Across seven bridges

Bruce bridge in San Diego
Sometimes I would walk the street without remorse
Sometimes wishing back my littl’ rocking horse
Sometimes I don’t find a resting spot
Sometimes I bolt the doors behind me shut
Sometimes I spew fire and sometimes ice
Sometimes I don’t know that I am wise
Sometimes I am tired right at morn
And then I seek solace in a song:

Across seven bridges you shall go
Seven years will come and leave
Seven times you are the ash of grieve 
Then once again your light will glow

Sometimes ’t seems the clock of life stands still
Sometimes ’t seems you’re loping in a hamster wheel
Sometimes you are lame on itchy feet
Sometimes you squat quiet on a seat
Sometimes you grab for the golden orb
Sometimes you see your lucky stars send blur
Sometimes you take, when you can endow
Sometimes you hate, who you truly love: 

Across seven bridges you shall go
Seven years will come and leave
Seven times you are the ash of grieve
Then once again your light will glow

1978. This song was produced for the radio in East Germany by the rockband Karat, who also toured in West Germany. Most East German bands never had the chance to tour in other countries. The West German singer Peter Maffay heard the song at one of their concerts, asked whether he could do a cover version, and made the song even more popular. After the German unification, they performed together. It has been covered by many to this day. The lyrics were written by Helmut Richter. The song has its own Wikipedia entry.

My English translation has gone through a number of versions. I am very grateful to the musician Tillmann Spiegl for his help with making some lines more singable.


Karat - Über sieben Brücken musst du gehn (1978) 

Manchmal geh' ich meine Straße ohne Blick, 
manchmal wünsch' ich mir mein Schaukelpferd zurück, 
manchmal bin ich ohne Rast und Ruh, 
manchmal schliess ich alle Türen nach mir zu. 
Manchmal ist mir kalt und manchmal heiss, 
manchmal weiss ich nicht mehr, was ich weiss, 
manchmal bin ich schon am Morgen müd, 
und dann such ich Trost in einem Lied: 

Über sieben Brücken musst du geh'n, 
Sieben dunkle Jahre überstehn, 
Sieben Mal wirst du die Asche sein, 
Aber einmal auch der helle Schein. 

Manchmal scheint die Uhr des Lebens still zu steh'n, 
manchmal scheint man immer nur im Kreis zu geh'n, 
manchmal ist man wie vom Fernweh krank, 
manchmal sitzt man still auf einer Bank. 
Manchmal greift man nach der ganzen Welt, 
manchmal meint man, dass der Glücksstern fällt, 
manchmal nimmt man, wo man lieber gibt, 
manchmal hasst man das, was man doch liebt. 

Über sieben Brücken musst Du geh'n, 
Sieben dunkle Jahre überstehn, 
Sieben Mal wirst du die Asche sein, 
Aber einmal auch der helle Schein. 

If you have the interest, time, and energy to read more of the Just texts you find them in blog order on this website. Please comment on what you associate with them, what you like, what you dislike, what you read in them, how they make you feel …

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Hundrest poem without taers

My English translation

In 2012, I heard Dragica Rajčić read her poetry. She is Croatian and lives in Switzerland. Her volume of poetry is in German; she also writes in Croatian, which I cannot read. I did not like the English translation, also presented at the reading, because it had eliminated all the idiosyncracies of the original. I believe it is the little nicks that make this poem.

And if you like the just texts — poems I wrote or translated, prose that often has a rhythm — they are, in no particular order, under Just texts.

Each of us

This one took me almost ten years. I am struggling with its simplicity, it’s unusual rhythm, its ancient message … and always: its realization. A woman sent me the Russian original, I produced a German translation, which also transferred the ABBA rhyme. In English, my second language, I skipped the rhyme to make it my own. And I love repetition; practice needs repetition. I must have written seven times seven versions. I hope I am getting closer to the meaning.


If you have the time and energy to read more of these texts you find them in blog order on this website. Let me know what you associate with them, what you like, what you dislike, what you read in them, how they make you feel …