Poems of Seranoga: Rung

Included in the 1958 translated collection of ‘Songs of the River’ (most of which emerged around 1939), many query whether ‘Rung’ actually belongs there. Its inclusion is thought to be due to editors giving it only a cursory reading, which of course does reveal the word ‘river’ on the second line. The real meaning of the work though is more obscure and seems to centre around a kind of uncanny appearance of the relatively newly developed telephone technology -hence ‘rung’. Initially it seems to indicate a state of pre-telephone innocence ruined by its advent though as it progresses this interpretation becomes less clear. The confusion tends to centre around the line ‘singing this song for his will to be done’ which has been taken to mean that there is something divine voice of the telephone, that it some how enables a teleology in the system (Seranoga’s Hegelian inclinations have been noted elsewhere). Having said all of this the German repeating section and the last curious stand alone verse have proved confusing to many. Speculatively one can look at the poem as beginning with the afore mentioned innocence, dissolving into an uncanny dread of the device before the realisation of its divine nature. This divinity is sung by the strange exuberant desire for the phone that the alternatively rhythmed final section displays. The German shows the hesitation and eventual acceptance of the whole work in miniature for the reader.

Rung

Lie me down softly and sing me to sleep,
There’s fog on the river and fires to keep,
I never was lonesome I always felt glad,
What happens this season is solid and sad,

And you sing me all alone,
And you sing me all alone,

Komme, noch nicht,
Komme, noch nicht,
Komme, noch nicht, komme.

Holding the bone rim, the gift of the maw,
Mouthing the tone ring, the see and the saw,
Waiting in morbid state here for the call,
Enchanted bells in the dim of the wall,

Embalming me now ‘neath the concrekerly town,
Calming me now ‘pon the merry go round,
Reaching in awe for the empty stone stair,
Coming and going the embers draw care…

And you sing me all alone,
And you sing me all alone,

Komme, noch nicht,
Komme, noch nicht,
Komme, noch nicht, komme.

Pressing compressing the tinniest noise.
Voices in turmoil the endless of choice,
Emptiness filled with the message of one,
Singing the song for his will to be done,

And you sing me all alone,
And you sing me all alone,

Hey mamma singer, hey pappa singer,
Bring me the ‘phone,
Hey copper singer, hey hopper singer,
Bring me the ‘phone,
Hey clapper singer, hey trapper singer,
Bring me the ‘phone,

Oh bring me that ‘phone to me!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s