Der Panther

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)
Im Jardin des Plantes, Paris


Sein Blick ist vom Vorübergehn der Stäbe
so müd geworden, dass er nichts mehr hält.
Ihm ist, als ob es tausend Stäbe gäbe
und hinter tausend Stäben keine Welt.

Der weiche Gang geschmeidig starker Schritte,
der sich im allerkleinsten Kreise dreht,
ist wie ein Tanz von Kraft um eine Mitte,
in der betäubt ein großer Wille steht.

Nur manchmal schiebt der Vorhang der Pupille
sich lautlos auf -. Dann geht ein Bild hinein,
geht durch der Glieder angespannte Stille -
und hört im Herzen auf zu sein.


The Colour of His Hair

A. E. Houseman (1859-1936)

Oh who is that young sinner with the handcuffs on his wrists?
And what has he been after, that they groan and shake their fists?
And wherefore is he wearing such a conscience-stricken air?
’re taking him to prison for the colour of his hair.

'Tis a shame to human nature, such a head of hair as his;
In the good old time 'twas hanging for the colour that it is;
Though hanging isn't bad enough and flaying would be fair
For the nameless and abominable colour of his hair.

Oh a deal of pains he's taken and a pretty price he's paid
To hide his poll or dye it of a mentionable shade;
But they've pulled the beggar's hat off for the world to see and stare,
And they’re taking him to justice for the colour of his hair.

Now 'tis oakum for his fingers and the treadmill for his feet,
And the quarry-gang on portland in the cold and in the heat,
And between his spells of labour in the time he has to spare
He can curse the god that made him for the colour of his hair.


La fille du Geôlier

Emile Barateau

Dans les prisons de Nantes

Personne ne vint le "vouère"
Que la fille du geôlier

Un jour il lui demande
Et que dit-on de "moué" ?

On dit de vous en ville
Que vous serez pendu
On dit de vous en ville
Que demain vous mourrez}

Mais s'il faut qu'on me pende
Déliez-moi les pieds

La fille était jeunette
Les pieds lui a délié

Le prisonnier alerte
Dans la Loire s'est jeté
Le prisonnier alerte
Dans la Loire a sauté}

Dès qu'il fût sur les rives
Il se prit à chanter

Je chante pour les belles
Surtout celle du geôlier

Si je reviens à Nantes
Oui je l'épouserai

Dans les prisons de Nantes
Y avait un prisonnier…..



Heinz Erhardt (1909-1971)

Spinne, Spinne, spinne du
ruhig weiter, ich schau zu.
Bald kommt eine Fliege dann,
die sich nicht befreien kann,
saugst ihr Blut aus, Glied für Glied.
Wünsch dir guten Appetit!

Fliege, Fliege, fliege nur
ruhig weiter durch den Flur.
Doch die Ecke mußt du meiden,
Willst du nicht entsetzlich leiden,
denn dort hängt ein Spinnennetz!
Böse, Spinne, daß ich petz'?


The Ballad of Reading Gaol

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

He did not wear his scarlet coat,
For blood and wine are red,
And blood and wine were on his hands
When they found him with the dead,
The poor dead woman whom he loved,
And murdered in her bed.

lees verder


Le ciel est, par-dessus le toit

Paul Verlaine (1844-1896)

Le ciel est, par-dessus le toit,
Si bleu, si calme!
Un arbre, par-dessus le toit,
Berce sa palme.

La cloche, dans le ciel qu'on voit,
Doucement tinte.
Un oiseau sur l'arbre qu'on voit
Chante sa plainte.

Mon Dieu, mon Dieu, la vie est là,
Simple et tranquille.
Cette paisible rumeur-là
Vient de la ville.

Qu'as-tu fait, ô toi que voilà
Pleurant sans cesse
Dis, qu'as-tu fait, toi que voilà,
De ta jeunesse ?


Aus: Weissagungen des Bakis

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

Mauern seh' ich gestürzt und Mauern seh' ich errichtet,
Hier Gefangene, dort auch der Gefangenen viel.
Ist vielleicht nur die Welt eine großer Kerker? Und frei ist
Wohl der Tolle, der sich Ketten zu Kränzen erkiest.


The Bird and the Tree

Ridgely Torrence (1875– 1950)

BLACKBIRD, blackbird in the cage,
There's something wrong to-night.
Far off the sheriff's footfall dies,
The minutes crawl like last year's flies
Between the bars, and like an age
The hours are long to-night.

The sky is like a heavy lid
Out here beyond the door to-night.
What's that? A mutter down the street.
What's that? The sound of yells and feet.
For what you didn't do or did
You'll pay the score to-night.

No use to reek with reddened sweat,
No use to whimper and to sweat.
They've got the rope; they've got the guns,
They've got the courage and the guns;
An' that's the reason why to-night
No use to ask them any more.
They'll fire the answer through the door—
You're out to die to-night.

There where the lonely cross-road lies,
There is no place to make replies;
But silence, inch by inch, is there,
And the right limb for a lynch is there;
And a lean daw waits for both your eyes,

Perhaps you'll meet again some place.
Look for the mask upon the face;
That's the way you'll know them there—
A white mask to hide the face.
And you can halt and show them there
The things that they are deaf to now,
And they can tell you what they meant—
To wash the blood with blood. But how
If you are innocent?

Blackbird singer, blackbird mute,
They choked the seed you might have found.
Out of a thorny field you go—
For you it may be better so—
And leave the sowers of the ground
To eat the harvest of the fruit,



Robert Brasillach (1909-1945)

Je n'ai jamais eu de bijoux,
Ni bagues, ni chaîne aux poignets
Ce sont choses mal vues chez nous:
Mais on m'a mis la chaîne aux pieds.

On dit que ce n'est pas viril,
Les bijoux sont faits pour les filles:
Aujourd'hui comment se fait-il
Qu'on m'ait mis la chaîne aux chevilles ?

Il faut connaître toutes choses,
Être curieux du nouveau:
Étrange est l'habit qu'on m'impose
Et bizarre ce double anneau.

Le mur est froid, la soupe est maigre
Mais je marche, ma foi, très fier,
Tout résonnant comme un roi nègre
Paré de ses bijoux de fer.

Il fut condamné à mort à la Libération pour les opinions politiques qu'il avait soutenues pendant l'occupation. Malgré une pétition signée par les plus grands écrivains français, De Gaulle refusa de le gracier. Il fut fusille le 6 février 1945.


Singin’ the blues

Peter-Paul Zahl (1944 )

kommt bessie inne zelle
setzt sich breitbeinig
auf meine pritsche

mit ihren 220 pfund oder mehr
wischt sich n schweiss vonne stirn
und lächelt mir zu

langt untern rock
holt n klavier drunter vor
mit nem bier oben drauf

und so n alten specknacken
von pianisten aufm hocker davor
bis anne ohren voll
mit boogie-woogie

holt tief luft
holt tief luft
und fängt an
o mann
für mich ganz alleine


Hard Rock Returns to Prison from the Hospital for the Criminal Insane

Etheridge Knight (1931 -)

Hard Rock / was / "known not to take no shit
From nobody," and he had the scars to prove it:
Split purple lips, lumbed ears, welts above
His yellow eyes, and one long scar that cut
Across his temple and plowed through a thick
Canopy of kinky hair.

The WORD / was / that Hard Rock wasn't a mean nigger
Anymore, that the doctors had bored a hole in his head,
Cut out part of his brain, and shot electricity
Through the rest. When they brought Hard Rock back,
Handcuffed and chained, he was turned loose,
Like a freshly gelded stallion, to try his new status.
And we all waited and watched, like a herd of sheep,
To see if the WORD was true.

As we waited we wrapped ourselves in the cloak
Of his exploits: "Man, the last time, it took eight
Screws to put him in the Hole." "Yeah, remember when he
Smacked the captain with his dinner tray?" "He set
The record for time in the Hole--67 straight days!"
"Ol Hard Rock! man, that's one crazy nigger."
And then the jewel of a myth that Hard Rock had once bit
A screw on the thumb and poisoned him with syphilitic spit.

The testing came, to see if Hard Rock was really tame.
A hillbilly called him a black son of a bitch
And didn't lose his teeth, a screw who knew Hard Rock
From before shook him down and barked in his face.
And Hard Rock did nothing. Just grinned and looked silly,
His eyes empty like knot holes in a fence.

And even after we discovered that it took Hard Rock
Exactly 3 minutes to tell you his first name,
We told ourselves that he had just wised up,
Was being cool; but we could not fool ourselves for long,
And we turned away, our eyes on the ground. Crushed.
He had been our Destroyer, the doer of things
We dreamed of doing but could not bring ourselves to do,
The fears of years, like a biting whip,
Had cut deep bloody grooves
Across our backs.


Der Schiffskoch, ein Gefangener, singt:

Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1759-1849)

Weh, geschieden von den Meinigen,
Lieg ich hier seit vielen Wochen,
Ach und denen, die mich peinigen,
Muß ich Mahl- um Mahlzeit kochen.
Schöne purpurflossige Fische,
Die sie mir lebendig brachten,
Schauen aus gebrochenen Augen,
Sanfte Tiere muß ich schlachten.

Stille Tiere muß ich schlachten,
Schöne Früchte muß ich schälen
Und für sie, die mich verachten,
Feurige Gewürze wählen.
Und wie ich gebeugt beim Licht in
Süß- und scharfen Düften wühle,
Steigen auf ins Herz der Freiheit
Ungeheuere Gefühle!
Weh, geschieden von den Meinigen,
Lieg ich hier seit wieviel Wochen!
Ach und denen, die mich peinigen,
Muß ich Mahl- um Mahlzeit kochen!


The Old Prison

Judith Wright (1915 - 2000)

The rows of cells are unroofed,
a flute for the wind's mouth,
who comes with a breath of ice
from the blue caves of the south.

O dark and fierce day:
the wind like an angry bee
hunts for the black honey
in the pits of the hollow sea.

Waves of shadow wash
the empty shell bone-bare,
and like a bone it sings
a bitter song of air.

Who built and laboured here?
The wind and the sea say
-Their cold nest is broken
and they are blown away-

They did not breed nor love,
each in his cell alone
cried as the wind now cries
through this flute of stone.


schorf 1 bis 3

Yaak Karsunke (1934- )

2- woran man kommunisten erkennt

bevor sie umgebracht werden
rufen sie nocheinmal laut:
es lebe die freiheit

ihre genossen
die noch in den zellen
auf die eigene hinrichtung warten
singen: die internationale

so in de lagern
der nationalsozialisten
so in den gefängnishöfen stalins

sie verlieren ihr leben
aber nicht ihren glauben
an den kommunismus
& nennen sich: tote auf urlaub


In Prison

William Morris (1834 - 1896)

Wearily, drearily,
Half the day long,
Flap the great banners
High over the stone;
Strangely and eerily
Sounds the wind's song,
Bending the banner-poles.

While, all alone,
Watching the loophole's spark,
Lie I, with life all dark,
Feet tether'd, hands fetter'd
Fast to the stone,
The grim walls, square-letter'd
With prison'd men's groan.

Still strain the banner-poles
Through the wind's song,
Westward the banner rolls
Over my wrong.