The Poetry of Ellin Anderson

"Die ich rief, die Geister,
Werd' ich nun nicht los.

(Der Zauberlehrling)

By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

English version by Ellin Anderson

Has the ancient Necromancer
Left me here alone at last?
Now his spirit-guides must answer
To my will, for I shall cast
Spells with words and motions
I have learned to do,
And with mighty potions,
I'll work wonders, too!

Down a stretch
Just to fetch
Water's flow,
And with rich and rushing swell,
In the bathtub it must go!

Come and dress yourself, old besom!
Rags will suit an ancient stick!
Long a farmhand, when I'd seize him;
Now a slave! So make it quick!
Grow two legs and scurry:
Work and do not fail!
There's your head now hurry
Move it with the pail!

Down a stretch
Just to fetch
Water's flow,
And with rich and rushing swell,
In the bathtub it must go!

See him running to the river!
He's already reached the shore!
Lightning-fast it makes me shiver
Back a second time for more!
Now the tub is sloshing,
Almost to the rim;
Dishes get a washing,
Filled up to the brim!

Stand back!
I've full shrift
Of your gift!
It's absurd
Though I knew it woe, alack!
I forget the magic word!

Ah, what is the word to make him
Just the way he was before?
Ah, how swiftly he betakes him
Wish you'd be a broom once more!
Running with new splashes,
He brings in a sea;
With a hundred crashes,
Rivers fall on me!

No, no longer
Can I let him
Go I'll get him!
He's a menace!
Ah, my fear is growing stronger:
What a face, and what a grimace!

Oh, you hell-begotten spawn,
Do you want the house to drown?
I see streams of water on
Sill and threshold, running down!
You're a faithless broomstick,
One who won't obey!
As you were, old relic,
And be still, I say!

How to end it?
I must grab you,
I must nab you,
Make it stop!
As the edge of my sharp hatchet
Splits your wood from toe to top!

See, here comes the slogging clown
Stumping in his same old tracks;
Next thing, Kobold, you go down
To the crash of my keen axe!
There, I hit him bravely!
He is split in twain!
Hoping this will save me
I can breathe again!

Oh, no!
Each part
Runs to start
With the pail:
Both are finished farmhands, so
Help me! They are strong and hale!

And they run! Now, wet and wetter
Grow the hallways and the stair!
Primal rains could do no better;
Lord and Master, hear my prayer!
Ah, here comes the Master!
Help! Emergency!
From the wraiths I called, Sir,
I cannot get free!

"To your corner,
Broom, broom!
Know your doom,
Spirits all!
You may only serve one Master
As you were, until I call!"

2010 by Ellin Anderson. All rights reserved.
No part of this work may be copied or used in any way
without written permission from the author.

St. Patrick's Day
Tiger and Blue Jewel

Winter's Hill
Maple-Key Song
November in Camelot

Wassail Song
The Rooster at Midsummer
Liberty Enlightens the People

The Leap
The Goldfinch
Three Bears
Song of the Lily
White Tree at Twilight
The Christmas Tree

Grand Bois du Nord
The Owl
Moth Summer
The Little God of Joy
Photographing the Moon
A Rabbit
Rose, Do You Know
The Two Pining Bachelors

The Harvest Chorus
The Maple Mask
Ghost Cardinal

The Little Heath-Rose
Song for the Harp

The Spinner
The Prayer of Cephalus
Circe and Ulysses
The Black Arts
Tristan and Isolde & Jupiter's Two Casks

Home Page

More Poems by Ellin Anderson

The Little Mermaid
Anne's Hearth