Monday, November 19, 2012

God in the village

Here is a poem that I just read this weekend in my German hymnal. I will give it first in German and then translate it. No doubt my translation will lack something but, here it goes. I think it is such a lovely poem with great imagery, and I think it speaks to those who say that the church miniaturizes God. The author is Jossif Broskij, Russian poet and author, if it is the same guy I googled, “Joseph Brodsky”, who one a Nobel prize in literature. (I really have no idea if that’s the same person. Maybe someone knows.)

“Im Dorf wohnt Gott nicht in den Zimmerecken nur, wie Spoetter meinen, sondern ueberall. Er heiligt Daecher, Teller, Schuesseln, Pfannen, teilt ehrlich jede Doppeltuer in Haelften. Im Dorf ist Gott im Ueberfluss vorhanden. Im Eisentopf kocht er am Samstag Linsen, er taenzelt leicht verschlafen ueberm Feuer und winkt mir als dem Augenzeugen zu. Er setzt die Zaeune, gibt ein junges Maedchen dem Foersterssohn zur Frau, und spasseshalber laesst er schier tausendmal den Wildhueter nicht treffen, wenn er auf die Ente anlegt. Die Moeglichkeit, dies alles wahrzunehmen–beim Lauschen auf des Herzens Toene–, ist uebrigens die einzige Gnade, die im Dorf dem Atheisten offen steht.”

My translation, a better one is probably available somewhere.

“In the village,
God does not only live in the corners of the ceiling,
as many scoffers like to say,
but everywhere.
He sanctifies roofs and plates,
bowls and cooking pans,
and honestly divides every double door
into halves.
In the village,
God is found in great overabundance.
On Saturday, he cooks lentils in the
big iron pot.
He dances sleepily over the fire
and waves at me, as to a witness.
He sets up the fences and gives the
son of the forest warden a nice young
woman for a wife.
And for sure playful fun he lets the
game warden miss the duck he tries to
shoot about one thousand times.
The openness to recognize all these things,
by listening to the sounds of the heart,
is by the way,
the only grace,
which is open to the
atheist in the village.”

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