All Blog Posts By Topic, Poetry

Tochter von Berlin (A Poem)

I finally recorded a rough cut of the first song I’ve ever written in German, entitled “Tochter von Berlin,” with my band, Irene & Reed. The music begins with a resurrection of a little Beethoven and Liberace, blended with drums resembling a death march and a mostly instrumental chorus. Weeded throughout are verses in German, which I found challenging to sing due to the different placement of syllables and breaths, as well as overall pronunciation. Speaking German is much different than singing in the language, even though I’m fluent in conversational Deutsch. Thank goodness my German mother is a willing editor of spelling and style! So, here’s what I came up with. The English translation follows.

“Tochter von Berlin” (c) Poem and song with words by Leslie Benson of Irene & Reed, 2010:

Ich bin nicht
wie andere Leute.
Ich bin nicht
wie alle anderen.

Ich allein, eine
Tochter von Berlin
und von

In Xenia geboren,
die Stadt des Teufelswind —
in Nürnberg gelebt —
keine Stadt fuer ein Kind.

Guck nur in mein Gesicht,
da kannst du alles sehen
von meinem Vaterland
und Mutterland zusammen.

Ich bin nur reich
wo du auch bist.
Ich bin nur reich
wo du auch bist.

Und hier bleibe ich
fuer alle die ich vermiss.
Ich bin nur reich
wo du auch bist.

English translation of “Daughter of Berlin”:

I’m not like other people.
I’m not like all the others.
(I’m) only myself, a daughter of Berlin,
and a daughter of America.

Born in Xenia,
the land of the devil winds,
(I) lived in Nürnberg,
the land not for any child.

Just look into my face;
there you’ll see everything —
from my Fatherland
and Motherland, together.

I’m only wealthy
where you are.
(I’m only rich
where you are).

And here I stay
for all those whom I miss.
I’m only rich,
where you are.