Charley (English translation)

English translationEnglish (metered, poetic, rhyming, singable)


Formerly there was someone around, quite a long time ago,
somebody, who called himself Charley, only few will still know.
Some others, I am sure, will remember him quite well,
his sneakiness and rage they feared like fire down in hell.
Sometimes he stayed for some weeks, then he vanished for a year.
Salt on his skin and suntanned, with freshly bleached out hair,
all of a sudden, strong as ever, he came back after a while.
For us boys he was the king, parents thought him full of guile.
Everybody recognized how nice his floral shirt dressed him,
with holes, burned with a cigarette, with coal black charred rims.
We thought these holes were bullet holes, we really had no doubt,
and the pharmacist's son got an eye on it and checked it out.
He bought Charley's floral shirt at an outrageous price,
and he wore it, dirty as it was, with its holes and special spice.
For sure the guy believed that he just had to wear the thing,
and so Charley's strength and beauty would be transferred to him.
Because of Charley, young girls left their homes without permit,
he took it all for granted, did not care too much 'bout it.
Not only wild and naughty girls were chasing after him,
even good girls and grey wallflowers got hot, where he was seen.
I saw one of them walk closely past him, several times that night,
tightly pressing thighs together, when she came into his sight.
Later, as she could not have him, she pretended he was air,
and she took somebody else, who would blindly follow her.
This girl, what is more obvious, chose the bland guy as her spouse,
who inherited the pharmacy, recently I saw him by his house.
He looked different from back then - and it really is a shame -,
when Charley's tattered shirt had hung from his shaking frame.
Today his legs are bent, similar to rosy pigs,
inward like an X, under the weight of his broad hips,
and in the streets the children want to see him nude, and then
hear his knees both clap together, when he's walking straight past them.
Listen, Charley, what this guy told me, when we lately met!
He told me, you'd be just like him, so clean, gentle and fed.
You'd be no longer Charley, now Charles would be your name,
and everything run-off-the-mill, you took it as it came.
Well, Charley, what you do today is not my bus'ness, true,
but what a shame, someone like him can compare himself to you.
He who, though he yearned for it, has never been like you,
should not be allowed to spread, that you became like him, too.
thanked 4 times
This is a poetic translation - deviations from the meaning of the original are present (extra words, extra or omitted information, substituted concepts).
Submitted by Drüsi HörbarDrüsi Hörbar on Thu, 01/10/2020 - 19:13
Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)


Vera JahnkeVera Jahnke    Thu, 01/10/2020 - 19:27

Manfred, Du bist der Meister!

Drüsi HörbarDrüsi Hörbar    Thu, 01/10/2020 - 19:31

Achwas, Meister brauchen keine Stunden, um sowas zu übersetzen!
Danke für die Sterne, Vera 😘

Vera JahnkeVera Jahnke    Thu, 01/10/2020 - 19:49

Ja, man merkt, dass viel Arbeit drin steckt, aber auch viel Spaß. Und das Lied ist eine so gute Übersetzung echt wert! 😀👍

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