Kristallnaach* (English translation)

English translation


Versions: #1#2
Every now and then I think there's a clangour
Something's gone astray inside of me
A noise, a very faint one
Sometimes it has this familiar clang
I can't usually identify right away
You wake up, rub your eyes and see
In a picture that's somewhere in between Brueghel and Bosch
People who don't care about the sirens
Because an "all-clear" is just around the corner
Smells like Kristallnacht1
In the calm before the storm - what is this?
People leaving town on the quiet
Dignitaries undercover
Are rushing past
They don't like to be seen being a part of it
When public opinion - always ready to go
With its anger reaching its boiling point, screaming
"Heil - death halloo", riled up beyond any limit
Crying for vengeance, trembling with envy
During Kristallnacht
But those who feel disturbed by anything that's "different"
Swimming with the tide, the way they're supposed to
Those to whom gays are criminals
To whom foreigners are scum
They need someone to mislead them
When that happens, no cavalry's there to save the day
No Zorro's there to care
He's just pissing a "Z" into the snow
Babbling, falling, drunk with coolness
"So what? - Kristallnacht!"
In the church with the Franz Kafka clock
Without hands, only hour marks
A blind is reading
'Shockheaded Peter' to a deaf
Behind a triply locked door
And the guard with the key chain
Considers himself some kind of genius
Because he's grinding back doors into powder
And sells it as a cure for claustrophobia
During Kristallnacht
All the while, at the market square perhaps
Unmasked, wearing their true face tonight
Collecting stones and sharpening their knives
For those who have already been ratted out
The lynch mob is practicing for Judgment Day
Only provisionally moored for loading
- The galleys under pressure already -
They're waiting for slaves down at the harbour
For the rubble from that uneven fight
During Kristallnacht
Where Darwin is an excuse for everything2
Whether it's displacement or torture of people
Where money is the root of power
Where being strong is all that counts
Disfigured by cowering and standing to attention
Where they're playing hymns on a comb even3
In their barbaric hunger for profit
From cheers to jeers4
Whenever there's something to gain
They have their daily Kristallnacht
  • 1.
  • 2. Refers to social Darwinism which some genocidal regimes have used as justification to "cull the weak".
  • 3. Possibly a metaphor for patriotism as a foil for ulterior motives, or exaggerated patriotism in general.
  • 4. Lit. "Yelling 'hosanna' and 'crucify him'".
Translations (c) by me, permission for use on and private "fair use" cases granted.
Submitted by magicmulder on Wed, 23/11/2016 - 10:53
Added in reply to request by emersonbj
Last edited by magicmulder on Wed, 27/12/2017 - 09:11
Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)
German (Kölsch)


More translations of "Kristallnaach*"
Idioms from "Kristallnaach*"
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GemSoundSky    Sun, 24/09/2017 - 01:11

A great transl, doing justice to the original in all ways. (And a very actual theme again)