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PhoenixWerthan

Artist | Student | Literature
Really? 



My grandfather used to say: "Life is astoundingly short. To me, looking
back over it, life seems so foreshortened that I scarcely understand,
for instance, how a young man can decide to ride over to the next
village without being afraid that--not to mention accidents--even the
span of a normal happy life may fall far short of the time needed for
such a journey."

Franz Kafka

Grandfathers ought to know better than that. 
  • Listening to: "Five Years" - David Bowie

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The 14th of October, 1066 marked the end of the world.  Those who heralded this could not be heard over the thunderous stampede of boots on the ground of Ænglaland.

Ænglaland it was no more.  William the Conqueror never learned English, and none of the new nobility after him dared break this grand tradition.  Peasants – we spit on your language!  Or really, in your language, since it is no words at all!  They said, but obviously not in those words.  Or any words anyone would understand at all.  Likely even the nobles themselves.

The peasants envied the position of the nobles.  The nobles made sure that the peasants would be able to neither read nor understand a word that they said.

“French sounds so romantic!  We should stop speaking German!  Also, we’d be able to understand Will’s guys, which would get us a lot more respect, and possibly money,” said a woman in a blue Saxon dress.

“Are you kidding me?  Frenchies speak through their nose!  Eww!  It’s better to be a hated peasant than to speak through your nose.  Hon hon hon!  Baguette!” said another woman in a red dress, turning up her nose on the cry of “Hon hon hon!  Baguette!”

“Well, they say we just make a ton of harsh throat-sounds and it’s super guttural, whatever that French word means, so we should speak French instead.”

“Still better to be harsh and throaty than whiny and nasally.  Hon hon!”

A lumberjack, a cart of timber pulled by an ox beside him, walked by, and cried: “We don’t speak German.  We speak Old English, also known as Anglo-Saxon or Ænglisc, which is genetically related to German, but not even particularly mutually intelligible with Old High German, never mind being a form of Modern German, also known as New High German.”

The one in the blue dress turned back to the one in the red dress: “See?  He speaks French and he can come by and tell us we’re wrong about our speaking German, and there’s nothing we can do since we just speak German and not French.  Maybe we should learn French like he did then.”

“We’re all speaking Modern English, dumbasses!  Not German or French!  Or even Anglo-Saxon.” the lumberjack shouted.

“Well, thanks for speaking Modern English, also known as German, bastard!  Yeah, how is that for a French swearword?  It is a Germanic language!  Ooh, I can French better than you!” the one in the blue dress shouted back.

The lumberjack made an audible variant of a gesture often attributed to the Frenchman Jean-Luc Picard as he walked off.

“Thanks for not speaking French!”



It cannot be said that the French language swept across Ænglaland like a storm.  The Saxons took a word here and there until there were almost no English words left in circulation, but yet, only a few truly spoke French.

“I think we should all re-learn English,” said a middle-aged man.

“We’re all conversing in the English language at the present moment!” said a younger, but not young, man.

“That was some bastard mix of French and German and you know it.  Anyways, I think we Anglo-Saxons ought to remain frank and germane to our Teutonic heritage.”

“So no more eloquent Norman vocables?”

“No.”

“OK, I shall restrict myself to only the ineloquent lexical items of Romance origin.”

“You also ought not to use the ugly or clumsy French loanwords either.”

“Then how will I verbalize in the genetically Germanic language originating in Angeln, Schleswig-Holstein that has migrated to the isle of the Britons?”

“By not speaking French.  I really thought it was impossible to speak English by speaking French in the first place.  As our talking has showed.”

“Yeah…. It is.”

“Hey, someone still speaks English!”

And thus it went, that no one knew either English or French, and no one could really talk to anyone else, since each person’s words meant only what they wanted them to mean.  Except the Frenchmen, who actually did speak French, contrary to rumors.
Angles and Normans, part 1
Satire about linguistic clarity and how it's used socially and psychologically, intentionally and unintentionally.  Somehow manages to combine influences from Tolkien, Lewis, Orwell, and Brecht.  This will probably not even be quite long enough for a typical novella but it's still split into parts. 
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Forward! I say,

Upward! Overcome!

And go under!

Thou hast nothing else.

Forward! I say,

For thee awaits no destination,

For thee awaits no goal,

But forward thou must’st go –

And under!

Walk up to that looking-glass,

Gaze upon that there –

Let the flame of thy soul flare up,

Clench thy hands into claws

And tear that down –

Then rise!

Thou canst have nothing else –

Become!

From death’s gulf springs new birth,

As in the spring of the Earth!

I command thee,

Go forth!



Become what? Go under what?

Thou sayest, I make no sense!

There is no what in my maddened word-glut,

I say – I truly have no defense.

But my words, maddened though they be

Shall prove themselves – now thou just see!

But must’st thou reply, I do not know why,

“Just shut up and bite me?!”
The Way of the World
This poem is intentionally nonsensical and not clearly written due to what it's really about. 

Background
(long):  I once was thinking about how, when people translated certain German-language authors into English, they are translated in an extremely unclear fashion.  It's also often bewildering why as well.  A more commonly-used phrase for people who are trying to sound intellectual and/or edgy is "Will to Power".  The original German used by Nietzsche is „Wille zur Macht“ which, in more natural English, is really "the desire for power", with Wille = will or desire, zur = zu der= to/for the (essentially, a dative prespoition) and Macht = power.  "Desire for power" is a very easily-understandable concept, but "Will to Power" is meaningless gibberish in English.  Multiple people have complained about things like this.  Anyone who has read any Kafka in the original (or, often, even better translations) has the same complaint as well: "in German it's incredibly clear, but in English it's nearly incomprehensible".  This is probably also why people don't seem to get that Kafka is largely humor and sarcasm, albeit dark (hallo Mittel-Europa) and on serious topics (ditto), rather than outright caricatured pessimism.  This sort of desire to preserve "the original" but only for people who want to study things in extreme depth I initially called "translation mysticism", and it is basically obscurantism with pseudo-religious motivations.  Many people tend to even consider good writing to be unclear writing due to all these literary and philosophical giants being translated in highly obscurantist ways, as well as, say, the untouchability of older English works such as Shakespeare (which is a more recent phenomenon than you'd think).  So I got the inspiration to write a poem in as obscurantist a way as possible using my experience with foreign language translation (mostly German, although also some Latin and various things here and there) as inspiration, even throwing in outright literally-translated phrases from other languages.  People seemed to get that it was a joke but not what it was about, which was disappointing in every way possible, but, considering the audience on the site and the quality of the work, not unexpected. 
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Really? 



My grandfather used to say: "Life is astoundingly short. To me, looking
back over it, life seems so foreshortened that I scarcely understand,
for instance, how a young man can decide to ride over to the next
village without being afraid that--not to mention accidents--even the
span of a normal happy life may fall far short of the time needed for
such a journey."

Franz Kafka

Grandfathers ought to know better than that. 
  • Listening to: "Five Years" - David Bowie
The armored boots of two warriors were planted feet from the edge of a cliff as they overlooked the land and saw a great black cloud sweep over hill and dale. The Earth was littered with the bodies of the dead as far as the eye could see, and wolves and ravens came to take the souls of the slain to the halls of the gods. The Sun was beginning her descent into the Underworld, and firey light shot up from underneath the Earth and accross the sky as she pierced the horizon.

“How many of ours were killed?”

“At least a few hundred.”

“That’s barely a victory.”

“Our people are safe in their houses and the slain go to the halls of the gods, never having to concern themselves with journeying accross the Abyss, except maybe after their next life or so. I’d call that a victory.”

Just hours ago, the Sun shone brightly and golden rays shimmered accross the edges of swords, the tips of spears, the faces of shields; their weapons flashed and gleamed as if with the glory of battle rather than the Sun’s rays. The warriors marched in the neatest rows, at tempo, the Choskch troops from the north and Leuaniea from the south. War drums pounded steadily, their beating echoing through the hills like thunder. The order of it all could scarcely be matched — but it soon plummeted into chaos, blood pumping through the warriors’ veins, the heat and ecstacy of battle like a frenzied dance, the clashes of weapons and the cries of men the melody of the music that the war drums kept the beat to. Jörchde stood at the front of the battlefield in shimmering silver plate, the Sun’s rays gleaming off the pearl-white wings on her helmet and her dark steel broadsword; she fell forward onto the enemy with the force of mountain giant, her weapon raised over her, and she lopped off the heads of five men in one swing of her sword. Her spirit burned and feisted within her like a raging flame, and every blow deflected off her plate as if some magic made her invincible. Men of great might followed close behind her, and they tore the enemy’s forces asunder. Even lesser men fought with a primal fierceness kindled within them so that the Leuanieans were hardly a match. The red-blooded warriors scarcely noticed when their blood ran red down their sides and soon every Leuaniean who was still alive and could run ran away into the distance.

Soon riders on horses with trumpets rode from the battlefield, horns raised. They galloped from village to village, piping away the victory-call. Victory! Victory! All the peasants in all the nearby villages came out of their cottages and sang and danced the night away, kindling bonfires and roasting boars on spits. Men and horses pranced together all throughout Qrainespfuhr.

The black cloud loomed in the distance — it rolled in from distant hills so one could scarcely see it move. Those red-blooded warriors who pranced with unearthly liveliness accross the battlefield hours ago now lay unearthily still, their blood brown as dung and their rotting corpses stinking all the way to Heaven.

“Doesn’t it have a certain beauty to it?”

“Beauty?”

“It’s so peaceful.”

“It’s desolate.”

“There is no peace like desolation.”

There was a brief pause.

“You dance in the frenzy of war, in the midst of death, and then the rest after is like nothing else on the Earth – a little death. Then your spirit rises in the next battle. It is as if you only rise higher and higher with each battle and after–battle, never coming down. And to really die in battle – you never could come down.”

“Hey, isn’t there a parade tonight?”

“Why, yes.”

“We should go join it.”

“Yes. We ought to head down now.”

They turned around and scuttled down the cliff.

“We’re going to have to walk through all the bodies to get to town.”

“I don’t mind.”

They plodded their way through the swamp of corpses, the first one looking down at each one.

“Ah, Kreetih. He was a great fellow. It’s an utter shame he had to die. Few men could fight like him, few had as noble a character…” He made a kissing gesture towards Kreetih’s corpse.

“The gods could hardly ask for a better man to join them. It is said he has slain a dragon, but he always denied it. It probably would be quite the hassle to be known as ‘the dragonslayer’ everywhere you went, never being able to even walk into an inn without being greeted by cheering and fanfare, but one should at least have some pride in one’s accomplishments.”

They marched on.

“Hey, that man looks familiar.” He leaned over to look closer at the corpse that lay on its stomach, face down, “but I can’t quite place who it is.”

“No… That looks like you.”

The first pointed next to the body.

“That looks like you.”

“Well, if we turn them over we’ll see who they really are.”

He reached out to turn the body over and his hand sank into it. At that moment they were overtaken from behind by the howling of wolves and the screeching of ravens.
Victory
Another old story
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:icontheevilovelords:
TheEvilOvelords Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the watch on our group :iconthewritergang:

Sakurai Amy
Founder of The Writer Gang
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:iconphoenixwerthan:
PhoenixWerthan Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2017  Student Writer
You're welcome
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:icontheevilovelords:
TheEvilOvelords Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
^^
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:iconmrsbadbugs:
mrsbadbugs Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2017  Student Digital Artist
ohhw THX fot the :+fav: :shakefist: and Giddy Up Llama by atnezau
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:iconphoenixwerthan:
PhoenixWerthan Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2017  Student Writer
You're welcome llama cancan 
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:iconvawen:
Vawen Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2017  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you so much for the fave :aww:
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:iconphoenixwerthan:
PhoenixWerthan Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2017  Student Writer
You're welcome Aww
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:iconvawen:
Vawen Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2017  Hobbyist Photographer
and the watch  :heart:
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:iconphoenixwerthan:
PhoenixWerthan Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2017  Student Writer
and you're welcome Heart
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:iconflipation:
flipation Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks for the :+fav:!
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