"an elegant tapestry of quotations, musings, aphorisms, and autobiographical reflections" (James Atlas)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Poetry in quilting

Today the temperatures will climb into the high 30s, low 40s even in some places, so I won't be moving far from the air conditioner! Good opportunity to do some quilty things.
I found these two fabrics recently, and since I love any fabric that has script, typing etc. on it, I just had to get some. These two were especially welcome because the writing on both is in German.
The purple fabric has gold lettering, and is a type of hand writing similar to the one my German grandmother used. Oma went to school before the introduction of Suetterlin-script, and used the Kurrent script taught in schools then. They are very similar, and I think the gold lettering here is the later version.
My sister and I always found it very hard to decipher Oma's letters and recipes, and I still have difficulty reading this. As far as I can make out, these are just phrases jumbled together to make up the fabric. Pretty cool though.
As for the other one, It is not an 'official' type of script, just very elaborate. I deciphered some of it, and entered a couple of the phrases into Google, and hey presto! found out that these were some of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's poems! One of them is called "Eigentum" (Possession). Here's the original -
Ich weiß, daß mir nichts angehört
Als der Gedanke, der ungestört
Aus meiner Seele will fließen,
Und jeder günstige Augenblick,
Den mich ein liebendes Geschick
Von Grund aus läßt genießen.

English translation (1814)
I FEEL that I'm possess'd of nought,
Saving the free unfetterd thought
Which from my bosom seeks to flow,
And each propitious passing hour
That suffers me in all its power
A loving fate with truth to know.
I thought Goethe needs a modern overhaul, some of the language the old translators used is archaic and interpretive. So, here's my translation, which doesn't flow like the old one, but I think it makes more sense:
My own possession
I know nothing belongs to me
if not the thought that flows 
freely from my soul, 
and every moment in which, by a kind fate,
I might delight.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful fabric Donna...love fabric with writing on it! very appropriate that you found some with German script! I understand your version of the poem...so much better than the earlier version!!