translated from the German as "Three Professors" by Marcus Bales
Der erste hat ein Haar gespalten
Un einen Vortrag daruber gehalten.
Der zweit fugt es neu zusammen
Und muss die Ansicht des ersten verdammen.
Im buche des dritten kann man lesen,
Es sei nicht das richtige Haar gewesen.
The first professor split a hair
And lectured as it withered there.
The second fixed the hair and cursed
The senseless theories of the first.
The third one´s book proved, I recall,
They had the wrong hair after all.
Ludwig Fulda was a popular playwright during the Empire and the Weimar Republic. He wrote poems and plays, and was active as a translator. He fought against government censorship, particularly as one of the joint founders of the Goethe federation in Berlin, and organized the two the first German performances of Henrik Ibsen's "The Ghosts," in Augsburg, officially not public performances, in order to get around the censorship. "The Talisman" ranks among his most important pieces for the stage. He worked as an important translator, too, particularly of the works of Molière. His Poems was published in 1890.
On his 70th birthday, in the summer 1932, he was awarded the Goethe medal for science and art by President Paul von Hindenburg. On May 5, 1933 it was rescinded on grounds that Fulda was a Jew. Fulda died at the age of 76 in 1939 in Berlin, waiting for a residence permit to the US, where his son Karl Hermann had emigrated in 1936.
Marcus Bales: Not much is known about Marcus Bales except he hosts a weekly literary event at Gallery 324 in the Galleria in downtown Cleveland every Saturday at noon. His poems have not appeared in Poetry Magazine or The New Yorker.
[Calque will be periodically featuring new translations of poetry or short prose. These translations will run for a week. The feature will then be given a permanent link in the translators page. To submit single pieces for online publication, email us.]