Spree
Und muss mich mal auf etwas entschliessen.
Auf einmal wach’ ich auf und bermeke
Dass ich Tausende von Kilometern
Westlich bin, inmitten einem Wald.
Keine öffentliche Vekehrsmittel
Stehen mir zur Verfügung, weder die
U-Bahn noch S-Bahn laufen nicht einmal
Busse. Noch wieder Träume von Berlin.
My Dream
The names of the subway stations hover
Before me in nocturnal distances
As colorful stars waft in the heavens,
Like an urban paternoster lift.
I leave the train and immediately
Want to take another to a beckoning light.
Passing by Bellvue Palace and Friedrichstrasse
Towards Alex, then Prenzlauer Allee,
Music from Cabaret or a bar,
Maybe from a cinema or bistro.
Unlimited possibilities tempt
Me like the Sirens or the Lorelei.
Am I on the Rhine or Mediterranean?
Acutally I am close to the Spree
And have to quickly make a decision.
Suddenly I awaken, realizing
That I am thousands of miles to the west
Deep in the woods without a U-Bahn,
S-Bahn, cream-colored double decker buses.
But I still have those dreams about Berlin

Arthur Turfa, copyright 2015, eLectio Publishing

     By the way I am fortunate to have a steady and itneresting intenrational following. Everyday there are some hits here from Portugal. Recently I have seen regular interest from Poland, South Korea and Russiant  Thanks!

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