Treasure Island

Ingeborg Bachmann

(1926 - 1973 / Austria)

The Girt Woak Tree


The girt woak tree that's in the dell !
There's noo tree I do love so well;
Vor times an' times when I wer young
I there've a-climb'd, an' there've a-zwung,
An' pick'd the eacorns green, a-shed
In wrestlen storms from his broad head,
An' down below's the cloty brook
Where I did vish with line an' hook,
An' beat, in playsome dips and zwims,
The foamy stream, wi' white-skinn'd lim's.
An' there my mother nimbly shot
Her knitten-needles, as she zot
At evenen down below the wide
Woak's head, wi' father at her zide.
An' I've a-played wi' many a bwoy,
That's now a man an' gone awoy;
Zoo I do like noo tree so well
'S the girt woak tree that's in the dell.

An' there, in leater years, I roved
Wi' thik poor maid I fondly lov'd,-
The maid too feair to die so soon,-
When evenen twilight, or the moon,
Cast light enough 'ithin the pleace
To show the smiles upon her feace,
Wi' eyes so clear's the glassy pool,
An' lips an' cheaks so soft as wool.
There han' in han', wi' bosoms warm
Wi' love that burned but thought noo harm,
Below the wide-bough's tree we past
The happy hours that went too vast;
An' though she'll never be my wife,
She's still my leaden star o' life.
She's gone: an' she've a-left to me
Her token in the girt woak tree;
Zoo I do love noo tree so well
'S the girt woak tree that's in the dell.

An' oh ! mid never ax nor hook
Be brought to spweil his steately look;
Nor ever roun' his ribby zides
Mid cattle rub ther heairy hides;
Nor pigs rout up his turf, but keep
His lwonesome sheade vor harmless sheep;
An' let en grow, an' let en spread,
An' let en live when I be dead.
But oh! if men should come an' vell
The girt woak tree that's in the dell,
An' build his planks 'ithin the zide
O' zome girt ship to plough the tide,
Then, life or death ! I'd goo to sea,
A-sailen wi' the girt woak tree
An' I upon his planks would stand,
An' die a-fighten vor the land,-
The land so dear,-the land so free,-
The land that bore the girt woak tree;
Vor I do love noo tree so well
'S the girt woak tree that's in the dell.

Submitted: Monday, April 23, 2012
Edited: Monday, April 23, 2012

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