Inspired by our recent visit to Berlin: my translation of a work by a poet who grew up and lived there as a young woman before fleeing to the USA in 1938. After World War 2 she lived in Israel, and died in 1975 in Zurich, on the return journey from her last visit to Berlin.
Monologue of an Emigrant.
Once I had a lovely homeland
So sang the refugee Heine
His stood on the banks of the Rhine
Mine on The Mark’s home sand
To have a (see above!) was once the norm
It was eaten by plague, ground to dust in the storm.
O, rose of the moor and of the heath,
Strength Through Joy put you to death
The nightingales were struck dumb
Looked around for a safer home
And only the cry of vultures was heard
High over the ranks of those interred
It will never again be as it was
Even if the outcome was changed
Even if the sweet fairy bell chimed
Even if the sword no longer clanged
To me it sometimes seems as if
My heart will break and more.
Now and then I suffer homesickness:
But I do not know what for…