Ceija Stojka: "I do not want to live through another war" (From German)

You were probably expecting me to translate another Yiddish poem for April 16th. I'm not. Even in remembrance of the Jewish Holocaust, it is important not to forget that Jews were not the only victims of a Nazi genocide. Today's poem is by the Austrian-Romani poet Ceija Stojka, a survivor of the Nazi Holocaust - specifically of the Nazi genocide against the Roma. (I had wanted to try my hand at translating a Romani poem, but my reading knowledge of the language is still too shaky to attempt it, so I'm going with a Rom who wrote in German instead.) 

My translation of this poem is freer than modern translation aesthetics would normally allow. But the subtle wordplay and soundplay of which Stojka was a master seemed to call out for some license. 

A collection of all my translations of poetry relating to the Holocaust can be found here . 

This translation is also dedicated to the Romani writer and blogger Qristina Zavačková whose eloquent voice has taught me much that I would otherwise have been clueless about, and whose dedication to - and concern for - the voices of others less audible, deserves a salute from the entire internet. Her site can be found here.


"I do not want to live through another war"
By Ceija Stojka
Translated by A.Z. Foreman
       
I do not want to go through another war,
So there shouldn't be any more.
I have survived too many chills,
I have seen mothers weep.
To those poor people, a war can bring
But pain and suffering
That others do not know about.
They don't want to know a thing
As they aren't really suffering.
War is always nearer the enemy,
Spreads sorrow on both sides.
War is breaker of hearts
And carnivore of flesh.
War feasts on flesh that tastes so good
Topped off with a dessert of blood.
The Homeless number more and more
Then are scattered across the world and aimless
As their dead on the field
Lie nameless.
Therefore, dear God, let there be not
Another war.
For only then can we all happily
Live evermore.

The Original:

"Ich möchte keinen Krieg mehr erleben"
Ceija Stojka

Ich möchte keinen Krieg mehr erleben
darum soll es auch keinen mehr geben
ich habe zuviel Kälte erlebt
ich habe Mütter weinen gesehen.
Ein Krieg bringt denen Armen
nur Kummer und Leid
und die anderen wissen nicht Bescheid
sie wollen es nicht wissen
denn ihnen ist ja kein Leid.
Der Krieg steht dem Gegner immer sehr nah
und schafft Kummer auf beiden Seiten.
Ein Krieg ist auch ein Herzenbrecher
und zugleich ein Fleischfresser
er verzehrt es mit großem Genuß
und als Dessert bekommt er noch Blut.
Die Heimatlosen werden immer mehr
verstreut sind sie dann auf der ganzen Welt
und namenlos liegen ihre Toten
auf dem Feld.
Darum lieber Gott soll es keinen Krieg
nie wieder geben.
Denn nur so können wir alle
glücklich leben

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