English speakers have no word for
a face that badly needs a punch.

The German compound word is

Which could easily seem to mean
a face like a smelly drain

Though transliterally it’s close to
a back-pipe face, which isn’t

Complementary. And
on the face of it, the word looks like

Bagpipes make me sick¸though
since I have a friend who’s learning

To play the bagpipes, using

In a pretended translation
seems likely to bring me to a

Place where I might well have
a face that badly needs a punch.


Mike Crowl is a New Zealand writer whose musical, Grimhilda! (which he composed and co-wrote), was performed in Dunedin in late April-early May this year. He writes on several blogs. His poems more often have a tongue-in-cheek flavour more than a serious one. He has also been experimenting with more traditional poetic forms over the last year.

Of his poem Backpfeifengesicht, Mike says: I discovered the word, Backpfeifengesicht, while reading Twitter. It struck me as an ideal word to weave a humorous poem around. My ‘guide to pronunciation’ in my blog post  about this poem is very approximate.