Thursday, 18 October 2018

Gerrit Engelke (1890 – 1918) – German

Born in Hannover, Gerrit studied art and then went to live in Denmark.  

When the First World War broke out, Gerrit returned to Germany and joined the German Army in October 1914. He was awarded the Iron Cross and was wounded in 1917. 

On 11th October 1918, Gerrit was wounded again, taken prisoner of war by the British and died in a British Field Hospital near Cambrai on 13th October 1918.

An den Tod (Trans: To Death)

Mich aber schone, Tod,
Mir dampft noch Jugend blutstromrot, –
Noch hab ich nicht mein Werk erfüllt,
Noch ist die Zukunft dunstverhüllt –
Drum schone mich, Tod.
Wenn später einst, Tod,
Mein Leben verlebt ist, verloht
Ins Werk – wenn das müde Herz sich neigt,
Wenn die Welt mir schweigt, –
Dann trage mich fort, Tod.

Author AC Benus has kindly translated that poem for us:

Addressed to Death

Death, treat me with some care,
For my youth's a blood-red affair –
Much work remains still unfulfilled
In hazy times I've yet to build –
Then please Death, take care. 

If later you'd care,
A life lived in work and despair,
Against which a weary heart might lean,
Take when the world's serene –
For then Death, I won't care. 

AC Benus is author of this book about another German WW1 poet “The Thousandth Regiment: A Translation of and Commentary on Hans Ehrenbaum-Degele’s War Poems” by AC Benus (AC Benus, San Francisco, 2020). Along with Hans's story, the book includes original poems as well as translations.    ISBN: 978-1657220584