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Jehann
Last updated: 24.01.17
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"Jehann" is for me one of the most beautiful songs I've ever come across. I first heard it from Bernd Gerken but the version I sing can be found in Uns plattdüütsch Singbook. It's of an old lady singing in old age and who is tricked by the beauty and stillness of the night for a moment into believing that her long dead but beloved Jehann is with her. The tune and lyrics are very moving and in just three verses, the song expresses perfectly the loneliness of old age and the burden of losing a long-loved partner.
Since writing the above in 1998, surfer Anja Meyfarth informs me that the speaker of the poem is not an old lady and that the author was Klaus Groth. He was born in the little town in Dithmarschen (north of Hamburg on the North Sea) and he had a brother, Johann (in Low Saxon Jehann). Klaus left Dithmarschen when he grew up and never returned to his hometown. He lived in Kiel, on the baltic, longing for the old days and longing for his family. He had very special feelings towards his brother Johann loving him very much. This is one song connected to Klaus's brother, the other is "He sä mi soveel".
Thanks a lot, Anja!
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1. Ick wull wi weer noch kleen Jehann, dar weer de Welt so grot!
    Wi seten op de Steen Jehann, weest noch, bi Nabers Sot?
    An himmel seil de stille Mann, wi segen, wa he leep,
    Un snakken, wa de Himmel hoch un wat de Sot wull deep.

2. Weeßt noch, wa still dat weer Jehann, dor röhr keen Blatt an'n Boom.
    So is dat nu nich mehr, Jehann, as hööchstens noch in'n Droom.
    Och ne, wenn dor de Schäper sung, alleen in wiede Feld,
    Ni wohr, Jehann, dat weer en Ton, de eenzig op de Welt.

3. Mitünner in de Schummertied, den warrt mi so to Moth.
    Denn löppt mi't langs den Rüch so hitt, as domals bi den Sot.
    Dann dreih ick mi so hastig üm, as weer ick nich alleen.
    Doch allens wat ick finn, Jehann, dat is, ick stah un ween.