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Familar poetry

I love it when a lack-of-humor and lack-of-appropriateness-originated flamewar causes somebody to point me towards a very nice display of intelligent humor. Specially when it is so close to me, to my roots, to my family and my personal history. FWIW, for several years, while I was a BBS user, I used WereWolf as my nickname. Great thanks to Frank Küster - and, of course, to Christian Morgenstern.

The Werewolf - English translation by Alexander Gross A Werewolf, troubled by his name, Left wife and brood one night and came To a hidden graveyard to enlist The aid of a long-dead philologist. "Oh sage, wake up, please don't berate me," He howled sadly, "Just conjugate me." The seer arose a bit unsteady Yawned twice, wheezed once, and then was ready. "Well, 'Werewolf' is your plural past, While 'Waswolf' is singularly cast: There's 'Amwolf' too, the present tense, And 'Iswolf,' 'Arewolf' in this same sense." "I know that--I'm no mental cripple-- The future form and participle Are what I crave," the beast replied. The scholar paused--again he tried: "A 'Will-be-wolf?' It's just too long: 'Shall-be-wolf?' 'Has-been-wolf?' Utterly wrong! Such words are wounds beyond all suture-- I'm sorry, but you have no future." The Werewolf knew better--his sons still slept At home, and homewards now he crept, Happy, humble, without apology For such folly of philology.


Joe Buck 2008-11-26 11:40:28

Interesting to compare the

Interesting to compare the English and German versions. I know a little bit of German, which I picked up because my work used to take me to Germany a lot – just enough to order in restaurants and ask basic questions (and not understand the answers). But the German has “Werwolf”; “Wer” means “who”, and the poet has fun with the cases in German grammar: Wer, Wen, Wem, Wes for “who, whom, to whom, whose”.