Rammstein Alter Mann lyric with English translation

Er wartet auf den Mittagswind
die Welle kommt und legt sich matt
mit einem Fächer jeden Tag
der Alte macht das Wasser glatt

Ich werf den Stein zu meinem Spaß
das Wasser sich im Kreis bewegt
der Alte sieht mich traurig an
und hat es wieder glatt gefegt

Im weißen Sand der alte Mann
zitternd seine Pfeife raucht
nur das Wasser und ich wissen
wozu er diesen Fächer braucht

Die Ahnung schläft wie ein Vulkan
zögernd hab ich dann gefragt
den Kopf geneigt es schien er schläft
hat er bevor er starb gesagt

Das Wasser soll dein Spiegel sein
erst wenn es glatt ist, wirst du sehen
wieviel Märchen dir noch bleibt
und um Erlösung wirst du flehen

Den Fächer an den Leib gepresst
im Todeskrampf erstarrt die Hand
die Finger mussten sie ihm brechen
der Fächer bleibt zurueck im Sand

Den Alten ruf ich jeden Tag
er möchte mich doch hier erlösen
ich bleib zurück im Mittagswind
und in dem Fächer kann ich lesen

Das Wasser soll dein Spiegel sein
erst wenn es glatt ist, wirst du sehen
wieviel Märchen dir noch bleibt
und um Erlösung wirst du flehen
He waits for the midday's wind
the wave comes and lies down wearily
with a fan every day
the old one makes the water smooth

I throw the stone for fun
the water moves in circles
the old one looks sadly at me
and swept it smooth again

In the white sand, the old man
trembling, smokes his pipe
only the water and I know
why he needs this fan

The premonition sleeps like a volcano
hesitating, I asked him then
his head bent, it seemed he slept
before he died he said

The water shall be your mirror
only when it is smooth will you see
how many fairy tales are left for you
and you will plead for salvation

The fan pressed against his body
the hand stiffens with rigor mortis
they had to break his fingers
the fan stays back in the sand

I call the old one every day
for him to save me here
I stay back in the midday's wind
and I can read in the fan

The water shall be your mirror
only when it is smooth will you see
how many fairy tales are left for you
and you will plead for salvation

This song is about a man who watches an old man stare at himself in a reflecting pool and fan the water smooth when it is disrupted. The old man is possessed by the reflection of himself. After seeing this, the one who threw the stone in the beginning looks into the water and sees the same thing the old man saw and also becomes possessed. He then calls for the old man to save him from the same fate. This song is possibly about the cleansing of society.


  1. “Der Alte sieht mich traurig an” means :” the old one (the old man) is looking sadly towards me”
    trust me im german
    the infinitiv of the word is ansehen and its Der Alte not die Alte (this would mean old women).
    Problem with the word ansehen is that it can be used differntly.
    example :Der mann lässt es sich nicht ansehen, dass er krank ist
    Translation: The man won’t let it be seen that he is sick


    Der man schaut das Haus an

    The man looks at the house.

  2. I think the song’s about mortality. When you get old and realise death is near, a though you’ve been putting off your whole life, you won’t want to die.

    “The water shall be your mirror. Only when it is smooth will you see how many fairy tales are left for you, and you will plead for salvation”

  3. I love this song and all of the interpretations shown here, but what’s about the part of ‘social cleansing’?
    It seems quite outlandish idea about this song, but I can rerate to it somehow.
    In this context, it’s implied that old (and ‘useless’) people have to leave the society and the younger will follow the suite when they get old.
    Fairy tales may mean the fantasy where every person can live ‘happily ever after’. In reality, the society force the weak to die.

    Quite depressing, fascinating song though.

  4. The old man waits for the calm of midday to contemplate his life. He sees so much of what he has done in life is wrong, and he is depressed he didn’t understand until now. You don’t see your mistakes in the turmoil of life until you get older (when the water is smooth).
    The younger man, telling the story, throws a rock in the water to disturb it,…he doesn’t want to contemplate, he just want more, better in his life. The old man smooths the water with the fan to resume contemplation and death comes to him. Before he dies he explains it to the young one, and warns him that his foolish approach is burning away much of what his life could be, but he won’t recognize it until he, too, is old.

  5. I am Bhuddist, and this is how I interpret the song. Water is a common metaphor for life in Bhuddism, and the obsession with controlling the water usually represents the tendency to get caught up in trying to control uncontrollable parts of your life, such as aging, death, and change in general.

    I think the first man is looking at himself, trying to make everything perfect in his life. He becomes so obsessed with trying to change things and have this perfect self, that he grows old and dies without taking it all in. The reflection he sees in the water represents his ideal self. Things keep coming along disrupting this perfect, idealized self image, and he realizes how much he’s screwed up and wants to do it again. He wasn’t able to fulfill every desire or goal and get everything right(the Märchen) he had for himself. The second man realizes his mistake, and he calls to the first man, who never found a solution, and is unable to save the second man from the same fate.

  6. i believe its about getting older, and realizing a lot of things.
    water might be life itself, when the younger person throws the stone in it, its a metaphor for doing something wrong or wasting time with having fun.
    the old one knows he shouldnt do it, and making the water smooth might mean caring about his life and time, and only if the younger one will get older too and realize this, then he will also realize how wrong he might have lived his life until that time.

    this is just how i see it. even the demo of alter mann seems to be about time and getting older

  7. it reminds me of the Twilight Zone episode “Nick of Time”.
    The old man (then the young man) can see his future when he fans the water, with the same result as the tv show.

  8. I love this song so much. I always had an imaginary music video for this song in my head.. just shows how much imagery is in the song. R+ 4ever

  9. I concur with Genji also I think the old man is a sage, when the mind becomes still a person will be aware of more. Ripples on a water is a metaphor for this phenomena associated with meditative states. Then again I think the best lyrics are open to interpretation and thereby have different meaning for many, this is a clever song.

  10. I just don’t really understand how the song may be about “social cleansing”. What exactly is meant by the term social cleansing?

  11. I think, the song is about realizing what it means to be adult and how hope and idealism are fading over time. The older you become, the more you see all the senselessness in life and that all principles and morales you have, are just made up and are vain in the end. The calm water stands the those rare moments where youre not distracted by other things and can reflect about yourself (the water shall be your mirror). I guess the senctence “how many fairy tales are left for you” means how much idealism and and hope are left in yourself over time. At all, the lyrics could mean a lot what makes them particular interesting. It’s strange how deep some of the Rammstein lyrics are compared to the rather graphical songs. 😀

  12. not at all about winsdom, it would not be rammstein style. They are emphatyzing the sorrow of knowing your life, as good as it can be, will end, and not even that late. This leads the man to depression and to the ultimate wish to be saved by the old man, who can not and must already be depressed too. Sorry if my english is bad, I am italian. Rammstein are really afraid of death and know the whole mankind is, me too.

  13. Philly, you’re wrong, what you have meant would be “Der Alte lässt mich traurig aussehen”. “ansehen” means “to look at”, “aussehen” means “to look like”.
    The translation “the old one looks sadly at me” is correct.

    This song is beautiful, it’s like a story and I wonder what it’s about? Can someone interpret it please? I can’t figure it out…

  14. “die Alte sieht mich traurig an”- i’m pretty sure translates to “the old makes me look sad”
    sieht…an comes from ansiehen, which means to appear. litterally translating into “the old appears me sad”

    Toller Lied :]


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