Swans Commentary » swans.com June 1, 2009  



Conversazioni: Fortress Europe
A Reply to Guido Monte's Piece of May 18, 2009
Alison Phipps, Dante Alighieri, Martin Niemöller


by Alison Phipps


Multilingual Poetry





Pic: "Glockenblume: Ring" - © 2009 Alison Phipps - Size: 15k
Glockenblume: Ring
© 2009 Alison Phipps



(Swans - June 1, 2009)  

I know I am in hell
when they come
for the young girl
given in to my

Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Kommunist.

I know I am
in hell
when they

Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.


I know I am
in hell
when they take her
in the night
by force.

Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten,
habe ich nicht protestiert;
ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.

I know that this
is hell
the longing
to hold her
sobbing body
in my arms

Als sie die Juden holten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Jude.

I do not
need to think to
know I am in hell
There is no need for

Als sie mich holten,
gab es keinen mehr, der protestierte.

Noi siam venuti al loco ov' io t'ho detto
che tu vedrai le genti dolorose
c'hanno perduto il ben dell' intelletto.

...the woeful people
who have lost
the good of
the intellect.

This is true
this is hell.



Martin Niemöller (1892- 1984) was a German Protestant pastor and social activist.

Dante's verses from Inferno, III.

Picture: Glockenblume: Ring, by Alison Phipps (2009).


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About the Author

Alison Phipps is Professor of Languages and Intercultural Studies at the University of Glasgow.



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Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915
URL for this work: http://www.swans.com/library/art15/phipps01.html
Published June 1, 2009