The Nasochron

Here is Christian Morgenstern's lovely poem "Das Nasobēm", which was written around 1895 and is usually called a nonsense poem, though not in the sense of "'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves ..."  Indeed, all the words in it make plain sense except one; the nonsense comes in from the fact that once you have read the poem, you still know nothing about the animal.

Auf seinen Nasen schreitet
Striding on its noses
einher das Nasobēm,
there comes the Nasobame
von seinem Kind begleitet.
with its child in tow.
Es steht noch nicht im Brehm.
It isn't yet in Brehm's [encyclopedia of zoology].

Es steht noch nicht im Meyer.
It isn't yet in Meyer's [encyclopedia]
Und auch im Brockhaus nicht.
And also not in Brockhaus's [encyclopedia]
Es trat aus meiner Leyer
It trotted out of my lyre
zum ersten Mal ans Licht.
when it first came to light.

Auf seinen Nasen schreitet
Striding on its noses
(wie schon gesagt) seitdem,
on it, as I've said above,
von seinem Kind begleitet,
with its young in tow,
einher das Nasobēm.
there goes the nasobame.

And here's my translation of it, which I put together in a few minutes today.

On all its noses striding,
Here comes the Nasochron.
Its child so gently guiding
'S not drawn by Audubon.

You won't find it in Brockhaus
Or Britannica Online,
I found it in this schlock-house
I'm pleased to call my mind.

On all its noses striding
(As I have said anon)
Its child so gently guiding
Here comes the Nasochron.

There are said to be poetic translations by G.G. Simpson and L.Chadwick.  I haven't read them.

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