G.P. SKRATZ

February 6, 2011

Here’s a Valentine piece I translated way back in 1974.  It became my biggest hit at poetry readings & resulted in a video taped performance of it that was shown at the San Francisco Museum of Art in 1979.  In 1997, the composer/guitarist, Andy Dinsmoor & I recorded the mp3:  I’m delighted with it & think you will be too.
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Kurt Schwitters did his own English translation of his, “An Anna Blume.”  Mine is better.  For one thing, he extends his “thou thee thy” riff (as he does in the German) to include “I love thy.”  Well, there’s more tolerance for rank silliness in the German tradition than there is in the American one (at least in the wake of what Bennett Cerf called “The Golden Nashery of Ogden Trashery”).  I center my poem on the genuine statement, “I love you,” no fucking around, messing with archaic declensions there!  Also:  he translates her name: “Anna Blossom.”  O, come ON!  Anyway, like I say, mine is better!
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TO ANNA BLUME

O mistress of my 27 senses, I love you!

–Thou thee thy thine, I you, you me–We?

That belongs (by the way) somewhere else.

Who are you, room of countless women?  You are–aren’t you?–

People say you’re–let them talk, the bastards, they don’t know

how the church tower stands.

You put your hat on your feet & wander off on your

hands, on your hands you wander off.

Hello, your red dress with white folds.  Red

I love Anna Blume, red I love you!–Thou thee thy

thine, I you, you me–

We?

That belongs (by the way) in the cold fire.

Red bloom, red Anna Blume, how do they say it?

Readers:  answer this question & win a prize:

1.  Anna Blume has a bird.

2.  Anna Blume is red.

3.  What color is the bird?

Blue is the color of your golden hair.

Red is the call of your green birds.

You plain maid in your everyday dress, you lovely green

beast, I love you!  Thou thee thy thine, I you, you me–

We?

That belongs (by the way) in the coal chest.

Anna Blume!  Anna, a-n-n-a, I trickle your name.

Your name drips like soft cattle droppings.

Do you know it, Anna, do you know it already?

One can read you backward, & you, you most magnificent

of all, you are the same from back or front:  “a-n-n-a.”

Cattle-droppings trickle stroking my back.

Anna Blume, you dripping beast, I love you!

–translated from the German of Kurt Schwitters

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