»It was dark, the moon was shining bright« – a German poem
There is a German poem called »Dunkel war’s, der Mond schien helle«, in which the first line has been dedicated to the Moon and which boasts special features. For one thing, nobody knows who wrote the poem, which is quite unusual coming from the »land of poets and thinkers«. For another thing, it is based on the principle of the »oxymoron«. This is a figure of speech that juxtaposes elements that are contradictory or that are created from terms which are mutually exclusive. Straight away, the first line reveals this principle, because it cannot be »dark«, when the Moon is shining »bright«.
Here are the first two verses with the intention of a free translation, where we especially tried to restore the alternate rhyme (please forgive us the lack of poetic meter):
Dunkel war’s, der Mond schien helle,
schneebedeckt die grüne Flur,
als ein Wagen blitzeschnelle,
langsam um die Ecke fuhr.
Drinnen saßen stehend Leute,
schweigend ins Gespräch vertieft,
Als ein totgeschoss’ner Hase
Auf der Sandbank Schlittschuh lief.
It was dark, the moon was shining bright,
the green countryside covered with snow,
when a car as fast as light,
drove around the corner – so slow.
Standing people were sitting inside a bit,
engrossed in silent conversation,
when a shot dead hare or rabbit,
ice skated on a sand bank with caution.
Maybe someone knows an »oxymoron« from an English poem and can add it into our comment section below? The Moon will certainly read it with a big grin, if he can find his glasses …