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Der eingemauerte Mann

Sophie Jordan

Do you know what happens when a man is walled in
and he’s stuck in a tailor-made brick cage
because he wasn’t trying hard enough to be good?
I’m asking for a friend.

Maybe this guy has a pretty wife,
who’s pious and madly popular.
A poor match for a brutish guy
who doesn’t believe in Heaven.

He’d want to follow his own fancies and go off
doing God knows what in the wrong places.
He’d be such a pain
that of course (I mean maybe) she’d resort to using the whip.

Having made the decision
and with no other choice, the lady would
give Maximilian / Joe / Ernest / whatever,
a memorable beating. That hurts, I tell you.

He’d whine, then eventually bleed
while continuing to spit out his dark sass.
The wife, used to playing the long game,
would be patient enough to get the fool cornered.

With her shoulder sore from the whipping
she’d summon the strength
to ring up the builders. “Make it six foot two or three,”
she’d say, “and not too cosy.”

Now Max, our guy, is in this room chewing
on rice cakes while she’s the life of the party.
Brunch upon roast upon fry-up, the whole town
is sat in the lounge to rub it into his face.

About two years later (I’m just about done here),
He’s lost hope and a few kilos, when from yonder
Comes a voice resonating with light and wonder:
“Repent, Maximilian, and I shall forgive you.”

And so the Devil leaves the husband’s heart,
Melts into the ground, behind remains a fart.
“Beloved wife,” the man’s purified soul cries loud,
“I beg you free me at last from this red brick shroud!

“For I have learnt to be worthy of your loving…”
He goes on a bit of a tangent, to show he’s fully repenting.
The guy becomes a saint known all around
Who works to make the world morally sound.

By preaching his story to all of his neighbours,
Good Max rids the country of all of its sinners.
Take it as you will: this is the end of the tale.
But I do know some builders who can give you a good deal.

**

Sophie Jordan is reading for an MSt in German Languages and Literature at the University of Oxford.