Schubert’s Winterreise, In Facebook Messenger Icons

The Facebook Messenger app has been in the news recently because of privacy and stuff, but I don’t care about that because look: a pink canary thing!

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 00.00.17

These little emoticons are available within the messenger app, so instead of thinking of pesky words to type you can express yourself with pictures. In technicolour.

I believe this feature is not only awesome but may also facilitate an understanding of 19th-century German poetry.

Yes, 19th-century German poetry. For example, Schubert’s Winterreise is a song-cycle based on poems by Wilhelm Müller and it is rather good just as poetry and music. However, it is even better when accompanied by pictures of the pink Facebook canary in a variety of humorous garbs.

Here is just such a version, using an abridged translation by Barry Mitchell.


1_gute nacht

No. 1. Good Night

As a stranger I arrived

As a stranger I shall leave

Soon I’ll be out of sight

Good night, my love, good night

2_die wetterfahne

No. 2. The Weathervane

For Nature plays with our hearts

As the wind plays with the vane

What do they care if my heart is dying?

Their child will be a wealthy bride

3_gefrorner thranen

No. 3. Frozen Tears

From this poor bosom tears flow

Flow with burning heat

Flow enough to melt

The winter frost and snow


No. 4. Feeling Numb

I look for traces of her footsteps

I look for them in vain

When my sorrows fall silent

Who will speak to me of her?


No. 5. The Linden Tree

Cruel winds were blowing

Coldly cutting my face

My hat was blown behind me

I quickly sped on my way

I’m now many miles distant

From that dear old linden tree

But I still hear it whisper

“Come – find peace with me”


No. 6. The Watercourse

My tears have made

Deep marks in the snow

Take my tears with you

As you flow to the stream

You’ll feel my hot tears

As you pass where my loved-one lives

7_auf dem flusse

No. 7. On the River

A hard and icy case

Is now your winter prison

You lie cold and dreary

Pressed fast upon the earth


No. 8. Looking Back

It feels like I’m walking on fire

Though underfoot is ice and snow

I’ve hardly time to draw breath

So keen am I to leave that town


No. 9. Will O’ the Wisp

Will O’ the Wisp has led me

Deep into a rocky maze

I look from right to left

I seek a path but there is none


No. 10. Rest


At last I rest and only now

I feel weary



No. 11. Spring Dreams

My eyes are closing again

Once more my heart begins to throb

Will the leaves ever turn green?

Will I ever embrace my sweetheart?


No. 12. Solitude

Why is the air so tranquil!

Why is the world so fair!

Even in the raging storm

I never felt such despair

13_die post

No. 13. The Post

I’ll ask the postman, Heart

If he has been to that town

And if he has seen

The fair one you loved

14_der greise Kpf

No. 14. The Grey Head

They say one night of torment

Can make black hair turn white

The frost leaves my hair untouched

I have wandered but must wander more

15_die krahe

No. 15. The Raven

Raven, bird of ill-omen

Will you ever leave me?

Do you stalk me

In the hope I will be yours?

16_letzte hoffnung

No. 16. The Last Hope

I stare at one leaf

I stake my hopes on it

If the leaf falls

My hopes will fall with it

My heart will sink too

My last hope will be gone

17_im dorfe

No. 17. In the Village


My dreams have ended in tears

Why should I linger here?


18_der sturmische

No. 18. The Stormy Morning

A storm has ripped

The grey robe of the sky

The clouds fly apart

In wild disorder


No. 19. Illusion

I see a flickering guiding light

To left and right, now here, now there

I’ll follow this light, though I know

It will mislead and tease me

20_der wegweiser

No. 20. The Guide-Post

Why should I leave the beaten path

Where the other wanderers tread?

It is only foolishness

That makes me seek the wild

It points me to a path

One no wanderer can retrace

21_das wirthshaus

No. 21. The Wayside Inn

Among all your rooms

Do you have one for me?

I’m tired and ready to rest

Unwelcoming inn, do you deny me shelter?


No. 22. Courage

Snow falls on my cheek

I carelessly brush it away

If my heart speaks of its troubles

I’ll drown it out with a happy song


No. 23. The Mock Suns

I used to have three suns

But the best two have gone

If the third goes out

I will welcome the darkness

24_der leiermann

No. 24. The Organ-Grinder

Up behind the village

The organ-grinder has his pitch

No one listens to him

Or looks at him, or cares

But he wears a smile

He shows no fear or disappointment

But turns the handle round and round

Shall I join you on your journey?

Will you play the music to my songs?


Want more Winterreise humour? Of course you do. Click here

5 thoughts on “Schubert’s Winterreise, In Facebook Messenger Icons

  • August 25, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Screaming with laughter/weeping with joy – had not succumbed to Messenger on iPad but can hardly wait…..
    Am also now proud owner of Kindle edition of Barry Mitchell’s masterpiece
    You have a lot to answer for Throwcase…! M

  • August 30, 2014 at 11:58 pm


  • June 15, 2015 at 8:05 am

    Definitely worth revisiting at regular intervals: this time I realise just how perfect ‘Letzte Hoffnung . Magical ….. is not the word.

    • June 15, 2015 at 8:08 am

      That’s my favourite too!

Comments are closed.