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World Literature from 1660

Da-da poetry: Kurt Schwitters

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Kurt Schwitters' "Anna Blume"

"O beloved of my twenty-seven senses, I" is an expansion of his senses. The idea is that to appreciate and experience Anna's beauty, five senses aren't enough.
"love your!--you ye you your, I your, you my." He is infolding her into a possibe duo with him.
"--We?" The possibility of "we" is a central element, of the two becoming one.
"This belongs (by the way) elsewhere" is a reference to the concept of "we" belonging elsewhere--that is, in reality.
"Who are you, uncounted female? You are" is an attempt to create a niche for Anna, an identity that can be static.
"--are you? People say you are,--let" is a reference that what society says and what people say about someone is not the reality of the person. The reality/identity of Anna is what he is himself trying to establish.
"them say on, they don't know a hawk from a handsaw" is a reference to society's ineptness in knowing the real Anna, a society that cannot tell living (hawk) from nonliving (handsaw).
"You wear your hat upon your feet and walk round/on your hands, upon your hands you walk." stresses the unconventional actions of Anna.
"Halloo, your red dress, sawn up in white pleats." Red is the traditional color of "available" females while white is the traditional color of purity. Anna is both, a complete woman.
"Red I love Anna Blume, red I love your!--You/ye you your, I your, you my.--We?" expresses his physical desire for the "red" part of Anna. The "I your" is an elliptical reference to I your lover and you my lover.
"This belongs (by the way) in icy fire" is a reference to physical passion.
"Red bloom, red Anna Blume" what do people say?" is a reference to Anna's sexuality, both in the redness and the bloom, the blooming of her sexuality, as a flower unfolds--it is a pun on her name.
"Prize question: 1) Anna Blume has a bird.
                        2) Anna Blume is red
                        3) What colour is the bird?" is a faulty syllogism--an example of faulty logic that one idea could be logically and correctly drawn from the information provided. In logic, we could not know what color the bird was just by knowing that Anna was red.
"Blue is the colour of your yellow hair./Red is the cooing of your green bird" is a mixing of senses, a breaking of rules of color, a use of synesthesia--where we could hear and see color or taste sound.
"You simple girl in a simple dress, you dear/green beast, I love your! you ye you your," is a reference to her being naive. The green beast is the one that haunts him, jealousy.
"I your, you my.---We?" has now moved to its own line: I your lover, you my lover, we together please is the strong implication.
"This belongs (by the way) in the chest of fires" is an allusion to the passion they would generate.
"Anna Blume! Anna, a-n-n-a, I trickle your/name. Your name drips like softest tallow." is an allusion to the tallow of a candle trickling to make the candle and thus be a vehicle of light--to light their love. Tallow is also used as a lotion, to make skin smooth.
"Do you know, Anna, do you know already?" is a question about her knowledge of her importance to him.
"You can also be read from behind,and you, you/ the loveliest of all, are from behind, as you are from before: 'a-n-n-a.'" is reference to her name being a palindrome, being read backwards and forwards, and to her being a palindrome in essence in that from the front she is Anna and from the back she is still Anna. She is Anna from any direction.
"Tallow trickles caressingly down my back./Anna Blume, you trickle beast, I love your!" is a reference to her caresses, the ones he desperately wants.
 
Remember it is basically a love poem. The speaker in the poem is Anna's would-be lover. It is a monologue in that the one speaker is addressing Anna, but we do not hear any one else's voice. It has no physical setting in time or place, but is an expression of his emotional interest in Anna Blume.

Here is the poem in the original German.
 
An Anna Blume

Oh Du, Geliebte meiner 27 Sinne, ich liebe Dir!
Du, Deiner, Dich Dir, ich Dir, Du mir, ---- wir?
Das gehört beiläufig nicht hierher!
Wer bist Du, ungezähltes Frauenzimmer, Du bist, bist Du?
Die Leute sagen, Du wärest.
Laß sie sagen, sie wissen nicht, wie der Kirchturm steht.
Du trägst den Hut auf Deinen Füßen und wanderst auf die Hände,
Auf den Händen wanderst Du.
Halloh, Deine roten Kleider, in weiße Falten zersägt,
Rot liebe ich Anna Blume, rot liebe ich Dir.
Du, Deiner, Dich Dir, ich Dir, Du mir, ----- wir?
Das gehört beiläufig in die kalte Glut!
Anna Blume, rote Anna Blume, wie sagen die Leute?
Preisfrage:
1. Anna Blume hat ein Vogel,
2. Anna Blume ist rot.
3. Welche Farbe hat der Vogel?
Blau ist die Farbe Deines gelben Haares,
Rot ist die Farbe Deines grünen Vogels.
Du schlichtes Mädchen im Alltagskleid,
Du liebes grünes Tier, ich liebe Dir!
Du Deiner Dich Dir, ich Dir, Du mir, ---- wir!
Das gehört beiläufig in die ---- Glutenkiste.
Anna Blume, Anna, A----N----N----A!
Ich träufle Deinen Namen.
Dein Name tropft wie weiches Rindertalg.
Weißt Du es Anna, weißt Du es schon,
Man kann Dich auch von hinten lesen.
Und Du, Du Herrlichste von allen,
Du bist von hinten, wie von vorne:
A------N------N------A.
Rindertalg träufelt STREICHELN über meinen Rücken.
Anna Blume,
Du tropfes Tier,
Ich-------liebe-------Dir!

And here is a machined trot of the original German. Notice that the word "vogel" is translated here as "bird" but that the word can also be translated as "wheel," which is the translation that Kurt Schwitters used in his own translation of the poem, which he entitled in English "Eve Blossom."
 
 At Anna flower

Oh you, loving my 27 senses, I loves you!
You, yours, you you, I you, you me, --- we?
Does not belong casually here!
Who are you, uncounted woman Mrs., you are, are you?
The people say, you would be.
Let it say, it know not, how the church tower stands.
You carry the hat on your feet and move on the hands,
On the hands you move.
Halloh, your red dresses, into white folds saws,
Red I love Anna flower, red love I you.
You, yours, you you, I you, you me, ---- we?
Belongs casually into the cold glow!
Anna flower, red Anna flower, how the people say?
Matter of price:
1. Anna flower has a bird,
2. Anna flower is red.
3. Which color has the bird?
The color of your yellow hair is blue,
The color of your green bird is red.
You simple girl in the everyday life dress,
You dear green animal, I loves you!
You yours you you, I you, you me, --- we!
Casually glow crate belongs into the ---.
Anna flower, Anna, A----n----n----a!
I traeufle your names.
Your name drips like soft cattle tallow.
If you know it Anna, you already know it,
One can read you also from the rear.
And you, you Herrlichste of all,
You are from the rear, like from the front:
Anna.
Cattle tallow traeufelt STROKING over means backs.
Anna flower,
You tropfes animal,
I love you!