Soon I must leave you, my Berlin.
Must again travel into the desolate cities.
Soon I shall sit on the distant hill tops.
In dense woods carve your name.
Farewell, Berlin, with your bold fires.
Farewell, your streets full of adventures.
Who has known as much as I have of your pain.
Saloons, you, I press you to my breast.
In meadows and in pure winds peacefully
Cheerful people may glide along gleefully.
We, however, rotten and poisoned long ago,
Would deceive ourselves with this stepping into heaven
In strange cities I move about without direction.
The strange days are hollow and like chalk.
You, my Berlin, you opium rush, you bastard.
Only he who knows longing knows what I suffer.
The heat sticks closely to the gun and to the hand.
It pricks the eyes. Nothing remained forgotten.
The troops stepped, half drunk, into the fire.
The non-coms stand rigidly in front.
The glaring earth is a dead carousel.
Nothing stirs. No one drops down. No streaked sky flies.
Only rarely a hoarse barking tears apart the blue sow
Which lies on the stone barracks.
Now the army leaves me alone.
Who still pays attention to me. They got used
To my strange civilian eyes long ago.
On maneuvers I am half dreaming,
And as we march I compose poems.
But war comes. There was peace too long.
No more good times. Trumpets screech
Deep into your heart. And all the nights are burning.
You freeze in tents. You’re hot. You’re hungry.
You drown. Explode. Bleed to death. Fields rattle noisily.
Church towers fall. Flames in the distance.
Winds twitch. Large cities crash.
On the horizon cannons thunder.
Around the hill tops a white vapor rises,
And grenades burst at your head.
Now of course I put on my straw hat.
Rain has washed the evening blue.
How the world glows! I look up piously,
My hands deep in my trouser pockets.
If the morning drives me home with screams and stones,
Half dead, stripped of my skin,
Yet I’m ready for the night! I shall soon be happy!
Street lamps blaze. Kitchen maids screech!
The street looks like eternal Sunday.
Lightly summerhouse rests against summerhouse.
Chauffeurs wheel by grandly.
Three fine citizens glide by quietly.
A song flies coolly out a window.
From a distance the wind carries a child’s shout.
And in front of the villa of a duke stands,
All dressed up, like a stiff doll,
In a brightly colored scarf, red as a poppy,
The royal Bavarian legal apprentice,
Doctor of Jurisprudence Kuno Kohn.