What It Is | Writing On The Wall

es ist ungluck

The above image was taken on Majoribanks Street, Wellington, NZ.

There is always intrigue in words written on the wall for passers by.

Google Translate said it was: “I’ll say it is the calculation”…

A little more searching revealed the lines come from a superb Erich Fried poem and this site offered the full translation (see first two lines of the second verse):

Was es ist (German)

Es ist Unsinn
sagt die Vernunft
Es ist was es ist
sagt die Liebe

Es ist Ungl’ck
sagt die Berechnung
Es ist nichts als Schmerz
sagt die Angst
Es ist aussichtslos
sagt die Einsicht
Es ist was es ist
sagt die Liebe

Es ist l’cherlich
sagt der Stolz
Es ist leichtsinnig
sagt die Vorsicht
Es ist unm’glich
sagt die Erfahrung
Es ist was es ist
sagt die Liebe

What It Is (English)

Rationality says
It’s nonsense
Love says
It is what it is

Reckoning says
It’s doom
Fear says
It’s nothing but sorrow
Sense says
It’s hopeless
Love says
It is what it is

Pride says
It’s ridiculous
Caution says
It’s reckless
Experience says
It’s not practical
Love says
It is what it is

Random words in another language leading to a fantastic poem. Do you do stuff like this or is it just me?



  1. You’re just like a detective! How exciting to find that it actually had a story (poem) behind such a mysterious piece of wall art (graffiti). Excellent Sunday effort!

    1. Thanks for the comment Bec – was intrigued as well and delighted to find such ‘depth’ there… made me smile but also want to find out more about why they wrote this in the first place!

      Been thinking of adding the next line on the wall…

  2. My increasingly rusty German thinks those first 2 lines should read:

    It’s unlucky
    said the calculation.

    My vocabulary massively lets me down these days, but the rest of that verse seems to read:

    It’s not painful
    says the angst

    It’s a lack/loss of vision
    says the insight

    It is what it is
    says Life.

    Don’t recognise some of the key words in the next verse, so I’ll have a proper punt at it when I’m not on my phone and have better translation tools at my fingertips.

    lovely poem, though!

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