(Deutsche Übersetzung unten)
Today we walked at Forest Hills,
Historic graveyard, well maintained,
Its residents, the living and the dead,
Ignore the charms of nature and of art.
Such pleasures are enjoyed
By those who come to walk.
A perfect day: the sun is warm, the breezes fresh;
No one in sight but for a strolling older couple –
She gives a smile, he glares and grunts –
Would they be first-time visitors,
Admiring statues by the paths
Or searching out a chiseled name?
Familiar with the stony shapes,
We focus on the living:
Below, the mushrooms throng near spruce and…
Do you remember the original? “Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.” If you recall the quote and who said it, you must be almost as old as the general in question at the time he said it: Douglas MacArthur, 71, in his farewell speech to Congress in 1951 after having been fired by President Truman for speaking out of turn.
I’ve been struck lately by the number of words or phrases that are no longer current, but increasingly jump unbidden to mind. It happens sometimes when I’m talking with Luise and have to explain a meaning; though her English is near-perfect, it doesn’t always…