Urteil (Judgement)

Please scroll down for an English translation.

Gebrannt von tausend roten Sonnen,
in süßer Bitterkeit geronnen,
zerbrochen auch in tausend Scherben,
vernarbt, zu müde, um zu werben,

verrottet und erneut beschworen,
zum bloßen Spiele auserkoren,
verlassen und mithin vergessen,
von Reu’ und Kummer ganz zerfressen,

verlacht, verachtet und zerrissen,
verleumdet wider beßres Wissen,
verschmäht, vergeudet und bedauert,
im tiefsten Dunkel eingemauert,

liegt’s still und will nicht länger schlagen,
so reagiert es auf die Fragen
mit müdem Lächeln und Geschichten:
Ach, könnt es sich nur selber richten!

[English translation
Burnt by a thousand red suns,
in sweet bitterness coagulated,
burst into a thousand pieces, too,
scarred, too tired to court,

rotten and resummoned,
chosen as a mere plaything,
abandoned and thus forgotten,
completely eroded by regret and sorrow,

derided, despised, and ripped to shreds,
vilified against better judgement,
rejected, wasted, and pitied,
immured within the deepest dark,

it’s lying still and refuses to beat any longer,
thus it reacts to the questions
with a tired smile and stories:
Oh, would that it could put itself to death!]

Rote Flut (Red Flood)

After a long time, I have finally written a new poem in German. Please scroll down for an English translation.

Auf der Stirne liegt ein Degen,
balanciert auf dem Gesicht.
Es sieht aus nach rotem Regen,
Sturmfront gegen Gleichgewicht.

Küßt du mich, dann muß ich sterben;
hälst du mich, seh ich das Licht;
meine Sicht wird rot sich färben,
so die Welt in Scherben bricht.

Schiffe wollen Anker werfen,
transportiern ein großes Heer;
soll ein Schmied den Degen schärfen,
bringt gewiß das rote Meer.

Auf der Stirne lag ein Degen;
aus dem Gleichgewicht der Nacht,
hat er, mit der Strömung Segen,
endlich rote Flut gebracht.

[English translation:
A sword is lying on the forehead,
balanced on the face.
It looks like red rain,
storm front against equilibrium.

If you kiss me, I must die;
if you hold me, I shall see the light;
my sight is to be coloured red,
as the world shatters into pieces.

Ships want to cast their ankers,
transporting a huge host;
a blacksmith shall whet the sword,
for certainly, it shall bring the red sea.

A sword was lying on the forehead;
from the balance of the night,
it has, with the blessing of the current,
finally brought a red flood.]

The 2-Dimensional Human: The Typical Internet User – Just a Mutation or Already a Subspecies?

We all have experienced the social evolution of humankind throughout the last two decades. The advent of the internet, however, set an unpredictable development into motion: the devolution of humans into internet users.
The typical internet user is universally two-dimensional. Thus, he or she commands vastly reduced cognitive and emotional capacities. Their emotional spectrum is reduced to two simple but extreme aspects: undoncitional love on the one hand, unconditional hatred on the other. If they feel positive about someone or something, they love them or it; if they feel negative about someone or something, they hate them or it. There is no intermediate. The internet user does not like or dislike anything more or less; they do not differentiate. The verbs ‘like’ and ‘dislike’ are only known to them because they appear in the omnipresent so-called rating systems on all sorts of websites.
Furthermore, the typical internet user is immune to both logic and evidence, so that any attempt of rational discussion with them is futile. Logic is replaced by bias, evidence is subdued to re-interpretation befitting the underlying bias.
Of special interest is the fact that the typical internet user cannot comprehend, let alone formulate a grammatically correct, complete sentence that does not contain any kind of vulgar or abusive language; and does not praise that which they themselves love. On the contrary, it appears to be the first and most important rule of courtesy to be as vulgar and abusive as possible; to use incomprehensible grammar and spelling; to use a plethora of punctuation and the so-called emojis.
Thus, tolerance is not an option. The urgent desire to follow a cult leader and adhere to their every word; to praise and promote them where- and whenever possible; to be part of a group of more or less anonymous, like-minded thought-refusers; to declare and demand absolute devotion to the cult leader and villify any opposition; seems universally irresistible.
The question is now how to interpret this scientifically. Are we looking at a simple mutation, or has the internet user already developed into a subspecies of the species homo sapiens (sapiens)? We may alternatively interpret the internet user as a universal form of multiple personality disorder. For even many of those who can be considered perfectly normal and at least half-way rational persons, tend to mutate into the typical internet user as described above as soon as they access the internet. Well-argued suggestions are most welcome.

[German translation] Wir alle haben die soziale Evolution der letzten zwei Jahrzehnte erlebt. Die Ankunft des Internets jedoch hat eine unvorhersagbare Entwicklung in Gang gesetzt: die Devolution von Menschen zu Internetnutzern.
Die typischen Internetbenutzer sind allgemein zwei-dimensional. Mithin verfügen sie über bedeutend verminderte kognitive wie emotionale Kapazitäten. Ihr emotionales Spektrum ist auf zwei einfache, aber extreme Aspekte begrenzt: unbedingte Liebe auf der einen Seite, unbedingter Haß auf der andern. Fühlen sie sich jemandem oder einer Sache gegenüber positiv, lieben sie sie; fühlen sie sich jemandem oder einer Sache gegenüber negativ, hassen sie sie. Es gibt nichts, was dazwischen liegt. Internetbenutzer mögen etwas nicht mehr oder weniger; sie differenzieren nicht. Die Verben »like« und »dislike« sind ihnen lediglich bekannt, weil sie in den allgegenwärtigen sogenannten Bewertungssystemen auf allen Arten von Webseiten vorkommen.
Darüber hinaus sind typische Internetbenutzer immun gegen Logik sowohl als Evidenz, so daß jeglicher Versuch einer rationalen Diskussion vergeblich ist. Logik wird durch Vorurteil ersetzt, Evidenz wird einer dem Vorurteil angemessenen Reinterpretation unterworfen.
Von besonderem Interesse ist die Tatsache, daß typische Internetbenutzer einen grammatisch vollständigen, korrekten Satz nicht verstehen, geschweige denn formulieren kann, der keinerlei Art von vulgärer oder ausfallender Sprache enthält. Im Gegenteil, es scheint die erste und wichtigste Regel der Höflichkeit zu sein, möglichst vulgär und ausfallend zu sein; unverständliche Grammatik und Schreibungen zu verwenden; eine Überfülle von Satzzeichen und den sogenannten Emojis zu verwenden.
Mithin ist Toleranz keine Option. Das drängende Bedürfnis, einem Kultführer zu folgen und aufs Wort zu gehorchen; ihn oder sie zu lobpreisen und zu unterstützen, wo und wann immer möglich; Teil einer Gruppe mehr oder minder anonymer, gleichgesinnter Denkverweigerer zu sein; unbedingte Hingabe an den Kultführer zu verkünden und zu verlangen und jegliche Opposition zu verteufeln; scheint universell unwiderstehlich.
Die Frage lautet nun, wie dies wissenschaftlich aufzufassen ist. Betrachten wir eine einfache Mutation, oder handelt es sich beim Internetbenutzer bereits um eine Subspezies der Spezies Homo sapiens (sapiens)? Wir können den Internetbenutzer alternativ auch als universelle Form der multiplen Persönlichkeitsstörung interpretieren. Denn sogar viele derjenigen, welche man für völlig normal und zumindest halbwegs rational halten kann, tendieren dazu, sich in den typischen Internetbenutzer zu verwandeln, sobald sie das Internet benutzen. Wohlbegründete Vorschläge sind überaus willkommen.

Video Game Developer Studio The-Player-Always-Wins and Publisher You-Never-Lose Face Law Suit for Challenging Players

June 13th, 2035

The video game developer studio The-Player-Always-Wins as well as the publisher You-Never-Lose are about to face a law suit on charges of their latest game’s posing an actual challenge to the player. Several severely traumatized victims claimed to have encountered enemies in the game that would resist and even kill their character instead of letting them win. In fact, this kind of expectation was acknowledged as properly justified and therefore enforced by law in 2025. According to the law, developers are by no means to pose any kind of challenge to the player in a video game. Instead, the player needs to be able to walk through the game without any kind of resistence, and none of the player’s actions are to have any kind of consequences.
According to a speaker, The-Player-Always-Wins are looking into the issue and promised to remedy the situation as soon as possible by reprogramming the AI to make enemies drop their weapons, lie down, and wait to be slaughtered on sight of the player. Another option, so the speaker, would be to make the enemies commit mass suicide on sight of the player, while the latter would still get experience points.
Furthermore, the programmer who had put the challenges in the game was terminated immediately. When he was questioned by the police why he had put challenges into the game, he claimed that over twenty years ago, video games had actually been supposed to challenge the player. He now receives psychological help, while it remains unclear yet whether he is simply delusional or suffering from psychosis.

Zerplatztes Porzellan (Shattered Porcelain)

The following is an old poem of mine from 2004. Please scroll down for an English translation and commentary.

Das Böse dieser Welt ist überall
und wie zerplatztes Porzellan in meinem Kopf,
dessen Scherben meine Seele schneiden
und den Ozean der Verdammnis
mit Blut und Tränen füllen.

Hier ist deine Seele
ein Schiff in dunkler Nacht,
mein Herz ein rotes Segel,
aufgespießt auf einen Mast,
dessen Spitze feurig glüht.

Unser Fleisch ist längst verwest
und brennt auf Stirn und Lippen.
Das Verderben folgt mir nach
auf Schritt und Tritt
und auf dem Fuße.

Das erdrückende Gewicht
der Welt stürzt auf mich ein
wie glühend heiße Nägel,
die sich in die Augen bohren,
weil die Welt in Blut ertrinkt.

English translation

The evil of this world is everywhere
und like shattered porcelain in my head
whose shards cut my soul
and fill the ocean of condemnation
with blood and tears.

Here your soul is
a ship in the darkest night,
my heart a crimson sail
impaled upon a mast
whose top glows fervidly.

Our flesh has long since decayed
and burns on forhead and lips.
Doom follows me
at every turn
and hard on my heels.

The stifling weight of the world
comes crushing down on me
like scorching nails
that sink into the eyes,
as the world drowns in blood.


This poem, in contrast to the one I posted before, posed few difficulties with respect to its translation into English. First and foremost, the strength of the metaphors does not rely upon compounds. Instead, I chose a rather simple language and form (there are neither rhymes nor metres), while the metaphors – the pictures I paint with words – unfold over several lines. This allows them to remain in a steady flow on the one hand, but keeps them somewhat unpredictable as waves at sea on the other.
The lyrical self’s expression of despair is one big (and perhaps final) sigh of surrender. This is most prominent in lines four and five of verse three, which expresses the feeling that regardless of what the lyrical self does, however may describe or analyse the situation, it will always be and stay the same. No complication of words would serve this purpose, let alone improve it.
Interestingly, there is a lyrical you, a second person, vaguely addressed, but even this fact provides the lyrical self with no comfort. The reason for this may be that for the lyrical self, the lines between reality and the dark world to which it feels tied against its own will have long since blurred.

Nächte ohne Schlafgespann

The following is an old poem of mine I just found among some old hand-writings from 2006. The original hand-writing does not feature a title, but I consider the one I chose adequate. Please scroll down for an English translation. I am not content with the translation (see my commentary below), but fortunately, translating a poem is a crime from which you get off scot-free.

Nur für den Moment, in dem ich meine Augen schließe,
bleibt mein Herz stehn, da der Sommer wehmütig zerrinnt.
Und alles, was dahinter bleibt, ist atemloser Seelensturz
durch Nächte ohne Schlafgespann vor leeren Himmeln.

Das Seelennetz fängt die, die schlafen,
doch was, wenn sie des Schlafes Tiefe nicht ergründen,
wenn sie die Herzenstoten nur für schlafend halten,
als könnten ihre zarten Finger dem Sog der Leere trotzen?

Ich halte mich nur mühsam über Wasser,
und meine Lippen spiegeln blau den einst ersehnten Himmel,
da jedes Seemanns Schiff fänd einen Hafen –
Äonen müssen mir seitdem entglitten sein.

Noch auf ein Letztes schließe ich die Augen
und kehr zurück zu deinen Regenküssen,
bevor mich aller Drang zu neuen Sommern
zu Engelschören stiller Ewigkeiten treibt.

English translation

Just for the moment that I close my eyes
my heart stands still, as summer wistfully fades away.
And all that remains behind is breathless fall of the soul
through nights without a sleeping team before empty heavens.

The net of souls catches those sleeping,
but what if they don’t fathom sleep’s depths,
if they just deem those dead at heart asleep,
as though their delicate fingers could brave the pull of the void?

I hardly keep my head above water,
and my blue lips reflect the once-desired heavens,
for every sailor’s ship would find a haven –
eons must have slipped from me since then.

One last time I close my eyes
and return to your rainy kisses
before all urge to new summers
carries me to angelic choirs of still eternities.


The German original contains several compounds that can by no means be adequately translated. While the first two lines of the first verse are comparatively unproblematic, the rest of the poem presents the translator with insurmountable obstacles. The English translation can, for its most part, be considered an attempt of an approach to the original at best. There is, for instance, no appropriate translation for ‘Seelensturz’, first and foremost because you cannot express this compound in a single English noun. The literal translation ‘soul fall’ neither makes any sense nor sounds any good.
I also struggled with the translation of the first half of the first verse’s third line: ‘Und alles, was dahinter bleibt, …’, because it does not mean that anything is left behind, but its meaning is rather both literal and metaphorical at the same time. You can imagine this as meaning something similar to ‘Her face remained behind her mask’, where ‘mask’ carries an additional metaphorical meaning.
Something similar applies to the fourth line of the first verse. How do you translate a line that purely consists of metaphorical expressions for which there are no equivalents in English? In German, there is the expression ‘Sternengespann’ (English ‘constellation’) – which you will not even find in most German dictionaries –, but in the line being considered, the first part, ‘Sternen’ (English ‘starry’), is replaced by ‘Schlaf’ (English ‘sleep’), again a compound you simply cannot translate with an equivalent. German ‘Gespann’ literally translates to English ‘team’ in the sense of ‘two or more animals, especially horses, in harness together to pull a vehicle’ [definition according to http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/team, 1.3]. ‘Sleep team’ or ‘team of sleep’ neither appear to make any sense nor sound any good (at least to me), so I was left with the alternative ‘sleeping team’.
The same holds true, in turn, for the third line of the second verse: ‘Herzenstoten’ is a compound consisting of the two nouns ‘Herz’ (English ‘heart’) and ‘(die) Toten’ (English ‘(the) dead’). I resolved to break the compound up into a demonstrative pronoun (‘those’), an adjective (‘dead’), a preposition (‘at’), and a noun (‘heart’), the entirety of which resembles the English expression ‘(those) sad at heart’. ‘Dead at heart’ is, to be sure, not supposed to mean ‘emotionless’, though. It rather means that someone suffered so much from love that they died from it. ‘Die of a broken heart’ would, by the way, mean something different in its turn. The latter expression describes a process, often a rather long one, whereas the former describes something that happens instantly. To use another common English expression, you may say that someone who is dead at heart was stopped dead in their tracks (by love).
Both in German and English, the respective words ‘Himmel’ and ‘heaven’ can either mean ‘sky’ or refer to a place beyond death as imagined by several religions. Although in modern English, ‘sky’ has prevailed as the preferred expression for the non-religious concept, ‘the heavens’ has remained as a literary expression, and it seemed proper to me throughout the poem. Nonetheless, it carries both meanings, at least to a degree, in the second line of verse three.
Moving to the next line, the German word ‘Hafen’ gave me some trouble. In fact, ‘port’, ‘harbour’, and ‘haven’ would all be adequate in their own right. While German ‘Hafen’ (which can mean both ‘harbour’ and ‘haven’) is obviously related to both ‘harbour’ and ‘haven’, the latter appeared to me the best alternative, since it carries the meanings ‘safe place’ and ‘shelter for ships or boats’.
In line two of verse four, I translated ‘Regenküsse’ simply as ‘rainy kisses’ for want of a better alternative. It is not correct, however, because the kisses referred to are not rainy in nature or related to rain, but they are rain – in the sense of the poem, that is.
I hope that, despite all the difficulties of translation, the poem is still enjoyable in English.

Falling in Love Then and Now

If you fall in love with someone who already belongs to someone else, it will always seem like the end of the world. The older you grow, the more likely you will be to realize that this is not the case, although it will continue to feel the same way.
Personally, I do not fall in love as easily as I used to when I was younger. But perhaps this is exactly the reason for which I notice it sooner. From a physiological standpoint, falling in love is a kind of intoxication. I feel the blood run to my head and I get all enthusiastic, yet I still manage to concentrate on what is said in a conversation, including those with the woman with whom I am in love. Trust me, this is far better than the way it used to be. Even a decade ago, I would feel dizzy and be unable to concentrate on anything that was said in a conversation. Maybe this is just a sign for a maturer kind of falling in love. When you are young, everything is new and exciting, but at the same time confusing and more or less overtaxing. When you grow older, however, you still feel the excitement, but your emotions cannot and will not run wild and out of control as easily – unless you allow them to, of course. You just learn to control them to a degree, and I perceive this as encouraging rather than disillusioning, let alone disappointing.
Am I the only one?