Translation/ Übersetzung
by / von Walter A. Aue

Franz Kie▀ling:

Das neue Wappentier

Den letzten Drachen schlug St. Georg tot,
die letzten Adler sind schon abgezählt.
Wo ist der Löwe, der uns noch bedroht? -
So sei der Mensch zum Wappentier gewählt!

Denn was die Löwenpranke nicht vermag,
vermag die Menschenhand, die nicht erbebt.
Mit einer Unterschrift führt sie den Schlag,
und nie vergißt ihn, wer ihn überlebt.

Er, den die Arche trug zum Ararat,
schont nicht der Waise und der Witwe Haus.
Er, der die Sonne nicht erschaffen hat,
löscht sie in hunderttausend Augen aus.

Franz Kie▀ling:

The New Heraldic Beast

The last of dragons Saint George felled on sight,
the last of eagles' flight will soon have ceased.
Where is the lion that induces fright?
So choose the human as heraldic beast!

For what the lion's clutches must forgo
is done by human hand that trembles not:
With but one signature it strikes the blow
that no one, who lived on, has yet forgot.

Man, who survived the deluge in an ark,
spares not the house in which the widow cries.
Man, who could not create one solar spark,
erases it in hundred thousand eyes.

You may well ask, who is Franz Kie▀ling? Perhaps you tried to google the name. I did, to no avail.

And I have to admit:
Wen Google vergißt,
der ist schon vergessen!

Ah, sorry for that:
Whom Google forgets,
is truly forgotten!

So why did I remember? Because one of my old books - Deutsche Lyrik - Gedichte seit 1945, Horst Bingel, editor; Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag (DTV), Munich, 1963 - contained several of Kie▀ling's poems. And I thought these were admirable, both in format and content.

Do I always practice 'that personal thing'? Well, most of the time. Of course. We all do. [I am just the one who happens to admit it.]

So, if I should have forgotten to mention that fact in my haphazard introductory remarks, let me say it again: There is nothing systematic or professional in my selection of poems. Yes, most are about autumn and most are rhymed. But then, that happens to be what I like...

But lets get back to Franz Kie▀ling. All I know (from the DTV anthology) is that he was a civil servant in Vienna. And from his poem Bäume (Trees) I know that he expected to be buried near Vienna in the 20th century, without much fanfare or memory...

Sit tibi terra levis! And may one of your beloved trees give solace to your sleep!

N.B., almost a year later: There ARE people who know more than I do. Incredible! And they are very kind. They even read my websites and comment. So - many thanks, Mui! - I now know that Franz Kie▀ling died on February 20th in Korneuburg (near Vienna) and was buried in Vienna's Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery).

Gee, this is getting morbid. Vienna's Zentralfriedhof is a sad sight: hard to get to; hard to get around in; very, very large. It also contains "Ehrengräber" (honor graves) for most of Vienna's famous residents. In fact, quite a few of those the world now calls its own (and rarely Austrian) were initially laid to rest in some of the local and appropriately initimate district cemeteries beloved by the Viennese, like for instance the Hernalser Friedhof mentioned elsewhere on this site. But later, for reasons of municipal management's pride and spite, they were disinterred and transferred to the "entern Grind" (the boondocks). Most had a hard enough time in their life, and now that... Ah, well...

Want to hear a typical - though politically (and factually) incorrect - Viennese joke about the Zentralfriedhof? "The Zentralfriedhof is only half as big as Zurich, but twice as much fun."

Sorry, Zürich, you are definitely better than your reputation! And if I want euthanasia, I shall hasten into your arms. Because the Zentralfriedhof is infinitely worse. So there...


Further poems by Franz Kießling
Weitere Gedichte von Franz Kießling

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To other war poems on this site, by Bash˘, Dickinson, Dickinson again, Hardy, Helmberg-Lanner, Heym, Owen, Robinson, Tennyson, Ungaretti and Yeats.

First posted: December 2003
Last updated: January 2008

N.B.: The frame around the poems shows
a stray cat we call "Mister Mephisto",
which we try to feed over the winter.
Want to see the original photograph?

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