Das feurige Männlein
The Fiery Manikin

Modern Times CD


The fiery manikin rides through the world,
sets fire to each forest, sets fire to each field,
rides this way and that way through village and town –
Oh, if only the manikin could hold his horse down!

But this horse’s pace is lightning-fleet,
he’ll swig down men’s blood – that gives him the heat,
he’ll gorge on men’s flesh - that keeps up his strength
to cover thousands of miles within a day’s length.

Where’er his hooves clatter, there greenery dies,
no woman, no child sees the sun in their eyes,
there, life’ s not worth the price of tin-plate
and the houses burn down like the wood in your grate.
They lament full of woe, the people, trees and the stones,
but the manikin just laughs in horrible tones.

Und wie mag die Liebe
And how was it that love

Modern Times CD


And how was it that love came to you?
Did it come like light from the sun or flowers,
did it come as in prayer? Tell us.

A happy chance, aglow, freed itself from the heavens
and with folded wings hung hugely on
to my blossoming soul.

Transient Things

Modern Times CD

von Hoffmanswaldau

Where are the hours of that sweet time
when first I felt
your loveliness
bind me to you?
They have passed - it remains but to say,
all pleasure’s fleeting.

Immersed in joy, I swam;
The hand of love
wove me a dress of silk.
The leaf has turned.
I walk in sorrow,
I weep now and know
that love and sunlight
always are full of woe and cloud.

Der Wiesenbach
The Meadow Stream

Modern Times CD


Cool-and-clearer! Not a sound
as you take the moving current
over moss and bright stones,
equally at home
in bush or meadow.

Leaves, flowers, fruit bob
From time to time, carried away by you
Like lost thoughts
Dreamt by a great dreamer.

Vöglein Schwermut
The Melancholy Bird

Modern Times CD


A little black bird flies all over the world,
Its song so deathly sad ........
whoever hears it, then hears nothing else,
whoever hears it does away with himself,
and would look no more on the sun.
Mid deepest night, mid deepest night
it rests perched on Death’s finger.
He strokes it quietly, encouraging,
"Fly, little bird, fly my little bird!"
And again it flies, piping, all over the world.

Drei Prinzessinnen
Three Princesses

Modern Times CD


Three princesses in the land of Sym
stood on the white edge of the sea,
looking out for a speeding ship
that would carry them far off
to the shores where freedom dwells.

Three princesses in the land of Sym
raised their hands to the gods,
imploring them to fulfil
their desires, but no gods
were listening to their urgent, troubled pleas.

Three princesses in the land of Sym
lamented day and night,
but no-one heard their plaint.
Their beauty faded like flowers,
Their voices were quenched like a light.

Three princesses in the land of Sym
are squatting, old and grey, at the edge of the sea,
their lips form witless words,
their hands play with the sand
And they sprinkle it in their hair, believing
It to be the flowers of summer.

Abend auf dem Fluss
Evening on the River

Modern Times CD


Only a single cloud is crossing the evening sky;
Only one boat is floating on the river - I am in it alone.

Now the young moon is rising; a round, silver shield;
In the river, in ghostly motion, I can see its magic image.

Then the dark cloud grows light and floats in sweet peace –
Then I feel all pain recede. O moon, that was you!

Ein Rosenzweig
A Spray of Roses

Modern Times CD


It was in the South. At night. An alley.
I stepped out of your house and shut the door
and turned to look up once more;
then a flower stem from your attic fell
to the pavement – I stooped quickly
to take in your breath still warm from your mouth
on the heavy roses whose scented greeting bridged
all the sorrows of our brief parting.

Weaving Mist

Modern Times CD


In the wood, the mist-weaver weaves
a white shirt for his wife.
She stands, slender as a birch,
in a crevice of grey rock.

In the wind, her diffuse-green foliate tresses
tremble quietly and quiver.
She sees he’s plagued by her shivering.
The mist-weaver weaves and weaves.


Modern Times CD


A nervous person in a meadow
would be far better off without it,
and so should look at how else he might
(mostly at least) lead his life .
No sooner has he lain down on the grass
than an ant, grasshopper, fly, and worm,
and the aggressive bumblebee approach.
A nervous person in a meadow would,
therefore, do better to get up again
and search out instead a different paradise
(for example) elsewhere – to visit.

Die zwei Trichter
The Two Funnels

Modern Times CD


Two funnels wander through the night.
Through their bodies’ narrowing shafts
white moonlight floods
silent and clear
on their path
and so

Die zwei Wurzeln
The two Roots

Modern Times CD


The roots of two pine trees,
One young and one old
Are in conversation, so we’re told.

What is making the tree tops
is, for those below, topic of the day.

An ancient squirrel
Sitting there
Is knitting stockings
For the pair.

The one says: clickety click.
The other: clackety clack.
Enough for now, but I’ll be back.

Der Wind des Herbstes
The Autumn Wind

Modern Times CD

Wright Maurice

The wind of autumn wafts the delicate scent
Of lotus flowers to us through the night.
The sea lies shining, bright as crystal;
Wholly cloudless, opening out, the sky
Reveals the glowing stars at night,
And moonlight flows down, cool and clear.

Gib ein Lied mir wieder
Sing a song for me once more

Modern Times CD


Sing a song for me once more
In the clear tones of your happy days –
As you know, peace has left me
And my hand is troubled.

When dark minds reflect,
images appear, rare, exalted,
But the illuminating memory is missing;
The colour, bright and happy.

When sickly minds are talking,
Then flattering tones sooth,
Then the voice is low and rich,
But for singing, it is not so beautiful.

The Time of Rain

Modern Times CD

Wright Maurice

Laden with blossom the branches
Of the trees bow low,
Silver raindrops
Sparkle all over.
A sultry scent pervades
The humid space
And fills the lovers
With longing for each other.

Afrikanischer Tanz
African Dance

Modern Times CD

Hughes Langston

The tom-toms thunder,
The tom-toms roll,
Thunder and roll, rousing the blood.
Dance! Dance!
Swathed in night, a girl
Turns quietly
In the circle of light.
Small clouds of smoke
Round the fire.
And the tom-toms roll,
And the tom-toms thunder,
Roll and thunder, arousing your blood!

Ballade von der Krüppelgarde
Ballad of the Cripple Brigade

Modern Times CD

Weber David

We are the Cripple Brigade,
the best brigade in the world;
we number a thousand million
if you count those who are dead.

The dead can’t come along with us,
they have to stay in their graves,
and we cannot march in step
as mostly we have only one leg.

Our Lieutenant is one of the dead,
our Captain has got a stump,
our Field Marshall crawls along the ground,
now that he’s only a trunk.

We are the brigade of cripples
and every second man
is fitted with a hefty bit of wood
strapped onto the bare bone.

They said: These prosthetics
are much better than legs and arms.
They said: The blind, using fingers,
read better - works like a charm.

And if only the dead could recover,
They’d put them in harness as well,
Rather than let them hopelessly
rot in a mass grave where they fell.
They said: Right, off you go again,
back to work and don’t you skive.
They said: These artificial limbs
allow the production-line to thrive.

You, just wait; even limping,
we’ll march smartly against you.
And so what, if as well as our left
We’ll all be losing our right leg too.

We are the Cripple Brigade,
the very strongest corps,
and we are in the front line -
Revolution to the fore!

Die Ballade von Nigger Jim
The Ballad of Nigger Jim

Modern Times CD

Weber David

When Nigger Jim came out of the jungle
And bought a ticket for the tram
Between Haarlem and Manhattan,
The men yelled, Off with you!
What, dirty nigger, are you doing here
Among our smart white shirt cuffs?
And they grabbed him by the collar
And threw him off the tram
Down onto the sidewalk.
For the gentlemen with the lighter skin
Had, they said, built the town
And they’d also built the lovely tram.

That’s why there is a section for white gentlemen
That’s why there is a section for black gentlemen
That is why there is a section in the tram car, young man, you take note.

When Nigger Jim was in a jazz band,
His bar was the most beautiful bar
Between Frisco and Manhattan,
There they drank mightily, the powerful gentlemen,
And loved to hear the sad songs
And threw up all over their smart white shirt cuffs.
They were all as if spell-bound by songs and whisky
And didn’t listen to the new text
Jim had composed for them.

Why is there a section for white gentlemen?
Why is there a section for black gentlemen?
In the tram, gentlemen, tell me.

War came and prohibition,
And many drew their last wage.
Jim moved south, there they screamed:
He has kissed a Lady, the beast!
And they threw him into three lots of chains.
But before they hanged him
To the sound of biblical hymns,
Jim asked the priest
Whether the gentlemen with lighter skin
Finally had also built Heaven?
For, oh that would be bad.

Surely there’s a section there for white gentlemen,
Surely there’s a section there for black gentlemen
In the tramway that goes to Paradise!

Bänkel vom Business
The Lay of Business

Modern Times CD


Fritz was a business genius
And engaged to Ann-Marie.
But only till yesterday.
Yesterday there was a row.
Learn from this, Sisters.
And, all of you, do likewise!
This is what happened:
Ann-Marie came to the office,
Went into his room.
He was being nice, as always,
When the telephone rang.
Fritz jumped up and cried, "Sorry!
My dear, business calls,
Please, do let go of me!
In Birmingham copper is down,
In New York brass is up!
You know I’ll never forget you,
But business calls, etc.
If I don’t catch the phone,
My darling treasure, sorry!
Sorry, we’ll soon be done."
Soon after that Ann-Marie

Was sitting on his knee again.
Five minutes later there was a repeat
Of that infernal row,
The ugly sound of the ring-tone.
"Switch it off!" the fiancée entreats,
"I think it’s an insult,
It’s noisy and hideously intrusive.”
But Fritz said gently: "Sorry!
The telephone is important.
I need it for my business.
Please, I beg you, let me go!
I’ll just have two quick words
With Vanderbilt and Ford.
You do know I never forget you,
But, business calls etc etc.
If I miss a call
I’ll lose the business!
My darling treasure, I’m so sorry!
I’m sorry, I’ll soon be done."
The normally so gentle Ann-Marie
Became furious.
And she shouted, her face full of anger,
"Go to your ting-a-ling!
Thank you very much! I’m off! Here is
The engagement ring! It’s all over, my man!
You will never set eyes on me again!
Not for two seconds will I
Maintain a wrong connection!
Just listen to what I still have to say to you,
Then I shall stop! Conclusively!
You are well and truly in love with your Business
so why do you need a wife?
Love, your mind, sport, jazz,
All these you abandoned long ago!
Meanwhile, even while you’re kissing
You’re conducting business on the phone,
Why don’t you get engaged to your telephone,
Then, my Napoleon of Business,
Your betrothed won’t run away from you!
Good bye, goodbye now, we’re finished!

Die Ballade vom Seemann Kuttel Daddeldu
The Ballad of Sailor Kuttel Daddeldu

Modern Times CD


A ship sailed into Le Havre
From Sidney, at three minutes past eleven at night!
On the quay there was the smell of raspberry vinegar
And of the cadavers of dogs!

Kuttel Daddeldu went ashore.
He knew the rue Albani!
He knew just about all the places in the port.
As there was a girl standing in front of the first house
He got himself a dose of clap in the first house.

Because, of course, it didn’t affect him straight away,
He went on, cruising ill-founded for the long haul.
Eighteen month’s pay he’d saved up.
At number six he gave a good time to Elwie and Kätchen,
At number eight a new, strict, leather-bosomed woman
got him drunk.
Next door at Pierre’s there are no less than seven comely girls,
Not counting the one with the plastic genitalia!

Daddeldu, the old sailor boy-Kuttel,
Gave away the albatross bones,
The elephant and the Saragossa bottles.
He’d actually promised it all to Mary,
The other Mary, she was his proper fiancée.

Daddeldu – Hallo, Daddeldu,
Daddelu became merry and noisy.
He tried, distorting his face terribly,
Partout, to sing a negro-song:
And Blue Boys, Blue, but nothing came out.

It was impossible to get Daddeldu to the guard post.
Daddeldu, Duddel Kuddelmuttel, Kaddeldu
Woke in surprise, singing, at four in the morning
In between a nose bleed and Pomm de Schwall on the pier.
Daddeldu bullied the steersman for a loan,
Sweated out all the alcohol
And had a wash.

In the afternoon Daddledu went ashore again
and bought a set of reindeer antlers, a snake-skin,
two palm fans and Eskimo shoes.
That was from Australia for his woman.

Bänkel vom Klatsch
Song of the Gossips

Modern Times CD


Mary says that Daisy knows that Grace saw it quite plain,
when Lizzy went at ten last night with Bobby yet again......
If you ask Bobby, were you with Lizzy yester night,
he’ll hold his tongue, but his eye will twinkle on the right.
Ladies and Gentlemen, hear this and know,
Women gossip, men are discreet – ever so.

Baby thinks, Beate believes what Tanja’s telling her,
that Lil had gone with Bert ages before Hanno wedded her.
If you ask Bert whether he’d really been with Lilly,
he won’t say, just glance at his bed reflecting, will he.
Ladies and Gentlemen, hear this and know,
Women gossip, men are discreet – ever so.

Elli swears that Carry lies that Lola hadn’t said
that Sundays Ruth at Peter’s was naked on his bed ...
If you ask Peter has Ruth got lovely curves,
he’ll be looking at his Rubens, but saying not a word.
Ladies and Gentlemen, hear this and know,
Women gossip, men are discreet – ever so.

To end the song, bong the gong ..........

Die Ballade vom Sammy Lee
The Ballad of Sammy Lee

Modern Times CD


What do you know about Sammy Lee?
Nothing, Sir?
Do you know what God is? More or less.
Sammy Lee is three times more!
All last night fifty young girls spent the hours till day
wakeful and anxious.
They all said their prayers:
"Wearily I go to bed ...........,
Dear God, see to it tomorrow
That Sammy Lee will like me.
God, you created us girls
Slim and slender and straight as an arrow.
We wont forget.
But Sammy Lee! Sammy Lee!
He’s holding a Girls’ Parade tomorrow;
The misery if his eye’s not in!
Sammy Lee is terribly strict,

Dear God, and Amen.
And morning came.
Slouching against the joanna is Sammy Lee.
"Quiet, Ladies!"
Charly hits the keys.
Bessie lifts her knees.
All around, in silence,
Fifty slim girls are sitting round in threes;
They all want to be Girls at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Going through the head of each one of them:
My girl, you know it’s now or never!
Bessie is dancing for Sammy Lee,
Turning to the song "In my Ohio Home".
And Sammy Lee is paying attention.

If he laughs, that’ll be it,
Then Bessie is alright.
What does Sammy Lee do?
He rejects Bessie out of hand -
Sammy Lee waves Bessie away.
Poor Bessie! ...... how could he not like Bessie?!
In amazement, the Lord of All Creation from afar
Sees this happening on his favourite star.
Watching through his bins, he mutters:
"I’d done a good job on Bessie, I thought;
Now today I feel such a fool.
If I continue to go on falling short,
I’ll be the object of such ridicule.
Sammy Lee is too hard on me."
Sammy Lee, Sammy Lee, Sammy Lee.