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English Adaptation by Anthony Anaxagorou

London Southbank Centre

For the Southbank Centre’s Beyond Beethoven 9 performance, part of the All Together project, poet Anthony Anaxagorou created a new poem in response to the original “Ode to Joy” text. Hundreds of poems have been written by young people in workshops led by Mr. Anaxagorou, exploring the theme of joy and what it means to the wider London community. Mr. Anaxagorou incorporated elements of these poems into the new text. Bill Barclay, the director of the Southbank Centre's production, set the text to the original Beethoven score for the performances in London.

“O Human”

Oh friend, how we enter
Minus each other,
Through nightfall
Wanting more

Our song makes us want to live.

Our age—so fraught
With spite, with glare

Who’ll survive to name the dying;
Carry them across the wave.
Friends and all you citizens,
Run beyond the border line
You, like glitter, chasing shadows
Searching for more open air;
Speak up those who’ve held the tremble,
Fortifying those who care.

Mouths so hungry for tomorrow
Letting all the future sing,
Celebrate our one belonging
See past all our mess and sin,
Through the bones, the tabloid scandal,
We’ll succeed lighting our win.
Can you see us hurtling forward
Tying bells like vows to skin?

Come, great rapture, send our sorrows
Far into the spleen of clouds.
Unchain love, let water guide us,
Plant hope in our weeping eyes.
Come, great wisdom, on your lips
Speak to us of truth divine.
Give the people-dem the fruit to
Taste, to chew, with all our lives.

Praise the broken sky, the unmade dream,
The crushed snail, the shrunken scream,
Praise our time to love one another,
Praise each thing waiting to happen.

Deep inside us snow becomes rain
Forests fall to ash again
Pulling down night’s canopy
Where the last island sinks

Searching, seeking, hoping, longing,
Breathing air back into us
Wounds resolving, sip the sky
Rise with mouths so full of progress

“Ode to Joy” Texts and Translations

Original German Text by Friedrich Schiller


Standard English Translation

Portuguese Translation by Arthur Nestrovski

São Paulo Symphony Orchestra
São Paulo, Brazil

English Adaptation by Anthony Anaxagorou

Southbank Centre
London, United Kingdom

English Adaptation by Wordsmith

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Baltimore, United States

Chinese Translation by Deng Yingyi

China NCPA Orchestra and Chorus
Beijing, China

English Adaptation by Tracy K. Smith

Carnegie Hall
New York City, United States

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