Tag Archives: poetry

Closeness

Patient and loyal

they wait when one falls behind  or

steps out of line

 

This was taken at St. James Park one grey afternoon. Those three lovely chaps entertained me and other bystanders – they’d been standing motionless (from the distance, as I was approaching, they looked as if they were statues, so you can imagine how motionless their motionlessness was) for quite some time until the one standing the furthest back decided to move up a bit…and once again reunited they continued with their quest…

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Halloween Party

Now, that Halloween has arrived, I wanted to get a little bit “in the mood”. I found this poem by Kenn Nesbitt  browsing through the poetry foundation site.
And yes…I’m having a typical lazy Sunday!  Sitting on my sofa, I’m all snuggled up in my snuggly blanket and I sip steaming Orange & Cinnamon Tea enjoying very much the company of books…and a bowl filled with Jelly Babies.

Halloween Party

We’re having a Halloween party at school.
I’m dressing up like Dracula. Man, I look cool!

I dyed my hair black, and cut off my bangs.
I’m wearing a cape and some fake plastic fangs.

I put on some makeup to paint my face white,
like creatures that only come out in the night.
My fingernails, too, are all painted and red.
I look like I’m recently back from the dead.

My mom drops me off, and I run into school
And suddenly feel like the world’s biggest fool.
The other kids stare like I’m some kind of freak –
The Halloween party i not till next week.

 

When I was a child I loved nothing more than listening to my grandma telling the gruesome story of the ‘real‘ Dracula, Vlad Tepes, whose castle stood close to Kronstadt (Brașov), my grandmother’s birthplace.

flad-czepez-castle_dracula

Bran Castle, Summer 2013

“Near Kronstadt stands a big and beautiful castle, called Bran. It is set amongst the Carpathian mountains and surrounded by dense woodland. History tells that a gruesome prince would impale anyone, who went against him, around his castle. And so blood ran down the hills into the valley day and night so that the place soon became known as ‘the forest of human bodies.'”

My hairs stood up on my neck and arms every time she spoke the last sentence. And I’d ask, ‘But did he really exist?’
A quiet nod was her response. 

 

 

Happy Valley

 

As soon as I put my feet on the grass of Happy Valley (near Croydon) I feel like dancing 🙂 …yes, it’s one of those feel good places!

 

Happy Valley

Unchoreographed and
clumsy like, they dance
together. It’s their
first time. They’re whistling
loud their tune to end

the years of solitude.
What patient beings!
But now they’ve  earned their
prize – a missing piece
in life’s grand puzzle.

Theirs was a journey
unhurried, enthused
by love’s enduring
desire. Their reward
too is universe’s

raving applause. As
they dance together
in Happy Valley
they’re soon in sync with
eyes fixed on one’s kindred spirit.

The Truck

English song title, ‘In order to be happy, I want a truck.’ 

‘You’re the least patriotic person I’ve ever met.’
I take a sip from the steaming fennel and mint tea and look at my friend who I met in Pret.
‘Mm-hmm,’ is all I manage to reply before I start running after my mind, that has decided to ramble down memory lane to find relevant and recent evidence of my still existing emotional support of Austria. A few hundred meters later, I saw … 

1. Taste of the Alps Week, when unaware of this exciting fact, I entered my local Lidl. Nostalgia didn’t hit me hard – bang! boom! bang! – when I discovered packets of Austrian sliced sausages and hams in the refrigerated cabinet, but I did grab, albeit mistakingly, a fellow happy shopper’s arm and pointed frantically at some pink boxes of wafers that sat on a shelf near the freezers, shouting ‘Mannerschnitten!! I can’t believe it. They have Mannerschniiitteeennn!’ I was surprised to hear a friendly ‘Ah, they look nice,’ from a smiling lady with Eastern European accent, who didn’t mind that I’d grabbed the wrong arm.
‘Why don’t you buy some ?’ I heard patient partner’s calm voice from my other side, clearly oblivious of the mixed-up arm affair.
‘Na, not really interested’ I replied quickly. And that was that.

The following day, early evening.
‘Gerdiiitaaa, there are ten packets of that Austrian meat selection in the fridge…um, and six 4-packs of Mannerschnitten in the kitchen cupboard!’
 

2. Euro Cup 2016. I watched Austria vs Portugal. I have to add that I’m not at all an overly enthusiastic football lover, despite the fact that I’ve been a longstanding member of la peña de Atletico de Madrid of Belmonte de Campos. In fact, I did not have a choice but to join the club when its chairman Luis shouted excitedly, ‘Somos INTERNACIONALES,‘ thrusting a red and white membership card firmly into my hands.
So, after Austria’s second qualifying game my voice was hoarse for a couple of days thanks to all the cheering. What amazing result…0-0 for those who are interested.

3. ‘The’ truck. Late morning last Friday, before walking into the office for the usual language training sessions…20161014_104617

Alas, homeland! Sweet homeland!

How strange is this sigh,

Fifty yards from my

work destination

I see a truck stuck  

near St. Lawrence church in a narrow lane.

 

It sure looks impressive:

High sides  almost touching

the adjoining building 

that’s raised in the City.

 

A few steps later

I startle and scurry back,

to fish out my phone

from its protective sleeve

and take a picture of

its registration plate: A‘s the Country 

 

Then a double L,  

three numbers, two letters –

Austria, Linz-Land,

my birthplace, even

homeland? Now I realise it still is,

and look for the driver to ask how he is.

Talking to plants

 

About a fortnight ago I prepared the narrow strip of soil running along the front wall of our back patio. I loosened the soil, removed weeds and biggish stones and began relocating our darling clematis and lavender from their pot homes of almost 10 years. Yes, I was a bit nervous as, one, I didn’t want to upset their roots and, two, wasn’t sure how they’d react to their new home, which hopefully soon be a cheerful one, densely packed with a variety of country flowers, whose tiny seeds, by the way, were shaken on to the ground and raked in on the same day of the transplantation. So pleased that clematis and lavender have adapted well to their new surroundings…no signs of any traumatization yet… and some of the little seeds having ended their germinating process are already starting to grow! And whilst I check on or water them – oh, I am sooo patiently waiting for clematis’s first flower(s) – I caught myself whispering, hey my little beauties… guaponas mias, a ver…despaaacio, yes take your time now…schööön wachsen, ihr süßen little Blümchen 

_1050042   _1050048

 

I came across John Agard’s Two plants, after reading his poem Talking to plants during a lecture at Goldsmith University a few years ago. Since then I’m often reminded of both poems when tending to my ‘babies’.

 

 

Talking to Plants

 

Always talk to your plants.

Sit back and watch them flourish.

Good advice. Of course we presume

that all plants speak English.

 

Speak slowly, watch them bloom

If necessary shout each syllable.

Their little ears are ready vessels

for a shower of the Queen’s vowels.

 

Never mind if it’s a China rose

or an African violet.

Better yet, recite a bit of English lit.

See abundance spring at your fingertip.

 

So I spoke like an Oxford don

to my wilting rhododendron.

It wilted more. As for my drooping shrub,

my words only seem to draw more lugs.

 

O plants, what is it that makes you grow?

I watch my immigrant neighbour’s patio

with a sense of distant envy.

Tell me, plants, must I address you in Punjabi?

 

First poem in John Agard’s Alternative Anthem: Selected Poems (Bloodaxe, 2009)

 

Picnic at Lincoln’s Inn Fields

I’ve passed this beautiful spot, ate my packed lunch or had a nap during the hours in between lessons, so many times. In the evenings there are soup vans providing free food to homeless people.

Last week is was cold even though the sun was out…but that didn’t stop some to take their lunch in the park.

IMG-20160430-WA0000

 

Picnic at Lincoln’s Inn Fields

 

He took his seat, after he’d laid out

his coat with great care, on top of the grass.

 

He pressed his bent back against his black

rucksack, and then stretched his legs. Blissful sigh.

 

He watched an army of people, that matched

spring’s vibrant colours, eat their packed lunch.

 

The midday sun warmed his face. He stretched his

neck and felt the heat spreading in his body.

 

To the cheerful chatter and occasional

loud and hearty laughter he fell asleep.

 

In the evening he stood outside the nightly

locked gate, queuing to wait his turn for some

 

hot food and a cuppa, listening to the

silent chatter of his fellow vagabonds.

Morning Bath

Morning Bath

 

The tide was out and a big white

cloud floated so near, that I stretched

my hand dreamingly and sincere,

to draw your silhouette with my left

index finger on this vast canvas.

 

I imagined how magical scissors

cut along the newly drawn lines,

and suddenly you stepped out,

laughing at my new trick. We walked

the golden shore, our noses filled

 

with fish scented air and enjoyed

the wind messing with our hair, whilst

watching hundreds of playful waves

teasing surfers, who seemed to know

their every move, as they sped across

 

the white glistening foam, holding on

tight to their colourful kites…                     and then I woke up.

I went to the window and pulled up

the blinds and looked at two sparrows

splashing in their early morning bath.  

 

The photo was taken in April 2016 at St. Malo, English Channel.  

 

A Magical Place

I still remember so well my first visit to Belmonte de Campos*,  Palencia, Castilla y León. It was September 2001 and I stayed for a long weekend at my friend’s family home. I remember the delicious food I ate and all those new flavours I could not yet describe. When Araceli asked me, Do you like it Gerdita, I answered, Yes, but what IS this taste? The new flavours were, amongst others, that of pimentón de la Vera and cumin, that Araceli used in many of her dishes. But then I also remember the stillness that surrounds this small place and the seemingly infinite days. It appeared to me then, that the sun would never set**.

In A Magical Place I tried to recreate the mental images that pop up every time I think back to that very first visit.

BelmontePalomar

A Magical Place

I went upstairs after lunch to rest. Only twenty minutes, I told myself. Well, on second thoughts, no more than thirty minutes, I am on holiday after all. I took my shoes off and placed them carefully on the floor at the far end of the bed. At the same time I briefly considered taking my clothes off, too, and slipping underneath the freshly-washed-and-of-fabric-softener-smelling-pinker-than-pink bedspread. But then I feared I might fall asleep and instead laid myself on top of the bed. I closed my eyes, folded my arms lightly over my belly and listened to the cheerful voices coming from the kitchen downstairs, where three busy pairs of hands were tidying the long wooden dining table and washing six wine glasses and tiny coffee cups and the plates and bowels, that not long before had been filled with warm thick vegetable soup and fish, beans and meat. To the rhythmic sound of a brush sweeping the stone floors I must have drifted off to sleep. The next I remember was hearing my friend’s soft call, Gerdita, the sun’s shining, why don’t we go for a walk? At that particular time I was uneasy about time passing too fast, and I think I might have replied, slightly irritably, because of my annoyance that the maximum allowed thirty minutes rest had sneakily expanded into an hour-long siesta, But do we have time? Isn’t it too late? My companion’s voice reassured, We have time, Gerdita. There’s time for everythingHere time stands still and days last forever. Let me show you

Campo en abril with tractor marks

Belmonte de Campos

This is a magical place.
A magical place?Belmonte de Campos
This is where time stands still.
Where time stands still? Is there no race?
There’s no race. Take off your watch and place it on the table.
Let time be and it’ll take care of you, heal you.

…and then I placed my watch on top of the small round table next to the window and walked outside, no longer following the forever-running dials, and days turned into one endless ocean and suddenly I’d become the captain of my small boat and I decided to steer towards the sun and look for calm waters and suddenly I had time to see and to hear and to smell and to taste and to feel … and to be free.

*  Today, the village is permanent home to less than a dozen men and women, numerous sheep and dogs.
** Days are longer because sunset occurs some 80 minutes or so later than in the UK

Heat…or better…A hot ‘n steamy summer’s day

P1030301The hottest day in Britain has come and gone (Wednesday, 1st July), phew…and no, in case you thought I’m about to complain about the hot weather, I’m not, no no no, ’cause I WAS prepared!! Yep, ice pops came to my rescue, hehehe.

Actually, I’m STILL prepared for the next few days of glorious summer-sunshine 🙂 … hm, let’s see, disposable BBQs, beer, sausages, all the stuff necessary for gazpacho, beer, salad, courgettes, hand fan…and beer… uhm sun cream…oh and look there’s my old sun hat…haha very fashionable, still… so….yes….think I got all the really important bits for summer survival…

 

‘Heat’ or perhaps  ‘A hot ‘n steamy summer’s day’ 

 

At the speed of light

you conquer me

leaving no time

to make up my mind:

shall I run or go on a spree?

 

Trickles of sweat

run down my face and back

to the crease between my buttock(s)

and I think,

Might cutting my hair

allow all of what’s left

of that steamy air

caress my neck

like my lover’s lips?

O please, that’s all I need to

get back in sync.

 

I’m gasping for breath

as I decide to wear a skirt

only to discover later, that I

relish the stares,

that follow my laboriously

shaved now snow-white legs.

 

How you turn this town into a place of swelter

and I’m so looking for shelter.

 

With rail tracks melting,

I arrive pelting

one hour late at my destination,

where it’s 2 degrees cooler,

where I feel like a ruler,

where I wear my hair up

embracing a soft breeze

and suddenly feel at ease

 

with you,

you naughty tease.

 

icecubes donw your back

Enchanted Forest

 

Ruta de la Tejeda de Tosande en Palencia, Castilla y Leon (2014)

P1010956  P1010866 (1)

Now, will you please remember the way. I forgot my compass!        A compass?? Hmmm, really??

P1010865 (1)   P1010851

P1010850    P1010874 Lots and lots of beautiful trees …

P1010907 (1) P1010942

…and a nice view in between.                                  Careful, watch your step!

P1010833    P1010838

We’ve reached the summit. FINALLY time for a rest. Rumble rumble, might that be thunder? No, it’s my stomach. A ver, el bocadillo de jamónbocadillo de tortilla… bocadillo de chorizo…pero…pero dónde está mi chocolate?

P1010835   P1010862

Refreshed…and NO, in case you wondered, I didn’t find my chocolate, must have eaten it (completely unaware as so often) on my way to the mountain top… the way down is fast. I follow my, ahm, six (?) dwarfs…sure there were seven (???)

P1010843

… ugh, eight??? Oh dear…confused…too much fresh air 😉

 

Forest

I instantly feel calm strolling between old trees,
I marvel at their arrangements
and cuddle in their embraces
feeling their kisses disguised as a breeze.

I feel blessed amidst curious shapes and
branches, where birds, bees and bugs                                                                                               made their home and hideaway(s).
Suddenly I feel enchanted,

able to choose any path I fancy.                                                                                                                   I follow my desires and dreams.                                                                                                                   I turn into an adventurer looking for secret places
hidden deep inside the forest’s mazes.

My quest – the hunt of the old man’s hut.*

Heading for my chosen path,
I hold closely that moment,
thanking the forest to leave
me enchanted that very day.

 

Not long ago I read Grimm’s story of the Hut in the Forest.