Emergency Sunday Poetry Corner

 

Predator Poetry

By:

IrmaBecx

 

This emergency Poetry Corner is dedicated to “Big” WoT streamer Sofilein, who I happen to know got to feel up a Leopard 1 at this years Tank Fest. My jealousy remains boundless. Go follow her on Twitter and dig those super cool tank selfies.

 

So because I’ve been in such a bad fXcking mood lately, I decided to try some more original poetry to keep my mind off all my stupid first world troubles.

Well, “original” is a stretch. It’s an experiment in adaptation, and also in translation.

You may recall I said song lyrics are just poetry with music added, but that isn’t the whole truth. Lyrics are adapted to the music; they live in symbiosis with it, and if you take it away, they are left somewhat lacking.

I realised this trying to translate the lyrics to the song “Panzarmarsch” by Swedish band “Raubtier”, because it’s about a Leopard. A Leo II; Sweden never had the Leopard 1, but still. A PTA is also a Leopard. I will say this type of straight faced and unbridled glorification of war and militarism always leaves me with a kind of bad taste in my mouth because of the inevitable suspect political connotations, even if the originators themselves have very different intentions, like just writing a catchy song.

Either way, that’s not the point. This is not a poem, it’s a song. The words and meanings resist translation. They don’t want to be a poem in English.

Still, after a while I sort of made them do what I wanted. This, then, is the first draft of the poem “Armoured March”, originally written by Raubtier, translated and poem-ized by IrmaBecx:

 

 

Armoured March

Listen to an Aria, a Leopard’s howling voice

Hear my V-12 rumble, my melody of choice

I have slept too long, I’ve been scarred by corrosion

In white frosty morning light, at last I am in motion

 

I carry massive firepower, tungsten darts and lead

I’ve seen a lot of battles, I am ready once again

I bring states into emergency; the Laws of War, you see

A dawn of armour’s coming, and the avant-garde is me!

 

Armoured column rolling on, Death follows our men

Deep, and blood red tracks, Armour rolls again

Through the smoke and shrapnel, your destiny will come 

Who could ever stop me? Armour rolling on!

 

Feel the ground quake under violence dressed in camouflage

I am here to earn my provisions and appanage

I leave tracks with your blood and guts all through the dirt and mud

If you stand before me, your prognosis isn’t good.

 

I have come to help you wipe your face clear of that grin

with my sixty-two tons of iron discipline

And if the armoured fist should hit me so I cease to be

my reactive armour makes a solid grave for me

 

Armoured column rolling on, Death follows our men

Deep, and blood red tracks, Armour rolls again

Through the smoke and shrapnel, your destiny will come 

Who could ever stop me? Armour rolling on!

 

Writing poetry in reverse like this is hard, especially if it has to rhyme. Instead of choosing the words to fit your melody, either musical or poetic, you have to try to bend existing words into some kind of approximation between the original text and the words you would have used to express the same ideas without there being an original.

I could of course just put it through some translator. This would have happened:

 

Listen to an aria of the Leopard roll

Hear how the V-12 growls in my chest

I’ve slept too long, I have been scarred by rust

But finally got behold morning light white frost

 

I carry on massive firepower, blasting, arrows and lead

I have seen many battles I’m ready for a new

I spend a state of emergency and before the law of war

An armor dawn approached and in front, me

 

Panzarmarschen goes, death follows the

In deep red tracks, armor rolls again

Fate turns into shrapnel, smoke and dust

Who can stop me when armor rolls forward

 

Feel the ground breaking under camouflaged violence,

I’m here to earn my hospitality and my pay.

I leave tracks in the mud out of viscera and blood

And you stand in front of me is your prognosis is not particularly good

 

I have come to help you to dry your gone grin

With 62-ton iron discipline

And would armor even hit me as I walked out of

How to become reactive armor one for me probably hardened tomb

 

Panzarmarschen goes, death follows the

In deep red tracks, armor rolls again

Fate turns into shrapnel, smoke and dust

Who can stop me when armor rolls forward

 

Not super impressive. You can see the translator recognises the Swedish expression “Kadaverdisciplin” as “iron discipline”, but not “Panzarmarsch” as “marching armoured column” or something, because it’s spelled wrong; with a “Z”. You can also see this is a direct translation of another language into English.

Here, in contrast, is someone who has made more of an effort. This is from a site called “Lyricstranslate”:

 

Listen to an aria by the voice of the Leopard

Hear how the V-12 growls in my chest

I’ve slept for way to long, I’ve been scarred by rust

But have finally been allowed to see the morning light’s white frost

 

I carry a massive fire force, blast, arrows and lead

I’ve seen many battles I’m ready for a new one

I bring state of emergency and invoke the law of war

An armor dawn is coming and in the front I stand

 

The armor march goes, death follows it

In deep red tracks, armor rolls again

Destiny shows itself in splitter, smoke and dust

Who can stop me armor rolls ahead

 

Feel how the ground bursts beneath camouflaged violence,

I’m here to deserve my provisioning and my solar

I leave tracks in the mud of guts and blood

And should you stand before me your forecast is not very good

 

I’ve come to help you clean away your grin

With 62 ton cadaver discipline

And should the armor fist hit me so I went in two

Then reactive armor becomes for me a hardy grave

 

The armor march goes, death follows it

In deep red tracks, armor rolls again

Destiny shows itself in splitter, smoke and dust

Who can stop me armor rolls ahead

 

This is obviously human generated, because it pays attention to the original meaning and the rhythm being correct, but not necessarily the rhyming.

That’s a lot of poetry to get through, I know. But I think you can see my point.

Even if I still don’t know what poetry is, exactly, it definitely is discernible. I can see its negative reflection when it goes wrong in some manner. When it doesn’t work, I know it’s not poetry, but I also know that there is a way in which it could have been.

I will leave you all to make up your own mind concerning the poetic qualities of the above three texts. Food for thought, we call it.

For me, writing about Leopards and grinding my enemies into the mud under my tracks did actually make me feel a little better.

Always something.

 

Lastly, here is the band themselves, performing the song, in Swedish, with no subtitles, but with some actual Swedish Leopard 2s bombing around the vast tundras of northern Sweden. Headphone users, be warned of Loud Leopards; I am not kidding.

Play it loud, MoFos. Enjoy! 🙂

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