FREIBURG 1945 (Satis Shroff)

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LET THE POEMS FLY: This is my third poem in a series of poems for the Poetry Marathon event which I’ll be posting for eight days. I will also be nominating a poet or poetess to continue the thread of words across the globe. As Clarissa Jakobsons put it: let the poems fly.

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APRIL 1945 written by: Satis Shroff

Sie trug einen roten Wintermantel

Und hielt einen Gehstock in der Hand.

Gabriela Klein überquerte den Zebrastreifen,

Neben der neue schwarzen Unibibliothek.

Eine Kompanie von Soldaten im Kampfanzug

Kamen von der anderen Straßenseite.

Ihre Schritte verlangsamten und ihr Körper zitterte.

In ihrem Geist, ist sie im April 1945:

Die Franzosen haben Freiburg in den Besitz genommen.

Die Werwolf Hitlerjugend wollte das Schwabentor sprengen.

Freiburgs tapfere Männer haben’s verhindert.

Wie werden die Franzosen uns behandeln?

Sie hatte damals keine Ahnung,

Daß der Krieg schon vorbei war.

Kein Radio,Keine Zeitungen.

Ausgangssperre von 19 Uhr bis 7 Uhr.

Obwohl die Deutschen und die Franzosen Einst Erzfeinde waren,

Benahmen sich die französische Soldaten diszipliniert.

Tagsüber suchten die Leute nach Nahrung.

Die rückkehrenden und verletzten Soldaten

Verursachten die Nahrungsknappheit.

Sie erinnerte sich, daß sie Nachts

Felder durchsuchte um Kartoffeln zu stehlen.

Damals verwalteten die Franzosen die Stadt.

Als die Soldaten vorbei marschieren,

schlägt Gabriela’s Herz wieder normal.

Sie hört auf zu hyperventilieren

Und schafft es auf die andere Straßenseite.

‘Huch!’ nuschelt Gabriela:

‘Ich bin mal wieder am Tagträumen.’

Operation Tigerfish - Wikipedia

Book Review By Satis Shroff:

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Book Review By Satis Shroff: Friedrich Holderlin’s Selected Poetry translated by David Constantine

REVIEW By Satis Shroff

Friedrich Holderlin’s Selected Poetry translated by David Constantine.

The Swabian poet Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843) was born in Lauffen upon the Neckar on the 20th of March 250 years ago. He was a German poet and philosopher and was influenced by Hegel and Schelling, and was also an important thinker of German idealism.
The strange and beautiful language of Friedrich Holderlin’s late poemshas been recreated by David Constantine in remarkable verse translations. This is a new expanded edition of Constantine’s Hölderlin Selected Poems (1990/1996) have been widely praised, containing many new translations as well as the whole of Hölderlin’s Sophocles (2001). Here the English translator has tried to create an equivalent English for Hölderlin’s extraordinary German recreations of the classic Greek verse plays. It might be mentioned that Constantine won the European Poetry Translation Prize in 1997 for his translations of Hölderlin.
He was the son of an estates bailiff, who died when Friedrich was barely two years old. His mother then married mayor Gock of Nürtingen, who died five years later. At that time Hölderlin was 9 years old.
It was decided that Friedrich should take the priest’s profession because he was a gifted boy. At the age of 16 he received a state scholarship for a cloister school, a place known for Catholic drill, order and discipline. In short, a performance system. He knew he had to arrange himself in this system.
Friedrich became melancholic and quiet. He wrote letters and poems. It was in Maulbronn where he began to write poems. ‘Ich dulde es nicht mehr ‘ wrote Friedrich as the cloister school became too much with him.
Tübingen: Hölderlin belonged to the elite of the mind: : theology, philology and philosophy were his subjects in Tübingen. He shared his room with two other students: Hegel and Schelling. Hölderlin wrote: ‘How can we create a world that d egoism and individual interests? He demanded to be one with everything that lives. A utopia in which art plays a significant role.
In Tübingen thinking was trained. He developed the idea of a free human being, despite the restrictions of society. Freedom had to be realized. No power for anyone. He couldn’t imagine that he could and experience history in his days in the town of Tübingen. He wrote hymns to Nature; Tübinger Hymns and for him poetry was a service to society, to change the people. And on how to exist.
At the age of 23 Friedrich Hölderlin left Tübingen and took a position as a house-teacher of a noble family with high expectations.
In 1802 he made a journey to Bordeaux. France where the French Revolution had taken place in 1689. The storm of the Bastille was the beginning of a new time and a new human being due to the French Revolution. The people got up at last against the tyranny of the rich.
Meanwhile, in Germany there were still the noble families in power. The French troops had crossed the Rhine and entered Germany.
Holderlin was 22 at this time in the Tübingen Stift. In 1793 Friedrich Hölderlin completed his Tübenger Seminary and due to Schiller’s mediation, he became the private tutor of the son of Frau von Kalb at Waltershausen. The parents of the boy found that their son Fritz used to masturbate, which was then regarded almost as a sin. Hölderlin was fired through no fault of his. It was there that the poet started writing a novel with a Greek setting—Hyperion (1797-99). Friedrich wrote at that time: ‘Why do I have to be so poor? Help me. Schiller was a Swabian writer and poet who became famous abroad.
He went to Jena in 1794-95 where he contacted Schiller, who gave him small pieces of work but no major projects. Hegel, Schiller and Goethe were his contemporaries and he enjoyed their friendship—except for Goethe. Nevertheless, Hölderlin was in the right place with the prominent thinkers of his time. Friedrich Hölderlin was 20 years younger than Goethe. He crossed paths with Johann Wolfgang Goethe twice in 1797 and 1800 in Stuttgart and Nürtingen. An embarrassing encounter in 1795 at Schiller’s house in Jena during which Hölderlin was with Goethe alone in a room, but the latter didn’t recognize him. Or pretended not to. At the second encounter two years later in Frankfurt, Goethe called Friedrich Hölderlin ‘Hölterlein’ and advised him paternally to write small poems and to choose a human interest object. His heart sank to his feet. The great Goethe was for Hölderlin a trauma.
Later during his tower-days, where Hölderlin lived, he’d wince every time the name Goethe was mentioned by his guests. He wanted to find in Schiller a father-figure, a mentor whom he could look upon for advice and someone who could make a great poet out of him. But Schiller plainly refused with Goethe always towering behind him.
Hölderlin carried out monologues: as a poet of the people he wanted to be one with Nature and human beings, where the thunder lends the voice.
Dotima, a symbolized love: In December 1795 Friedrich Hölderlin took a new post as a tutor in the house of a Frankfurter banker named J.F. Gontard. However, in Frankfurt Hölderlin had the status of a domestic servant and was not allowed to show his ‘Geist,’ his intellect. He had noticed that Susette, the wife of banker was unhappy in her marriage. The two fell in love which gave rise to the Dotima poems. It was here that Friedrich fell in love with Gontard’s young wife Susette, who returned his affections. She became for him an embodiment of the Hellenic ideal, which was symbolized by Diotima, a name he referred to her in his poems and in Hyperion.
Hölderlin developed his characteristic style of poetry in the year 1796. The change is seen in 1797-99 in a tragedy with the title ‘Empedocles.’
In 1798there was a scandal when the banker husband discovered the love affair between Hölderlin and his wife Susetteere was a torntte. Hölderlin got thrown out. The cold and anger can be felt in Hölderlin’s Hyperion II. Here was a broken, torn priest, a thinker. His godly feelings had abandoned him. He felt that his countrymen had no feeling for togetherness and rides rigorously with his own folk.
Hölderlin met Susette secretly and handed her a copy of Hyperion II, a love tragedy. He didn’t see Susette Gontard after 1799. During this time there was a war of conquest and exploitation. Napoleon had come to power like a dictator. He officially ended the French Revolution. Holderlin wrote about the French Revolution in English in 1848-49.
Friedrich wasn’t satisfied with political life in Germany, and he hoped for a Swabian Revolution and had friends among the revolutionaries of his day. He would have been arrested for his contacts with revolutionaries but a friendly physician wrote an attest that he was a psychiatric patient. It was speculated whether the medical diagnosis was only to escape punishment as a revolutionary.
In 1802-1804Friedrich Hölderlin went to his mother in a disturbed mental state. He came under psychiatric treatment in a healing institution. It was like a torture for the poet. The doctors told him he had three years to live, and he was 37 years old. Hölderlin was confined to a tower near the river Neckar, where he spent 36 years of his life with a carpenter master and his daughter.
From his tower he could see the Neckar flowing. Hölderlin was unreachable as far as his command of the German language was concerned. He was a loner and a lover, who wrote poems that broke limits and his poetry broke frontiers. All politicians of his day and even later the Nazis sought something and identified themselves in Hölderlin’s poesie. Even Heidegger mentioned during a lecture on Hölderlin: ‘Goethe ist leeres Reimgeklingel.’ He meant the depth that Hölderlin’s poems had. Societal political ideas of a change, similar to the French Revolution were sought in his verses.
In 1802 Hölderlin became a tutor at Hauptwil, near St.Gall, Swiss Canton Thurgau. Holderlin was in search of a poetic form. It was how own search and he wanted to get hold of the godly fire. Everything was open. After three months in Switzerland, he went back to Germany. After a decade of war, there’s peace again. Hölderlin writes a ‘Peace Celebration Poem: Friedensfeier Gedicht.
An evolution takes place in Hölderlin the poet. The language of the hymn becomes a song. He starts to experiment with music and song.
It may be mentioned that Hyperion and the dramatic fragments of Der Tod des Empedocles are about the Greek ideal. The mission of the poet and the deafness of the world around him. Hölderlin wrote his poems radically and tried everything: sentences, classical poems, radical poems. His poems are not understood without the blessing of Goethe.
Sand and Sea: In 1801-1802 Hölderlin made a new start in France. ‘What can insult you more, my heart?’ he says. He sought an existential crisis with his extended walks in Nature and crossed dark valleys and came across sunny ones. He reached Bordeaux in 1802 and found beautiful, classical buildings in France and Great Britain. There was trade between the two countries. This time a wine-trader was his employer. The French language fascinated him and he wrote ‘Andenken,’ a landscape that moved him: the beach, the sea in Bordeaux. In his hymn ‘Andenken’ he thinks about the Continent, humans, Asia and South Africa opening his horizon.
Four months later, Hölderlin left Bordeaux.
In May 1802 Hölderlin the restless soul was underway again on foot. A wandering poet and philosopher. He walks from Bordeaux to Paris and Strassbourg. He returned to Nürtingen, where his mother lived, in a very disturbed mental state. He was unkempt, dirty, unrecognizable and nervous.
Hölderlin translated all his writing life. Through translation he reached a poetic language of his own, so that much of his best poetry reads like a translation from elsewhere. He was intensely occupied with Sophocles in the winter of 1803-04.
In the last years of his sanity he turned to hymnic verse, with poems of haunting beauty in free verse rhythms: Am Quelle der Donau, Germanien, Der Rheim, Friedensfeier and Patmos. In some of his later poems he tried to reconcile Christianity with his beloved Hellas.
Even though he was in bad shape, his mind was extremely creative and he wrote poems, hymns, a new poetic style. His loneliness and coldness came in, and he tried to sum up his work life. Half of his life was a nightly song. He saw his own fate.
In the autumn of 1804 he worked as a librarian in a castle in Homberg. But his mental illness recurred and he was sent to an institution in Tüningen. However, his health improved. He began asking questions: a self-assessment. Who was he? What could he write? He knew he didn’t have much time to write. He penned suggestive language images (Sprachbilder), broken poem fragments. He spent the Springtime along the Rhine and wrote like a writing maniac: he wrote in poetic ecstasy.
In 1806 he was in the psychiatric ward and was released after 204 days. He ended in the tower near the Neckar, where he spent 36 years under the care of a local master carpenter named Zimmer. He was not a prisoner and it was an extended protective space, a shelter.


The poet and philosopher died on the 7th of June 1843.


In English translation by David Constantine:
Ages of Life (Friedrich Hölderlin)

Euphrates’ cities and
Palmyra’s streets and you
Forests of columns in the level desert
What are you now?
Your crowns, because
You crossed the boundary
Of breath,
Were taken off
In Heaven’s smoke and flame;
But I sit under clouds (each one
Of which has peace) among
The ordered oaks, upon
The deer’s heath, and strange
And dead the ghosts of the blessed ones
Appear to me.
‘Once there were gods’
Once there were gods, on earth, with people, the heavenly muses
And Apollo, the youth, healing, inspiring, like you.
And you are like them to me, as though one of the blessed
Sent me out into life where I go my comrade’s
Image goes with me wherever I suffer and build, with love
Unto death; for I learned this and have this from her.
Let us live, oh you who are with me in sorrow, with me in faith
And heart and loyalty struggling for better times!
For such we are! And if ever in the coming years they knew
Of us two when the spirit matters again
They would say: lovers in those days, alone, they created
Their secret world that only the gods knew. For who
Cares only for things that will die the earth will have them, but
Nearer the light, into the clarities come
Those keeping faith with the heart’s love and holy spirit who were
Hopeful, patient, still, and got the better of fate.

Literary Festivals, Prizes and Publications: Satis Shroff

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Global Poets & Writers Create Festivals and Publications
by Satis Shroff
National literature no longer means very much, the age of world literature is due.

(National literature will jetzt nicht viel sagen,
die Epoche der Weltliterature ist an der Zeit
— Goethe).


Global writers and poets are connecting internationally via the internet. Why should only the literature mainstream in the USA, Australia and Britain take the lead?The world literature propagated was entirely Eurocentric and Goethe himself was a German universal writer one of the most original and powerful German lyric poets and his Faust I & II is a melange of comedy, tragedy, pathos, wit and satire, that is, magical beauty.

However, his collection of pseudo-oriental lyrics ‘West-östliche Divan’ (1819) is closed associated with Marianne von Willemer, one of the most gifted and intellectual women in Goethe’s life. Goethe spoke of world literature during his times. But what we experience today is global literature, which is not a western literature with national borders. It is definitely post-colonial, post-ethnic and post-national. You could call it non-whitey, non-mainstream literature. This global literature is written by writers and poets who have left their homes for diverse reasons and are, of course put into the ‘migrant literature category.

This global literature is nervous, vibrant, dynamic and these writings have had a quiet existence since decades nut isn’t being noticed by the greedy, sensation-seeking mainstream publishers from the former colonial nations based in the UK, USA, and its ally Australia, Japan, France and Germany. These global writer and poets have, due to their migration, changed their cultures and adopted new languages of the host countries. These authors came and still come from Asia, Africa, Caribbean isles and since they’re obliged to write not in their mother-tongues, they take to literature like fish in water, observing and comparing their new experiences with the old, and write about their lives as global travellers and existential trespassers of international boundaries not only in their lives but also in their minds.

It is a sad fact that the literary market is dominated by Anglo-Americans throughout the world. With Behari, Nepali, Gujerati, Bengali or Malay alone you couldn’t reach the world market which is still dominated by the English language. Would the world have seen and read Tagore’s Gitanjali or Shakuntala if it hadn’t been translated into English? The Nobel Prize for Literature to a Bengali poet has inspired generations of Bengalis and others in the Indian subcontinent, as have the Man Booker Prizes for Rushdie, Kiran Desai and Pulitzer Prize and PEN/Hemingway Award for Jhumpa Lahiri.

Why are Nigerian Chinua Achebe’s books well known in the world than the ones of those of African writers writing in their own mother tongues? If Ngugi wa Thiong’o hadn’t moved to the Britain and later to the USA, why, he wouldn’t have become a professor for comparative literature and performance studies at New York University in 1992.

It is high time that the upcoming authors from the Southern Hemisphere (South America, Africa South Asian and South-East Asia got together and made their own literary world, with book publications, poetry events and awards. It is time that such writers and poetry associations around the world got together and created their own prominent poetry festivals to combat the discrimination going on in the world’s publishing markets. Global literature is here to stay as a resurrection from the ashes of bitter post-colonial experiences and thanks to the proliferation of social media and e-books. Down with the discriminatory Anglo-American, French and German mainstream literature markets that have been ignoring and discriminating global poets and writers.

The fall of the British, French, Dutch and other empires led to changes in relations with these powerful countries and resulted in revolutions as far as east-west relations were concerned. It was also a catalyst for great migration waves because the western cities destroyed during the World War II had to be reconstructed, factories renovated and rebuilt and manpower was missing. Most able men in these countries were injured, crippled or dead. And so the migration brought also changes in these western societies.

In most of the narratives of the global writers and poets the theme of identity takes a central position. Who am I? What am I doing here in this foreign world that I have embraced? Where do I belong? Questions about the hybridity, acculturation and integration, mixed cultures and multiple-identities arise, as men and women of different ethnic backgrounds marry, bring for progeny. Does migration lead to a loss of identity or it a win-win and thus enriching situation? The global authors write a literature of being in-between and growing within foreign cultures that they have accepted. They write about the changes and exchanges between two cultures and the question of: ‘Where do I belong?’ is raised. Is it a world in transition? An improvised life for a temporary period?

In the case of the asylum-seekers the question of the stay-permit or the green card, as the case may be, hangs like a Damocles Sword above the writer or poet. A toleration? A Duldung? Or will my asylum-request be refused and I’ll be obliged to board the next plane to my country?

A lot of writers and poets from ex-colonial countries like India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Iraq, Somalia, Ethiopia have to chew on the mistakes and fatal decisions made by those in power during the pregnancy, birth or miscarriage of their respective countries. The hatred between the Hindus of India and the Muslims of West Pakistan is a glaring example of how the partition of a country should not have been carried out. The British left the Indian subcontinent without solving the Indo-Pakistani problem. The result was a historical mayhem, anarchy, chaos and mobocracy. In other countries independence from colonialists led to dictatorships, civil wars, economic crisis, wanton corruption and open or hidden nepotism.

The colonialists interfered not only in the politics and economies of these countries but also in the socio-cultural lives of these people and had regarded them as being ‘inferior’ to their own British, French, Dutch, Portugese, Spanish and so-called Australian (actually imported Brit) cultures. There was no collective psycho-therapy for these unfortunate people, who were left on their own when the colonial powers retreated. Left to their meagre means to exist because their country’s wealth had been plundered and stolen ‘legally’ by the colonialists. Even today the treasures from the former colonies can be seen for a fee in the British, French, Belgian, German and Rijks (Netherlands) museums.

Like Goethe wrote in ‘Der Gross Cophta, II:

You must either conquer and rule
Or serve and lose,
Suffer or triumph,
Be the anvil or the hammer

Even the history of India has to be re-constructed and re-written by modern writers for the books from the colonial times had a jaundiced perspective and viewpoint. Asian countries and its people are badly described by the Brits and French in their versions. It’s high time that Asians described the Brits, French and other colonial characters in novels and poems through their own eyes and show the world what it was like to live under colonial rule and of how the traditions, beliefs, religions and cultures were ignored and ridiculed by the masters of the empire.

Writers that written with a heart for the downtrodden in the former colonies are undoubtedly V S Naipaul, Salman Rushdie, Joseph Conrad, Alexander Hemon, Hanif Kureishi, JM Coetzee and Michael Ondatje. It is amazing how many poets and poetesses there are in the different websites around the world. This is a commendable and formidable resource and must be channelled to produce not only festivals but also works of literature for posterity. In this context I’d like to mention Epitacio Tongohan of Pentasi B World Freiendship Poetry, Leyla I??k from Kibatek,Turkey, Maria Miraglia and Saverio Sinopoli from the Neruda Association from Italy and India’s Manthena Damodara Chary’s endeavours to bring out certificates and anthologies of the best poems on his websites and now we have Singapore Writers under Hj Harisharis Hj Hamzah with a taste of Malay and Singaporean Poetry at an international event in 2018.

Dankeschön, thank you, merci, grazie, gracias, dhanyavad.
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Prosepoem: SONGS OF LOVE & SORROW (Satis Shroff)

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This time Satis Shroff tells you in his prosepoem about Nepal’s Wandering Minstrels called Gaineys, who go from village to village throughout the country and beyong Northern India with their crude versions of the violin and sing about kings, princesses, love-stories..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EcVBmaIkic

Prosepoem: A Minstrel’s Songs of Love and Sorrow (Satis Shroff)

Go away, you maya. Disappear. Haunt me not in my dreams.. What has become of my country? My grandpa said: “In Nepal even a child Can walk the countryside alone.” It’s just not true, not for a Nepalese, born with a sarangi in his hand. I’m a musician, one of the lower caste in the Hindu hierarchy. I bring delight to my listeners, hope to touch the hearts of my spectators.

I sing about love, hate and evil, kings and queens, princes and princesses, The poor and the rich, and the fight for existence, in the craggy foothills and the towering heights of the Himalayas, the Abode of the Snows, where Buddhist and Hindu Gods and Goddesses reside, and look over mankind and his folly. I was born in Tanhau, a nondescript hamlet in Nepal, were it not for Bhanu Bhakta Acharya who was born here, the Nepalese poet who translated the Ramayana, from high-flown Sanskrit into simple Nepali for all to read.

I remember the first day my father handed me a sarangi. He taught me how to hold and swing the bow. I was delighted with the first squeaks it made, as I moved the bow on the taught horsetail strings. It was as though my small sarangi was talking with me in its baby-talk. I was so happy, I and my sarangi, my sarangi and me. Tears of joy ran down my cheeks. I was so thankful. I touched my Papa’s feet, as is the custom in the Himalayas. I could embrace the whole world. My father taught me the tones, and the songs to go with them, for we gaineys are minstrels who wander from place to place, like gypsies, like butterflies in Spring. We are a restless folk to be seen everywhere, where people dwell, for we live from their charity and our trade.

The voice of the gainey, the sad melody of the sarangi. A boon to those who love the lyrics, a nuisance to those who hate it. Many a time, we’ve been kicked and beaten by young people who prefer canned music, from their ghetto-blasters. Outlandish melodies, electronic beats you can’t catch up with. Spinning on their heads, hip-hopping like robots, not humans. It’s the techno, ecstasy generation. Where have all the old melodies gone? The Nepalese folksongs of yore? The song of the Gainey?

“This is globanisation,” they told me.

The grey-eyed visitors from abroad, ‘Quirays’ as we call them in Nepal. Or ‘gora-sahibs’ in Hindustan. The quirays took countless pictures of me, with their cameras, gave handsome tips. A grey-haired elderly didi with spectacles, and teeth in like a horse’s mouth, even gave me a polaroid-picture of me with my sarangi, my mountain violin. Sometimes, I look at my fading picture and wonder how fast time flows. My smile is disappearing, grey hair at the sides, the beginning of baldness. I’ve lost a lot of my molars, at the hands of the Barbier from Muzzafapur in the Indian lowlands; he gave me clove oil to ease my pain, as he pulled out my fouled teeth in an open-air-surgical salon, right near the Tribhuvan Highway.

I still have my voice and my sarangi, and love to sing my repertoire, even though many people sneer and jeer at me, and prefer Bollywood texts from my voice-box. To please their whims, I learned even Bollywood songs, against my will, eavesdropping behind cinema curtains, to please the western tourists and my country’s modern youth, I even learned some English songs.

Oh money, dear money. I’ve become a cultural prostitute. I’ve done my zunft, my trade, an injustice, but I did it to survive. I had to integrate myself and to assimilate in my changing society. Time has not stood still under the shadow of the Himalayas.

One day when I was much younger, I was resting under a Pipal tree which the tourists call Ficus religiosa, when I saw one beautiful tourist girl. I looked and smiled at her. She caressed her hair, And smiled back. For me it was love at first sight. All the while gazing at her, I took out my small sarangi, with bells on my fiddle bow and played a sad Nepali melody composed by Ambar Gurung, which I’d learned in my wanderings from Ilam to Darjeeling. I am the sky and you are the soil; even though we yearn a thousand times, we cannot come together. I was sentimental at that moment. Had tears in my eyes.

When I finished my song, the blonde woman sauntered up to me, and said in a smooth voice, ‘Thank you for the lovely song. Can you tell me what it means?’

I felt a lump on my throat and couldn’t speak for a while. Then, with a sigh, I said, ‘We have this caste system in Nepal. When I first saw you, I imagined you were a fair bahun girl. We aren’t allowed to fall in love with bahunis. It is a forbidden love, a love that can never come true. I love you but I can’t have you.’

‘But you haven’t even tried,’ said the blonde girl coyly.

‘I like your golden hair, Your blue eyes. It’s like watching the sky.’

‘Oh, thank you. Danyabad. She asked: ‘But why do you say: ‘We cannot be together?’

‘We are together now,’ I replied, ‘But the society does not like us gaineys from the lower caste. The bahuns, chettris castes are above us. They look down upon us.’

‘Why do they do that?’ asked the blonde girl.

I spat out: ‘Because they are high-born. We, kamis, damais and sarkis, are dalits. We are the downtrodden, the underdogs of this society in the foothills of the Himalayas.’

‘Who made you what you are?’ she asked.

I told her: ‘The Hindu society is formed this way: once upon a time there was a bahun, and from him came the Varnas. The Vernas are a division of society into four parts. Brahma created the bahuns from his mouth. The chettris, who are warriers came from his shoulder, the traders from his thigh and the servants from the sole of his feet.’

‘What about the poor dalits?’ quipped the blonde foreigner.

‘The dalits fell deeper in the Hindu society, And were not regarded as full members of the human race. We had to do the errands and menial jobs that were forbidden for the higher castes.’

‘Like what?’ she asked.

‘Like disposing dead animals, making leather by skinning hides of dead animals, cleaning toilets and latrines, clearing the sewage canals of the rich, high born Hindus. I am not allowed to touch a bahun, even with my shadow, you know.’

‘What a mean, ugly system,’ she commented, and shook her head. ‘May I touch you?’ she asked impulsively. She was daring and wanted to see how I’d react.

‘You may,’ I replied. She touched my hand, Then my cheeks with her two hands. I found it pleasant and a great honour.

I joined my hands and said sincerely, ‘Dhanyabad.’ I, a dalit, a no-name, a no-human, has been touched by a young, beautiful woman, a quiray tourist, from across the Black Waters we call the Kalapani.’

A wave of happiness and joy swept over me. A miracle had happened. Like a princess kissing a toad, in fairy tales I’d heard. Perhaps Gandhi was right: I was a Child of God, a harijan, and this fair lady an apsara.

She, in her European mind, thought she’d brought the idea of human rights at least to the gainey, this wonderful wandering minstrel, with his quaint fiddle called sarangi.

She said in her melodious voice, ‘In my country all people are free and equal, have the same rights and dignity. All humans have common sense, a conscience, and we ought to meet each other as brothers and sisters.’

I tucked my sarangi in my armpit, Clapped my hands and said:

‘Namaste! That’s nice. Noble thoughts. It works for you here, perhaps. But it won’t work for me,’ Feeling a sense of remorse and nausea sweep over me.
© satisshroff, germany 3/3/2010

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Comments:
thelma zaracostas (australia): Hi Satis! Strong discriptive writing Satis, great poem.Nice to see you here at voices, once again great poem hope you stay awhile!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EcVBmaIkic

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AUTHOR INTERVIEWS: Satis Shroff

Person Satis Shroff has various faces, of a singer, author, poet, medical lecturer, artist . Which face is near to your heart?

Satis Shroff in Kappel, Germany

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I like writing which means sitting down and typing what you’ve thought about. Writing is a solitary performance but when I sing with my croonies of the MGV-Kappel it is sharing our joy and sadness and it’s a collective song that we produce and that makes our hearts beat higher during concerts. When an idea moves me for days I have the craving to pen it. I get ideas when I’m ironing clothes and listening to Nepali songs or Bollywood ones. When I don’t have time, I make a poem out of it, for poetry is emotion recollected in tranquility. When I prepare my medical lectures I’m transferring knowledge from my university past and bringing them together verbally, and I realise it’s great fun to attain topicality by connecting the medical themes with what’s topical thereby creating a bridge between the two. That makes a lecture interesting, which is like a performance, a recital in which you interact with the audience.

At school I was taught art by a lean, bearded Scottish teacher who loved to pain landscapes with water-colours. Whenever I travel during holidays, I keep an ArtJournal with my sketches and drawings, and try to capture the feelings, impressions of the place and people I meet, and it’s great fun to turn the pages years later and be reminded how it was then. I like doing all these things and they’re all near to my heart.

2. What does literature mean to you ?

Literature is translating emotions and facts from truth to fiction. It’s like a borderline syndrome; between sanity and insanity there’s fine dividing line. Similarly, non-fiction can be transformed into fiction. Virginia Woolf said, ‘There must be great freedom from reality.’ For Goethe, art was art because it was not nature. That’s what I like about fiction, this ability of transforming mundane things in life to jewels through the use of words. Rilke mentioned one ought to describe beauty with inner, quiet, humble righteousness. Approach nature and show what you see and experienced, loved and lost.

3. Normally a scientific mind and literary heart do not go together. How do you manage that? (since you were student of zoology, botany and medicine)

At school I used to read P.G.Wodehouse (about how silly aristocrats are and how wise the butler Jeeves is) and Richard Gordon (a physician who gave up practicing Medicine and started writing funny books). For me Richard Gordon was a living example of someone who could connect literature with bio-medical sciences. Desmond Morris, zoologist (The Naked Ape, The Human Zoo) was another example for me. He has also written a book about how modern soccer players do tribal dances on the football-field, with all those screaming spectators, when their team scores a goal. That’s ethnological rituals that are being carried out by European footballers.

Since I went to a British school I was fed with EngLit and was acquainted with the works of English writers like Milton, Shakespeare, Dickens, Hardy, Walter Scott, RL Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, HG Wells, Victor Hugo, Poe, Defoe, Hemingway, and poets like Burns, Keats, Yeats, Dante, Goldsmith. Since we had Nepali in our curriculum it was delightful to read Bhanu Bhakta, Mainali, Shiva Kumar Rai and other Nepali authors. At home I used to pray and perform the pujas with my Mom, who was a great story teller and that was how I learned about the fantastic stories of Hindu mythology. At school we also did Roman and Greek mythology. My head was full of heroes. I was also an avid comic-strip reader and there were Classics Illustrated comic with English literature. I used to walk miles to swap comic-books in Nepal. It was mostly friends from the British Gurkhas who had access to such comics, gadgets, musical instruments they’d bought in Hong Kong, since it was a British enclave then.

Science can be interesting and there is a genre which makes scientific literature very interesting for those who are curious and hungry for more knowledge.

In Kathmandu I worked as a journalist with an English newspaper The Rising Nepal. I enjoyed writing a Science Spot column. One day Navin Chandra Joshi, an Indian economist who was working for the Indian Cooperative Mission asked a senior editor and me:

Accha, can you please tell me who Satis Shroff is?’

Mana Ranjan gave a sheepish smile and said, ‘You’ve been talking with him all the time.’

The elderly Mr. Joshi was plainly surprised and said, ‘Judging from his writing, I thought he was a wise old man.’

I was 25 then and I turned red and was amused.

As I grew older, I discovered the works of Virginia Woolf, DH Lawrence, Aldous Huxley, Authur Miller, Henry Miller, Doris Lessing and James Joyce. The lecturers from the English Department and the Literary Supplements were all revering his works: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses, Finnegans Wake. His works appealed to be because I was also educated by the Christian Brothers of Ireland in the foothills of the Himalayas, with the same strictness and heavy hand. God is watching you..

Since my college friends left for Moscow University and Lumumba Friendship University after college, I started taking interest in Russian literature and borrowed books from the Soviet library and read: Tolstoi, Dostojewskije, Chekov and later even Solzinitzyn’s Archipel Gulag. I spent a lot of time in the well-stocked American Library in Katmandu’s New Road and read Henry Miller, Steinbeck, Faulkner, Thoreau, Whitman.

Favourite books and authors:

Bhanu Bhakta Acharya’s ‘Ramayana,’ Devkota’s ‘Muna Madan,’ Guru Prasad Mainali’s ‘Machha-ko Mol,’ Shiva Kumar Rai’s ‘Dak Bungalow,’ Hemingway’s Fiesta, For Whom the Bells Toll, Günter Grass ‘Blechtrommel,’ Zunge zeigen, Marcel Reich Ranicki’s ‘Mein Leben,’VS Naipaul’s ‘ ‘Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness,’ James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses, Stephan Hero, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Faust I, Faust II’, Leo Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace,’ Rainer Maria Rilke’s ‘Briefe an einen jungen Dichter’ Goethe’s ‘Die Leiden des jungen Werther,’The Diaries of Franz Kafka’ Carl Gustav Jung’s ‘Memories, Dreams, Reflections,’ Patrick Süskind’s ‘Perfume,’ John Updike’s ‘The Witches of Eastwick,’ ‘Couples,’ Peter Matthiessen’s ‘The Snow Leopard,’ Mark Twain ‘A Tramp Abroad,’John Steinbeck’s ‘The Pearl,’ Rushdie’s ‘Midnight Children,’ Jonathan Franzen’s ‘The Corrections,’ John Irving’s Last Night in Twisted River. Selected poems by Friedrich Hölderlin,Karl Ove Knausgaard’s Some Rain Must Fall’ and other works which I have read mostly in German translation.

Position of Nepali as world literature in terms of standard:

Nepali literature has had a Cinderella or Aschenputtel-existence and it was only through Michael Hutt, who prefers to work closely with Nepalese authors and publishes with them, under the aegis of SOAS that literature from Nepal is trying to catch the attention of the world. We have to differentiate between Nepalese writing in the vernacular and those writing in English. Translating is a big job and a lot of essence of a language gets lost in translation. What did the author mean when he or she said that? Can I translate it literally? Or do I have to translate it figuratively? If the author is near you, you can ask him or her what the meaning of a sentence, certain words or expression is. This isn’t the case always. So what you translate is your thought of what the writer or poet had said. I used to rollick with laughter when I read books by PG Wodehouse and Richard Gordon. I bought German editions and found the translations good. But the translated books didn’t bring me to laugh.

Tribhuvan University has been educating hundreds of teachers at the Master’s Level but the teacher’s haven’t made a big impression on the world literary stage because most of them teach, and don’t write. Our neighbour India is different and there are more educated people who read and write. The demand for books is immense. Writing in English was a luxury for people who belonged to the upper strata of the Nepalese society. Most couldn’t even afford books and had, and still have, a tough time trying to make ends meet. The colleges and universities don’t teach Creative Writing. They teach the works of English poets and writers from colonial times, and not post-colonial. There are a good many writers in Nepal but their works have to be edited and promoted by publishers on a standard basis. If it’s a good story and has universal appeal then it’ll make it to the international scene.

Rabindra Nath Tagore is a writer who has been forgotten. It was the English translation that made the world, and Stockholm, took notice. However, the advent of Whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook, and a host of other social media have made it possible to publish e-books without the author having to pay anything. When a publisher demands money from an author, then it’s undoubtedly vanity publishing which ought to shunned like a pile of thorium.

Nepalese writers like Manjushree Thapa and Samrat Upadhya have caught the attention of western media because they write in English and have connections with the USA. One studied and lived in the USA and the other is settled there. Moreover, the American publishing world does more for its migrant authors than other countries. There are prizes in which only USA-educated migrants are allowed to apply to be nominated, a certain protectionism for their US-migrants. This happens also in Ireland and other parts of the UK. But if an e-book gets good reviews and sales, why, the traditional publishers have their scouts who knock on your door. Nothing’s impossible these days.

Motivation to write:

The main motivation is the joy of writing and the desire to share my thoughts with the reader and to try out different genres. Since I know a lot of school-friends who dropped out and joined the British Gurkhas to see the world, it was disgusting to see how the British government treated their comrade-in-arms from the hills of Nepal. On the one hand, they said they are our best allies, an integral part of the British Army, and on the other hand I got letters from Gurkhas showing how low their salaries are in the Gurkha Brigade. A Johnny Gurkha gets only half the pay that a British Tommy is paid. Colonialism? Master-and –Servant relationship? They were treating them like guest-workers from Nepal and hiring and firing them at will, depending upon whether the Brits needed cannon-fodder. All they had to do was to recruit more Brigades in Nepal. This injustice motivated me to write a series on the Gurkhas and the Brits. I like NatureJournaling too and it’s wonderful to take long walks in the Black Forest countryside and in Switzerland. As a Nepalese I’m always fascinated and awed by the Alps and the Himalayas.

A travelogue: Through Nepalese Eyes (Satis Shroff)
Book of poems in English & German (Satis Shroff)
Book of poems in German: Im Schatten des Himalaya (Satis Shroff)

A Specific writing style?

Every writer in his journey towards literature discovers his own style. A writer from New Zealand, Heidi Poudel, described my writing style in this way: “Brilliant, I enjoyed your poems thoroughly. I can hear the underlying German and Nepali thoughts within your English language. The strictness of the German form mixed with the vividness of your Nepalese mother tongue. An interesting mix. Nepal is a jewel on the Earth’s surface, her majesty and charm should be protected, and yet exposed with dignity through words. You do your country justice and I find your bicultural understanding so unique and a marvel to read.”

My suggestions to Nepalese readers:

I might sound old fashioned but there’s lot of wisdom in these two small words: Carpe diem. Use your time. It can also mean ‘seize the job’ as in the case of Keating in the book ‘Dead Poets Society.’ When I was in Katmandu a friend named Bindu Dhoj who was doing MBA in Delhi said, ‘Satish, you have to assert yourself in life.’ That was a good piece of advice. In the Nepalese society we have a lot of chakari and afnu manchay caused by the caste-and-jaat system. But in Europe even if you are well-qualified, you do have to learn to assert and ‘sell’ and market yourself through good public relations. Connections are also useful. That’s why it’s also important to have a serious web-presence.

Germany is a great, tolerant country despite the Nazi past, and it’s an economic and military power. If you have chosen Germany, then make it a point to ‘do in Germany as the Germans do.’ Get a circle of German friends, interact with them, lose your shyness, get in touch with German families and speak, read, write and dream in German. If you like singing then join a choir (like me), if you like art join a Kunstverein, if you like sport then be a member of a Sportverein. If you’re a physician, join the Marburger or Hartmann Bund. Don’t think about it. Do it. It’s like swimming. You have to jump into the water. Dry swimming or thinking alone won’t help you. Cultural exchange can be amusing and rewarding for your own development.

Current and future projects: I always have writing projects in my mind and you’ll catch me scribbling notices at different times of the day. I feel like a kid in a department store when I think about the internet. No haggling with editors, no waiting for a piece of writing to be published. I find blogs fantastic. Imagine the agonies a writer had to go through in the old days after having submitted a poem or a novel. Now, it’s child’s play. Even Elfriede Jelenek uses her blog to write directly for the reading pleasure of her readers. The idea has caught on. In a life time you do write a lot and I’m out to string all my past writings in a book in the Ich-Form, that is, first person singular and am interested in memoir writing, spiritual writing, medical-ethno writing and, of course, my Zeitgeistlyrik . Georg F. Will said: A powerful teacher is a benevolent contagion, an infectious spirit, an emulable stance toward life.

I like the idea of being an ‘infectious spirit’ as far as my Creative Writing lectures and publications are concerned, and it does your soul good when a young female student comes up to you after the lecture and says: ‘Thank you very much for the lecture. You’ve ignited the fire in me with your words.’ I love to make Creative Writing a benevolent contagion and infect young minds with words.

Lakhe – Himalaya — Bhaktapur

To my Readers: Be proud of yourself, talk with yourself as you talk with a good friend, with respect and have goals in mind. If your goal is too high you must readjust it. My Mom used to say, ‘Chora bhayey pachi ik rakhna parchha. When you’re a son you have to strive for higher goals in life. I’d say a daughter can also adopt this. Like the proverbial Gurkha, keep a stiff upper lip and don’t give up. Keep on marching along your route and you’ll reach your destination in life. But on the other hand, be happy and contended with small successes and things. We, Nepalese, are attributed with ‘Die Heiterkeit der Seele’ because we are contented with small things which is a quality we should never lose. Keep that friendly Nepali smile on your face, for it will bring you miles and miles of smiles; and life’s worthwhile because you smile.

Writing is re-writing,eh?

On literature: When you read a novel or short-story, you can feel the excitement, you discover with the writer new terrain. You’re surprised. You’re in a reading-trance and the purpose of literature is to give you reading experience and pleasure. Literature is not the birth-right of the lecturers of English departments in universities where every author of merit is analysed, taken apart, mixing the fictive tale with the writer’s personal problems in reality. The authors are bestowed with literary prizes, feted at literary festivals and invited to literary conferences and public readings.

Literature belongs to the folk of a culture, but the academicians have made it their own pride possession. Would like to hear Hemingway telling you a story he had written or an academician hold a lecture about what Hemingway wrote? I’d prefer the former because it belongs to the people, the readers, the listeners. In India and Nepal we have story-tellers who go from village to village and tell stories from the Ramayana and Bhagavad Gita. Story-telling has always appealed to simple people and the high-brows alike, and has remained an important cultural heritage. The same holds for the Gaineys, those wandering minstrels from Nepal and Northern India, with their crude violins called sarangis. They tell stories of former kings, princes and princesses, battles, fairy tales, village stories, ballads accompanied by the whining, sad sound of the sarangi.

Literature has always flown into history, religion, sociology, ethnology and is a heritage of mankind, and you can find all these wonderful stories in your local library or your e-archive.

My first contact with a good library was the American Library in Katmandu. A new world of knowledge opened to me. I could read the Scientific American, Time, Newsweek, the Economist, The New York Times, National Geographic, the Smithsonian, the Christian Science Monitor. The most fascinating thing about it was , you only had to be a member and you could take the precious books home.

OMG! It was unbelievable for a Nepalese who came from a small town in the foothills of the Himalayas. Nobody bothered about what you were reading: stories, history, new and old ideas, inventions, theories, general and specific knowledge. The sky was the limit. I had a voracious appetite, and it was like the opening of a Bildungsroman.

Historical novels tell us about how it was to live in former days, the forms of society involved that the writer evokes in his or her pages. In ‘A Year in Provence’ Peter Mayle makes you almost taste the excellent French food and wine, and the search for truffles with a swine in hilarious, as well as the game of bol. On the other hand, James Joyce evokes a life-changing experience with his protagonists Leopold Bloom and Stephan Daedalus in Dublin on June 16, 1904. Ulysses is a modern interpretation of Homer’s Odyssey, an inner monologue recalled as memories of places, people, smells, tastes and thoughts of the protagonist . The Bhagwad Gita is a luminous and priceless gem in the literary world, possesses world history character, and teaches us the unity in diversity. It is a dialogue between the hero Arjuna and Krishna, who is the chariot-driver. Krishna is an incarnation of the Hindu God Vishnu. The Mahabharata alone has 18 chapters and the epic has 18 books with legends, episodes and didactic pieces that are connected with the main story. It is a fascinating reading about the war between relatives, written in the 4th and 3rd centuries before the birth of Christ. He who reads knows better than to be indoctrinated, for he or she learns to think, opening new worlds and lines of thought.

In my school-days I read Charles Dickens’ ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ and it became alive when I went to the Bastille Museum in Paris with a fellow medical student. My memory of A Tale of Two Cities took shape there, as I peered at the old, historical exhibits and the guillotine. Later in the evening my friend Peter’s sister, who was married to a Parisian said, ‘Oh, Satish, there are so many things to see in Paris than a museum the entire afternoon.’

For me it was like time-travelling to the times of the French Revolution, because I’d soaked up the story in my school days. I could see Madame Defarge knitting the names of the noblemen and women to be executed. Dickens was a great master of fabulation. I was ripe for those stories and was as curious as a Siamese cat I had named Sirikit, reading, turning page for page, absolutely absorbed in the unfolding stories. Time and space and my personal demands were unimportant. It was the story that had to be read, even with a midnight candle when the local hydroelectric power supply failed. That happened to me when I read ‘The Godfather’ (Der Pate) while visiting a friend from Iceland. I couldn’t put the book down.

I felt sad when a 14 year old computer-crazy schoolkid said: ‘Who reads books these days? Everything’s in the internet.’ The question is: do kids read books on their laptops and eReaders? School websites, Facebook and You Tube and their apps have added new hobbies for children who’re growing up. Does the cyberspace-generation have only time for games? I tell them they should use: Google Scholar, Pubmed etc. to gather knowledge and learn to transfer it.

* * *

SPOTLIGHT ON WRITERS

SATIS SHROFF

@satisshroff21

  1. Where, do you hail from?

I hail from a geographically landlocked Himalayan country surrounded by blue Shiwaliks and Mahabharat mountains, where the people actually live. Having grown up in the foothills of the Himalayas, I was fascinated and awed by the change in colours of the majestic massifs in the different seasons and times of the day. I’ve witnessed magnificent Himalayan sunsets of the Kanchanzonga with peaks bearing names like: Janu,, Kabru, Dome, Talung, Kanchenzonga, Pandim and Jubonu. I was thrilled to the core by the beauty unfurling in front of me. The Kanchanzonga, my Hausberg, has always been a sacred mountain and on its feet are precious stones, salt, holy scriptures, healing plants and cereals. It is a thousand year belief and tradition that the Himalayas, the Abode of the Gods, should not be sullied by the feet of mortals.

The Himalayas are revered and have taught us to be resilient and to bear pain without complaining; to go with the times, to search for solutions and to keep our ideals high and not to forget our rich culture, tradition, religious and spiritual heritage.

The reality of Everest is something else.

I had another epiphany in the Gornegrat glacier area, with the Zermatt as the jewel in the crown of the Swiss Alpine peaks. In winter I regularly visited the North Sea isles of Sylt or Langeooge. I became a child, admiring the crustaceans on the shore, the sound of the wind and waves. In the Himalayas you also find crinoid fossils and Everest is made of calcium carbonate. So the sea and the mountains are interrelated. Both have always given me peace and tranquility. Home is not a specific place for me.

  1. What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?

Home can be places: the place where I was born, the place where I grew up and went to school, Kathmandu where I studied science and worked as a journalist and Freiburg (Germany) where I studied further and worked. Home is where your heart is. It’s not a specific place for me because I have been on a journey and quest which took me 8,000 km away from by birthplace in the Himalayas. I left my inside world after school and went to Kathmandu, my first outside world, which in Nepali is ‘bahira.’ If you asked a Nepalese from the hills or flatlands, he or she’d invariably say ‘I’m going to Nepal.’ Nepal was Kathmandu and Kathmandu was Nepal. The world of the Shahs, Ranas, the education, foreign and home ministries, with all those neo-classical palaces, shrines, temples and pagodas. You couldn’t close your mouth. It was so awesome for a Nepalese from the hills.

The place called home remains in my memory because in the winter holidays we’d gather around the fire and my mom would tell us tales from the Bhagavad Gita, a luminous, priceless gem in the literary world, which taught us unity in diversity.

I now live in the outskirt of Freiburg and the Schwarzwald is right behind my backyard. I get visitors like deer, foxes, squirrels, songbirds of the Schwarzwald, owls and bats. Sometime a pair of storks from neighbouring Kirchgarten. The Black Forest evokes wonderful feelings of being connected with Nature:

Whistles, chirps, hoots
And melodious symphony,
A single bird gives the tact,
A strong monotonous chirp.
The others follow suit,
Not in unison
But still in harmony.

You notice so many melodies
When you eavesdrop,
In the beautiful symphony of the morning:
Adagio, crescendo,
It’s all there
For your fine ears.

I grew up in an area with tall pine trees and the smell of the pines in the foothills of the Himalayas and the sound of monks chanting their ‘om mane peme hum’ mantras. In writing home, I return to my country of origin time and again in my poems and carry the fate of my people to readers in the West by inventing metaphors and making them accessible to global readers through my poetry.

I hear the jhaurey song of the villagers in Kathmandu Valley in which they sing:

We Nepalese have gathered wisdom.
We throw away our money
And call hot water ‘tea.’

  1. What turns you on creatively?

My main source of creativity has always been Nature, which we call Prakriti in Sanskrit: the Himalayan flora and fauna, the monsoon and the cold winters. And with winter comes hope of a beautiful awakening of Nature in Nepal and the Schwarzwald.

I like the motto of my men’s choir:

In Freud und Leid
Zum Lied bereit.

In joy and suffering always ready to sing a song. The choir members come from all walks of life: painters, masons, academicians, physicians, dentists, forest workers and it’s great to swap stories in a tavern after the singing is love. We talk about post-war times, of aches and pains and raise our glasses to celebrate someone’s birthday. There are stories, anecdotes, poems and lyrics everywhere. Living in the Dreisam Valley is so pleasant, a valley with pretty detached houses and picturesque Black Forest homesteads on green meadows and protected by blue mountains. And a reliable wind that cools the valley and is called the ‘Höllentäler,’ the wind from the Vale of Hell. On a clear day you can even see the Vosges of France. The symphony of the songbirds in the early morning hours turns me on creatively.

Is this not Heaven on Earth?
The lush green grass in the meadows,
Has long been cut,
The hay already stacked in the barn.
I gather Löwenzahn for our rabbits,
Tasty salad for humans,
A delight for hares and rabbits.

Frau Frutiker greets me warmly,
Offers Schwarzwälder specialities.
She plays the flute,
Her husband Clemens
The trumpet
At the Buchenbacher Musikverein.

In the Himalayas and the Alps the leaves remain green under the blanket of snow throughout the cold, frosty winter and when Spring comes you notice the flowers have flourished amazingly fast. In the Alps turn me on creatively, tall snowy peaks and the smell of the alpine flowers like white anemones, violet enzians, thorny pippau, the edelweiss, queen of the Alpine flowers, with its thick white petals, the Silberdistel and the Alpine rose. I think about Grindelwald and the walk down from the Zermatt to the valley below and muscle cramps in following day.

A walk along the North Sea shores of Sylt and Langeooge. I feel happiness and gratitude sweep over me.

Creativity brings me to Rainer Maria Rilke who advised a young poet thus: ‘Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.’

I find Karl Ove Knausgaard fascinating as a writer and his days of Creative Writing in Bergen, Norway. He writes about real people.

  1. What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?

My favourite word is solitude and I love it when a French lady uses it or in a chanson. In German it’s Einsamkeit or also Abgelegenheit, literary expressions of loneliness.

O, solitude
Alone in my thoughts
In the woods,
Listening to the Schwarzwald streams,
Away from the crowds.
To make for the open spaces
And the heights of the Black Forest,
Alps, Vosges and Himalayas.
Serene and contented,
With small things in life:
Books and a room,
A simple life.

  1. What is your pet peeve?

The fact that the neo-Nazis are on the rise again in Britain, Germany and are getting organized at the European level and nobody cares about it. Through the unification of West and East Germany the number of aggression and brutality against migrants have increased enormously. I sing in a men’s choir and every year on Volkstrauertag (Memorial Day) we sing and the local priest and mayor hold speeches on remembering the past, the Holocaust victims and expressing pleas for a better, peaceful world. It is an annual ritual but world peace is far away. The rightists are well-organised in Europe and have manoeuvred themselves, have infiltrated parliaments and work with clever lawyers. It is the task of the democratic elements in these societies to be on the guard and keep the dark, in this case brown, elements at bay, lest the past mayhem take place when innocent people were arrested, imprisoned in concentration camps because of their religion, political views and complexions. The nefarious deeds of the Third Reich are being repeated and politicians are turning a deaf ear by calling them ‘isolated instances.’ What really peeves me is that the rightists have made incursions into the institutions of modern Germany and the predominant society still has a ‘couldn’t care less’ attitude, and the rightists appear in courts and parliaments with the same non-chalance they had during the 1930s.

  1. What defines Satis Shroff?

I would say compassion, kindness and love for Homo sapiens and the flora and fauna of this world and respect for Mother Earth (Prakriti). A smile to open hearts and inner resilience, the ability to keep trying despite the odds. Along the way I have embraced carpe diem and use my time for writing, singing (men’s choir) and art. At school I was taught punctuality is the politeness of princes. I don’t believe in Nepali time. This holds good for everyone who wants to take his or her career forwards. Keeping good habits and eliminating bad ones is always helpful in this long journey called life. In the past I’ve written about the revolution in Nepal, the Maoist takeover of the former kingdom, the ousting of the king and monarchy in Nepal, about remembering World Wars I and II, Stolpersteine in Freiburg’s cobbled streets, and the need to preserve our wildlife heritage through Wildlife Conservation.

The value of my poems and other writings will be decided by time. It is the story of migration from prose to poetry, and also an internal and external migration to the outer world. A migration from the myths and teachings of Hinduism, Buddhism and Shamanism of the Himalayas to a world of ‘abendliche Christianity,’ Greens, leftists and rightists and democrats of different shades. And the resulting need to create and extend a Culture of Remembering Germany’s hoary historical past which affected and inflicted so many nations in Europe, Africa and Asia. To learn not to make the same mistakes we made in history.

Spotlight On Writers – Satis Shroff

Spotlight On Writers - Satis Shroff, interview at Spillwords.com

Spotlight On Writers – Satis Shroff

AUTHOR BLOG: SATIS SHROFF

AUTHOR BLOG: SATIS SHROFF

Satis Shroff is based in Freiburg and is a poet, humanist, lecturer and artist. He writes poems, fiction, non-fiction, and also on ecological, ethno-medical, culture-ethnological themes. The German media describes him as a mediator between western and eastern cultures and he sees his future as a writer, singer (MGV-Kappel) and poet.

He received the Pablo Neruda Award 2017 for Poetry in Crispiano (Italy, the Heimat Medaillie Baden-Württemberg for Literature and Heimatpflege 2018  and the DAAD-Prize.

Books by Satis Shroff

HIMALAYA MICROPOEMS: Satis Shroff

Lights flicker in Mahabharat mountains
The air smells of rhododendrons
The splendour of the Himalayas.

* * *

I stay in my tent
Dream of cherry blossoms
And a blonde in kimono.

* * *

The fishtailed one appears
Gleaming in silvery moonshine
Mirrored on placid Phewa lake.

* * *

Winter is here
The magic of snowy landscape
Out with the snowboots.

* * *

Snowflakes falling from Heaven
Frau Holle is dusting blankets
Gott sei Dank my heater works

* * *

Art by Satis Shroff

Clouds waltz in the sky
Men are out to conquer
The holy Himalayan peaks.

* * *

Sudden monsoon rain
Soaks the mountainside
A landslide causes screams of agony.

* * *

Baptism of monsoon
A landslide washed the road away
Groping and cursing uphill as a child.

The large ice chunks leap
Crash upon the fragile tents
The base camp’s a crevice.

* * *

Snow in my tent
Earthquake
Tremor in my heart

* * *

It’s April
The air is getting thinner
Avalanche growls.

* * *

The Alsatian’s muzzle
Sniffs and buries deep
A hand is uncovered.

* * *

The black cat prowls at night
A long day of napping
Lies ahead in Namchebazaar.

* * *

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

Beneath my tree’s canopy
I sit and sip
My cuppa Ilam tea.

  • * * *

A DREAM LED TO ANOTHER: SATIS SHROFF

I was around twenty years old,
My head full of dreams.
I left the Himalayan foothills to win a dream:
A dream to go to Europe, visit places I’d read about.
The Bastille from Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities,
Where I spent time recalling the French Revolution.
My friend’s Parisienne sister shook her head and said:
‘Monsieur Satish, there are other ways of spending an afternoon in Paris.’
The smell of sea food at a French harbour,
Such as the peasants of Normandy built.
La Rochelle and the German bunkers in the Ile d’ Oleron.
I peered at sea fogs from the mighty Atlantic,
Watched the ‘last oozing, hours by hours,
From a cider-press’ in the Vosges, as John Keats aptly put it.

***

In Blenhelm’s little tavern I saw murals of its famous son:
Winston Leonhard Spencer Churchill.
I stood in front of Churchill’s grave;
Above his remains lay his mother.
The words of James Shirley came to my mind:
‘Death lays his icy hands on kings,
Sceptre and crown,
Must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal made.
With the poor crooked scythe and spade.’
I listened to the English ‘Country Sound,’
I’d read in William Cowper’s verses.
An eighteenth century house, described by George Eliot.
A pub akin to the one in John Burn’s ‘Tam o’ Shanter’:
Even though ‘pleasures are like poppies spread.’
Took a swig of English ale in picturesque Burford,
A Cotswold town in Southern England.
Country scenarios depicted by John Milton in ‘The Poet’s Pleasure:’
‘And the milkmaid swingeth blithe,
And the mower whets his scythe.’
To walk over the Thames Bridge between Waterloo Bridge and Chelsea,
As in Stephen Gwynn’s ‘Decay of Sensibility:’
‘The half-light when the lamps are first lit’ in London.
Where the people are now confronted
With the uncertainties of Brexit,
And promises made by Trump to May.
Peered at the Gurkha and Scottish Guards
Doing their loyal duty near the Buckingham Palace.
One dream led to another;
I found myself in Stratford-upon-Avon,
To be reminded of the Bard’s words:
‘Turning again toward childish treble,
Pipes and whistles in his sound’
From The Seven Ages of Man.

***

‘In Denmark’ with Edmund Gosse,
When he wrote about:
‘All the little memories of this last afternoon,
How trifling they are,
How indelible!’
At the German butcher’s in Oberried with my friend,
Who died later of aneurisma of the aorta,
The Metzer’s daughter was what he called an ‘Augenweide.’
Having read Mary Shelly’s ‘Frankenstein,’
I found myself in the apothecary in Heidelberg castle,
And later in the Anatomy Museum in Basle,
Fascinated by the deformed specimens,
Preserved in formalin.
Back in the lovely Schwarzwald town of Freiburg im Breisgau
I dissecting an elderly German’s body,
Under glaring white neon light.
Did he fight the Russians in Stalingrad?
He couldn’t tell me his story.

***

The inner German border wall,
Long lines of inhuman barbed wire,
Meant to keep humans in,
Not out.
Hitler said: ‘The great masses of the people
…will more easily fall victim to a great lie
Than to a small one.’

***

Queen Aishwarya and Frau Marianne Weizsäcker in Bonn,

King Birendra in the foreground at La Redoute.

The British Gurkhas were also present on the occasion in civil.
King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya came
On a state visit to Bonn,
With familiar faces from Nepal’s media.
A reception at La Redoute and Graf Zeppelin,
And a salute from the Bundesgrenzschutz
In Echterdingen.
A few years later the Royal family was massacred,
By the crown prince so the tale goes.
‘Strange things happen in Nepal,’ said my Swabian physician.

***

As if in reply to the 20th year of the Berlin Wall.
A metal plate with these words of Konrad Adenauer
Was hung on 13.8.1981 in Bayern-Thüringen:
“The entire German folk
Behind the iron Curtain call us,
Not to forget them!
We will not stand still,
We will not rest,
Till Germany
Is united again
In peace and freedom.”
We’re fortunate to have lived to see the day.
An invitation from President Gauck
And Winfried Kretschmann
Flattered to me one day from Stuttgart.
A Spätzle lunch with the Landesvater
And dinner with the President.

***

My dreams lived in my head with fluid thoughts.
Went to Venice and imagined the speech
Of Portia to Shylock in The Merchant of Venice:
‘…in the course of justice,
None of us should see salvation.’
A dream within a dream,
Of a young man from the Himalayas,
Now grown old with a shuffling gait.
Goes to Crispano to be bestowed the Neruda Award 2017,
For his verses
And thereby hangs a tale.

* * *

A Schauinsländer Berggeist-Kappel visits the author

(c) foto courtesy: stefanheinz, germany

MOON OVER THE ARABIAN SEA (Satis Shroff, Freiburg-Kappel)

Surrounded by the greyish clouds,
I see a full moon
Glowing in the Prussian blue sky.
I walk to the Gateway of India,
Look beyond,
Where the breakers
Thrash against Mumbai’s shore.

Waves from the Arabian Sea,
That have brought pirates,
Islamic invaders,
Warships of colonial powers
From foreign shores.
Goa, Pondicherry,
Calcutta,
Become household words,
In Portugal, France and Britain.

A warm reassuring breeze
Whispers by.
Gandhi’s dreams have come true,
The British have come true,
The British, French and Portugese
Have left the shores
Of Hindustan.
Tourists now spend their money
On sightseeing:
Corpses smouldering
At the ghats,
Candlelight dinners
In Rajput palaces,
Armies of beggars
Along the footpaths,
Slumdogs
Who won’t be millionaires.

The rich dream of more dollars,
At the cost of construction workers,
Underpaid and exploited.
The poor dalits cling
To their dreams at night,
For dreams are not forbidden
And are as free,
As the bad air you breathe.

In my thoughts,
A heavenly Apsara appears,
Dances and sings,
Her heavenly song.

My reverie is broken
By the hooting
Of a white ocean liner,
Streaking above
The ripples of the sea.

* * *

THE POETRY OF EXISTENCE (Satis Shroff, Freiburg-Kappel)

What a boon,
A peaceful day
Without human cries,
Pent up emotions,
Banging doors,
Crashing cutlery,
Loud stereo songs,
Intrusive MP3s
Belting out Sido,
Bushido, 50 Cent.

A tranquil day
Means a lot to humans.
To immerse oneself
In a book,
Is to take time
From the bustle
Of everyday life.
Even though it’s
Another person’s life
You read about.

Is the hero courageous,
Or is he cowardly?
Does he tell lies
Or is he loyal?
Does he carry a weapon
Like Ian Flemming’s hero?
Or are words his weapon?

Time flies:
A stack of dishes to clean,
There’s dust on the floor,
A meal to cook.
What did you say?
Time and tide,
Waits for no one.

* * *

THE JOY OF DANCING (Satis Shroff)

The first strokes of the music
And your brain tells you
What dance it belongs to.

You’re already underway,
With your beautiful partner,
Even before the others awake,
On the dance floor,
Gliding gently in tact.
That’s creativity for you.

The more you dance
The more you enjoy.
You know there are people around you,
In evening gowns and dinner jackets,
Sipping their champagne,
Sekt or red wine.

Nodding,
Doing minimal gyrations,
Smiling and feeling good,
Between morsels of caviar.

As the evening advances,
You feel ecstatic,
In your mind
You’re doing fine.

Ah, there’s epinephrine
Surging in your blood.
Your heart is beating faster,
Your legwork is not bad,
You smile at your partner,
Isn’t life delightful?

* * *

A Handkerchief (Satis Shroff)

What is a handkerchief,
But a piece of cloth,
Meant to wipe
A weeping widow’s tears,
Or the fluid from the nose,
When you’ve caught the cold.

A handkerchief can mean,
The loneliness of humans,
At the face of loss,
In cafes, Bahnhofs,
Airports and bus-stations,
Operas, theatres,
Cinemas and plays
Of this worldly stage.

A handkerchief
Brings people together,
Empathy emanates
Between strangers.
We show we are humans,
With emotions
And not zombies.

Sometimes,
Even in public
We tremble,
Tears roll down
Our cheeks,
As we try to keep
A stiff upper lip.

Creative Writing, Freiburg

About the Author:
Satis Shroff is a prolific writer and teaches Creative Writing at the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg. He is the published author of three books on http://www.Lulu.com: Im Schatten des Himalaya (book of poems in German), Through Nepalese Eyes (travelgue), Katmandu, Katmandu (poetry and prose anthology by Nepalese authors, edited by Satis Shroff). His lyrical works have been published in literary poetry sites: Slow Trains, International Zeitschrift, World Poetry Society (WPS), New Writing North, Muses Review, The Megaphone, The Megaphone, Pen Himalaya, Interpoetry. Satis Shroff is a member of “Writers of Peace”, poets, essayists, novelists (PEN), World Poetry Society (WPS) and The Asian Writer. Satis Shroff is a poet and writer based in Freiburg (poems, fiction, non-fiction) who also writes on ecological, ethno-medical, culture-ethnological themes. He has studied Zoology and Botany in Nepal, Medicine and Social Sciences in Germany and Creative Writing in Freiburg and the United Kingdom. He describes himself as a mediator between western and eastern cultures and sees his future as a writer and poet. Since literature is one of the most important means of cross-cultural learning, he is dedicated to promoting and creating awareness for Creative Writing and transcultural togetherness in his writings, and in preserving an attitude of Miteinander in this world. He lectures in Basle (Switzerland) and in Germany at the Akademie für medizinische Berufe (University Klinikum Freiburg) and the Zentrum für Schlüsselqualifikationen (University of Freiburg). Satis Shroff was awarded the German Academic Exchange Prize.

MEHR MEER

A translator and essayist
Born in 1946 in Slovakia,
Grew up in Switzerland,
Living in Zürich,
Won the Swiss Buch.09 award
And 50,000 Swiss Franks.

The jury was delighted
With her ‘Mehr Meer,’
Written with a pen
Dipped in beauty
That fills the world
With poetry.

With her More Seas,
She sailed past Peter Stamm
With his novel Seven Years,
Shortlisted contemporaries:
Eleonore Frey, Jürg Laederach,
Angelika Overath and Urs Widmer.

A tale about memories
Of a daughter,
Of Hungarian
And Slovenian descent,
With sojourns in Budapest,
Ljublijana, Triest, Zürich,
Leningrad and Paris.
The poetess of this passage
Of memories
Is Ilma Rakussa,
A sincere lady with a haircut,
Akin to Prince Valiant,
With a soft voice.

The atmosphere was sticky,
The visitors stiff,
Perspiring in their garments
At the Basler Erlenmatten Street.
What a pleasant surprise:
Buch.09 is going
Buch Basel again.


* * *

Satis Shroff sings ‘Speedy Gonzales’ at the Brauchtumsabend in Kappel

Broadway Songs und Deutsche Lieder aus dem Dreisamtal (Satis Shroff)

Ich hätte nie gedacht, dass ich alte Deutsche Lieder und Broadway-Songs mit den einheimischen Deutschen des Männergesangsverein (Männerchor) in Freiburg-Kappel singen würde.

In den vergangenen Jahren wurde ich öfters von Alois aus Zähringen gefragt, ob ich nicht auch singen möchte. Aber ich hatte gezögert, weil ich zu beschäftigt mit meinen Vorträgen und Kinder gewesen war. Inzwischen ist der alte Alois an einer Herz-Attacke gestorben und ich vermisse sein freundliches Gesicht, wie er mich jedes Mal, wenn ich ihn in Zähringen traf mit einem Lächeln begrüßte.

Hier in Kappel singe ich nun als zweiter Tenor und es ist wirklich spannend. 20 Euro für die Mitgliedschaft und weitere 100 Euro für den blauen Rock, und Sie sind Teil des Chores, bereit für das Singen bei eigenen Konzerten und als Gastchor bei Festen in den verschiedenen Teilen des Dreisamtals. Ich konnte es nicht glauben. Tatsächlich probten wir deutsche und englische Lieder in Hochdorf mit den Damen dort und sangen mit den anderen Chören aus dem Dreisamtal in Buchenbach mit 600 deutschen Zuhörern und Applaudierern.

Das Dreisamtal besteht aus Kirchzarten, Oberried, Buchenbach und Stegen. Man hat einen herrlichen Ausblick auf das Dreisamtal, wenn man aus Buchenbach in Richtung Höllental über Himmelreich geht. Die angrenzenden Täler sind sehr romantisch mit grünen Wiesen, rauschenden Bächen und malerischen Schwarzwald Bauernhöfen, eine Mühle, die noch in Betrieb ist und die Ruinen der Burg Wiesneck. Da ist dann noch der Hansmeyerhof, ein Bauernhof Museum in der Nähe von Wagensteig. Unweit entfernt liegt Stegen, auf der sonnigen Seite des Dreisamtal. Das Schloss von Weiler wurde im Jahre 1663 erbaut und ist einen Besuch wert, ebenso wie die Schlangen-Kapelle in Wittental. Die barocken Kirche von Eschbach ist einer der schönsten in der Freiburger Gegend. Es gibt viele Schwarzwälder Bauernhöfe, die darauf warten von Ihnen entdeckt zu werden. Vom Lindenberg haben Sie einen ausgezeichneten Blick auf das Dreisamtal.

Die Chor-Mitglieder trugen ihre traditionellen Kostüme. Was für ein wunderbares Gefühl. Man spührte wie das Adrenalin in den Blutkreislauf strömte als mit den Anderen gesungen wurde. “Ein Chor ist nichts für Individualisten. Man muss einen harmonischen Klang haben “, das war immer die Mahnung des jungen Dirigenten Felix Rosskopf, wenn wir probten.

Es war das erste Mal seit dem Zweiten Weltkrieg, dass alle Dreisamtal Chöre kamen und zusammen sangen. Während des Krieges waren die Deutschen angehalten, Kriegs- und Vaterlandslieder zu singen. Buchenbach scheint ein Problem zu haben, das mittlerweile in den meisten Männer-gesangsvereinen in Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz deutlich wird. Die ältere Generation bricht wegen des Alters und aus Mangel an Mobilität weg und die jüngere “Love-Parade” Generation kümmert sich nicht um die Pflege der alten Tradition des Vaterland.

Die Sänger von Buchenbach sangen: Sing mit mir, Oh Shenandoah, Mit Musik geht alles besser. Die Sängerinnen und Sänger von St. Peter aus den hohen Schwarzwald sangen: Freude am Leben, welches mehr gesprochen als gesungen war. O du schöner Rosengarten, das war eine Liebeserklärung und ein anderes lyrisches Lied, welches Rot sind die Rosen hiess. Liebe ist immer ein beliebtes Thema.

Die Sängerinnen und Sänger aus Ebnet traten als gemischter Chor auf. “weil viele Männer verstorben sind oder den Verein verlassen haben.”, so Klaus.

Die Ebneter Sänger sangen: Capri Fisher, Ich brech die Herzen der stolzesten Frauen, ein lady-killer song in deutscher Sprache und ein Walzer für dich und mich.

Der Männerchor aus Kirchzarten sang: Die Sonne erwacht, ein traditionelles deutsches Lied, Hymne, O Iris komponiert von Wolfgang Mozart.

Ich sah eine Menge von Sängern, die eine fliehende Stirn, leuchtend unter den Lichtern der Bühne, hatten. Die meisten von ihnen trugen eine Brille und alle waren für diesen Anlass gekleidet. Die Damen tragen lange, fließende Abendkleider oder kamen in den traditionellen Dirndeln des Schwarzwaldes, und die Männer in Trachten oder tadellosen Anzügen.

Kirchzarten liegt auf dem Weg zum Hirschsprung, Hinterzarten und Titisee, einem Gletschersee. In Kirchzarten können Nordic Walking machen, Golf spielen, entspannen im Kneipp-Zentrum mit Wassertherapie und man kann Französisch Boule spielen wie Peter Mayle (A Year in Provence).

Die Sängerinnen und Sänger aus Zarten sangen: Heimat, deine Sterne, Strangers in the Night, Are You Lonesome Tonight (deutsche Version).

Wir, von Kappel, sangen: “Ein Freund, ein guter Freund und La Le Lu ein Wiegenlied für Jung und Alt aus einem alten deutschen Film mit Heinz Rühmann in der Hauptrolle.

Die Sänger aus Oberried sangen am besten. Oberried ist für die höchsten Gipfel des Schwarzwaldes bekannt: Feldberg und Schauinsland. Es gibt ein Heimatmuseum genannt Schniederlihof, einen Steinbruch auf einem Hügel, das in ein Museum umgewandelt wurde, und natürlich die Unterhaltungpark Steinwasen. Die Vegetation in diesem Teil ist sub-alpine. Im Sommer kann man jede Menge Bergsteigen, Spaziergänge genießen und Picknicks auf den saftigen grünen Wiesen. Im Winter ist Oberriede ein Skiparadies. Hier ist ebenso Deutschlands erster Bergnatur Friedhof.

Zu einer anderen Gelegenheit wurden wir von den Hochdorfern als Gastsänger eingeladen. Das Thema war Filmmusik und wir sangen Lieder aus: Adiemus, Jungle Book, den Blauen Engel, Truxa, Gasparone, Lena’s song, Gabriella’s Song, Fünf Millionen suchen einen Erben, Frauen sind keine Engel (Frauen sind keine Engel), True Love, mein Heart Will auf (Titanic) Go, Nur nicht aus Liebe weinen, In mir klingt ein Lied, Für ein Nachtvoller Seligkeit (Kora Terry), Moon River (aus Breakfast at Tiffany’s), Midnight Blues und Conquest of Paradise. Ein großer Bildschirm in der Nähe der Bühne wurde benutzt, um Szenen aus den Filmen zu zeigen. Auch wir Sänger wurden digital aufgenommen. Das deutsche Publikum zeigte sich sehr empfänglich und Felix Rosskopf gab sein Bestes. Der Applaus in der Hochdorfer Halle war donnernden. Die Standing Ovations am Ende haben uns sehr gefreut. Das war ein tolles Gefühl, als wir alle Die Eroberung des Paradieses mit Begeisterung sangen. Der Text ist eigentlich albern und künstlich, aber die Wirkung auf das Publikum ist großartig. Man konnte fühlen, wie der Funke vom Dirigenten über die Sänger zum Publikum übersprang. Das Singen dieser Lieder war eine fantastisches Wellness-Erlebnis und extrem in seiner therapeutischen Wirkung. Das tut im Herzen gut. Nachdem das Singen beendet ist, ist es üblich zusammen zu sitzen und etwas deutsches Bier oder Wein vor Ort zu Trinken. Man spricht über das Konzert, reißt Witze oder diskutiert über private Angelegenheiten , wenn man Lust hat.

Wenn man sich so einem Verein verpflichtet hat, lernt man alles über sein Dorf und dessen Leute kennen.

Man sagt, wenn drei Deutsche zusammen kommen gründen sie einen Verein. Und so war es, als vor 75 Jahren ein Gesangverein versuchte die alten Lieder zu retten. In Buchenbach gründeten sie den Verein Edelweiss und ein Motto ist: “Wir amüsieren uns zu Tode.” Ein Gesangverein ist ein Ort, wo man unterhalten wird, in dem Sie über Ihre Probleme mit Ihrem Gesang Kameraden sprechen und sich gegenseitig helfen. So war es seit Generationen, und diese Tradition wurde fortgesetzt. Zum Beispiel, wenn mein Freund Klaus Sütterle einen Teil seines alten Haus renovieren will, fragt er nur jemand aus dem Verein in einem der sozialen Trinkgelage nach Hilfe und schon ist bereits alles im Gange, ganz ohne Bürokratie. Es ist eine Politik des Gebens und Nehmens, wie in den alten Tagen.

Viele suchen nach einem Grund im Leben. Durch die Texte der Lieder und der Prozess des zusammen Singens im Chor hilft in der Gemeinde und dieses Handeln wiederum führt zu Begegnungen und Austausch von Ideen und Spaß am Leben.

Die Texte tragen dazu bei, die Werte, die in dieser technischen Welt verloren gehen zu erhalten, wenn Arbeit entfällt, Plätze wegrationalisiert werden und die Angst vor dem Verlust des Arbeitsplatzes steigt. Das hängt über dem Kopf wie das Schwert des Damokles. In einem Gesangverein ist es üblich seine Sorgen und sein Glück zu teilen, mit einander zu reden und sich einzuladen. Es gibt sicherlich eine Menge Vorzüge und Vorteile Mitglied in einem Verein oder Club zu sein.

Ich persönlich denke, es gibt nichts Besseres für die Seele, als laut zu singen, ein Gedicht laut zu rezitieren, weil wir alle mit einer Stimme ausgestattet sind, mit der wir eine Melodie erzeugen können. Wenn du mit anderen zusammen singst beginnst du zu realisieren, wie gut man singt, so verbessern Sie dann Ihre Stimme, Atmung und sozialen Fähigkeiten. In einem Chor können Sie Alltagsstress loswerden, kreativ sein und sich einen positiven Stress machen, anstatt einer negativen Stressbelastung zu erliegen.

Man hat immer ein Gefühl der Hochstimmung, wenn der letzte Akkord erklingt. Ah, das Singen bereitet soviel Freude. Statt deprimierender, frustrierender Gedanken, haben Sie positive Bilder und Gefühle, und entwickeln die Kraft in Ihrer Stimme mit Elan und wachsen mit dem Lied. Sie machen Musik mit Ihren Stimmen. Man sieht nur lächelnde Gesichter und so lächelt man zurück. Dieses Gefühl ist ansteckend. Man knüpft Kontakte zu Anderen vor und hinter der Bühne. Wenn Sie allein und traurig sind, singen und jubeln Sie sich froh. Ihr Gesang erheitert auch andere und Sie sind sozial integriert, bevor Sie es realisieren. Plötzlich singen Sie bei Konzerten alte, deutsche und neue, englische Lieder die bei Jung und Alt bekannt sind.

Singen hilft Hemmungen und soziale Barrieren abzubauen und führt zu einer Gemeinsamkeit unter den Menschen. Es gibt ein Miteinander, statt Vorurteile und Egoismus. Sie tun etwas für die Anderen und erwarten deshalb nicht, dass jemand etwas für sie tut. Sie teilen ihre Freude. Durch die Lieder bringen wir unsere Gefühle des Glücks und der Freude, der Trauer und des Leids zum Ausdruck. Wir erfreuen uns und finden Trost in den Texten der Lieder und lassen uns mitreissen von der überragenden Wirkung sakraler Musik. Durch das Singen werden Hormone wie Endorphine und Epinephrine (Adrenalin) freigesetzt. Das ist gut für den Kreislauf und fördert die Gesundheit.

Unter den Sängern haben wir Sprichwort.

Wo man singt da lass Dich nieder, böse Menschen kennen keine Lieder.

Das ist genau das was ich gemacht habe. Ein wunderbarer Ort auf dieser Erde, dieser Schwarzwald.

Herzlich Willkommen im Schwarzwald! Welcome to the Black Forest!

Songs from the Schwarzwald, St. Peter#satisshroff

CATMANDU, FREIBURG & OTHER POEMS (Satis Shroff)

FREIBURG, CATMANDU & OTHER POEMS (SATIS SHROFF)

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FREIBURG AND CATMANDU (Satis Shroff)

Freiburg: the finest spire in Christendom,

Which bombs couldn’t destroy

In two Great Wars.

Old men pulled carts with their belongings,

Along the cobbled Kaiser-Joseph-Strasse.

Women were taken to dances,

By African American GIs.

Children received chocolates.

‘Hallo Fräulein!’ did the rounds,

In poverty-stricken, ramshackled Germany.

The GIs returned years later to admire

The splendour of cities they’d bombed.

The Fräuleins were elderly ladies now,

Who frequented posh cafes, operas and lectures.

Catmandu: the all-seeing-eyes

Of the primordeal Buddha,

Still welcomes visitors

From around the globe.

The hippies have long left

This cannabis paradise of yore.

Its hotels and trekking lodges offer

Western food galore,

And fast-climbs for dudes and nerds

To Everest.

The Gurkhas still die under foreign skies,

For the Queen of England.

The Sherpas and porters carry the sahib’s loads,

Suffer from acute-mountain-sickness,

Or still die as unsung heroes,

As Tigers of the Snow.

The children still beg in its strets

Or work in shady backrooms,

Of outsourced fashion firms.

Cat Stevens sings as Yusuf even today.

* * * *

THE DANCE OF THE BIRCH TREES (Satis Shroff)

The naked white birch trees

Stand close to each other,

Waiting for the music

Of the Dreisam Valey wind

To begin.

A gust comes,

Followed by another,

Making the trees sway,

Like a wise white woman’s long tresses,

The thin, supple twigs

That almost reach half the size of the trees,

Have a faster rhythm of their own.

The hurricane-like wind

Gathers its energy for the finale.

Ah, the upper branches

With capillary-like twigs,

As they anastomose,

Developing into a canopy,

Become intensive

In their movements to and fro.

In the background you see

The blue Black Forest hills,

With homesteads like dots

On the snow-covered hillsides,

That are lit now.

The blueish-grey clouds which were on the move,

Have taken a prussian blue hue.

A weak yellowish light,

Manages to break through,

Above the snowy-clad peaks.

A semblance of a sunset

In the Schwarzwald.

* * *

A TRAIN JOURNEY (Satis Shroff)

A screaming train,

Billowing smoke and sparks,

As it reaches Ghoom hill,

Descends to Darjeeling

Looping its way to lessen its speed.

What unfurls is a memorable Bergblick:

The majestic panorama of the snown peaks,

The Kanchenjunga in all its splendour.

The summits like a jeweled crown,

Bathed in golden, yellow and orange light.

A moment of revelation in life,

Shared on a particular evening,

As the sun goes down slowly,

The mountain range is glowing,

A Himalayan glow.

A feast for the eyes of the beholder,

The play of lights

Evoked by the dying sun,

Upon the massif.

* * *

MY MOM’S GARDEN (Satis Shroff)

THERE’S a microcosmos

In my Mom’s garden.

I hear her calling my name.

No, it isn’t the ‘sh’ of Sanskrit,

Nor the ‘sch’ of the Alemannic tongue.

It’s a Nepalese accent from the hills.

A French lass prounced it

With an Alsatian lash.

My Mom loved and grew roses.

In Summer the fragrant aroma

Of the pink and red roses,

Worked like aphrodiciacs.

She grew cabbages, salads and lentils,

Took delight in her abundance.

Sparrows flew around busily in summer,

Swallows flew low in winter.

Between June till September,

The torrential monsoon.

A parrot ith red eyes whirrs by,

Brings the day to an end.

The trees, shrubs and flowers are thankful

Towards Indra who has sent rain.

After Dad’s tragic demise,

She lives in an apartment in the capital.

No garden, just salbei and a few flowers

On the window sill,

As she prays to the Gods

In the Abode of the Snows.

* * *

WIN THE DAY (Satis Shroff)

WHEN you withhold yourself

You become weak,

For it is you yourself,

Who does this to yourself.

Give in,

Surrender to yourself

And you have won the day.

* * *

STORM IN THE NIGHT (Satis Shoff)

I walke up and peer from my cosy room.

The trembling waves shatter noisily,

With the ebb and the tide.

The frowning cumuli gather in the vast sky.

It’s raining and the waves become choppy,

Trawlers are tossed like logs

By the furious water.

The waves thrash on the cliffs,

Which stand to attention

Like sentinels as the war rages,

The krieg of the elements.

Oblivious of the storm in the night,

I take refuge under my warm blanket,

At the seaside hotel Mon Bijou

In the isle of Sylt.

* * *

Dreamcatcher Talisman Indian Federn Kultur

MAN’S FOLLEY (Satis Shroff)

Bloody colonial migrations in the West,

Blood feuds between white settlers

Versus the Native Sons of America.

Greed-driven ranchers and gunslingers,

Fighting for land and water rights.

This was how the west was won.

Rights?

The rights of the native Americans?

Or the rights of the invading European grabbers?

The Spirit of the Wild West goes marching on.

America is yet struggling with itself.

The clash of haves and have-nots,

The greed for power of the white mainstream,

The conflict of skin and Social Darwinism

Still spills over in Ferguson,

Mother Earth watches over Man’s folley.

* * *

Image result for royalty free pics moth & candle

THE ADMONITION (Satis Shroff)

The motley mother moth

Warns the young butterfly:

‘Beware of the candle’s

Flickering flame.’

The frolicking butterfly replies:

‘It’s so warm and fascinating.’

Golder, flickering flame,

Spending warmth, light and music.

It enjoys the dance,

As the circling wings sway,

And the inaudible music

Reaches its crescendo.

Flying around the burning candle,

In a trance like a Dervish dancer.

In its merry ecstatic rounds

It forgets the words,

And is singed by the flame,

When a boy opens the window.

A frail frivolous butterfly

That didn’t heed,

The warning of an elderly moth.

Wasn’t the admonition

Of Daedalus the same?

* * *

Image result for royalty free pics autumn leaves

THE UNKRAUT (Satis Shroff)

On the fields are the traces

Of harvested maize.

Where the tender flowers were,

There are now brown, russet leaves,

Scattered by the wind,

From the Vale of Hell.

The leaves that gave joy

In their autumnal gaiety,

Now strewn upon the earth,

To be thrashed by the rain,

Trodden by feet in trekking boots.

An elderly lady on high heels

Wobbles and breaks her dainty femur,

Over the treacherous unkraut.

The lady is picked up

By an ambulance from the Maltese Cross.

The leaves remain to rot.

No one bothers,

As cars speed to and from

The Black Forest.

* * *

Image result for royalty free happy couples

MERRY TAVERNS (Satis Shroff)

There are taverns in the hamlet,

Where the wine and beer

Make men merry,

And women in deep decolltes,

Cast glances;

Moving their eyelashes.

I leave them to themselves,

As I flee and shun them.

My heart wants Ruhe,

I’m dying of pain,

Of longing for you.

* * *

YEARNING (Satis Shroff)

Women are like flowers:

Jasmine, tulips,

Rhododendrons and roses.

But need you pluck everyone?

How wonderful to admire them,

Take delight at watching them,

As they bloom and wilt.

I see the Schwarzwald stream,

With its refreshing cold water,

Therein I see my countenance,

A pale man with white sideburns.

Then I see you,

A peaceful mind overwhelms me.

My heart begins to glow

With yearning for you.

* * *

Image result for royalty free iceberg images

ENDURING PAIN (Satis Shroff)

Nights I wake up

With terrible pain;

Don’t know where to turn.

Despite the potions from the apothecary,

Capsules from novasulfon, tincture opii,

Pancreas powder with amylase,

Lipase, protease,

Oxalis mixture, hyoscyamus,

Valeriana cocktail,

Depotspritze,

Rounded up with Lormetazepam.

I’m in Schmerz.

I kept a stiff upper lip,

When the chirurg solemnly said:

‘Your tumor is like an iceberg,

We only see the top.

Below it’s growing wantonly.

I’m afraid I can’t operate.

If we begin we’ll never end.

Too many mines in this battlefield.’

I’d been brooding after the computer tomography.

I didn’t wince.

I was in shock.

The realisation of the diagnosis

Sank slowly in my mind.

I decided to make the best of it.

No use reeling under

The shattering words.

When will my anatomical ruin fall?

That wasn’t my problem.

Till then I had time to live,

Every day to the full,

With my senses,

With my thoughts and words.

To borrow a line from John Keats:

‘The poetry of earth is ceasing never.’

The beauty and delight of living

Far exceeds the pain from a tumor,

As big as a fist.

* * *

SNOW IN KAPPEL (Satis Shroff)

At 2 o’ clock in the morning,

I look out of my window:

It’s snowing in Kappel,

In the Schwarzwald.

I see the white snowflakes,

Falling ceaselessly, silently, stealthily,

Made visible by the dim yellowish treet lamp.

A car comes crunching down the curve,

Its red rear-lights glowing.

The rooftops and house railings are covered,

As with powder sugar.

The clouds are veiled,

And Heaven has become frosty.

Ah, I sleep and wake up again,

To find the lovely hamlet

Ringed with hills and meadows,

Covered with a thick mantle of snow.

Dazzling whiteness where you look.

On such a Sunday morning,

I take my snowspade,

To clear the winding stairs:

For common courtesy demands

That passersby shouldn’t slip and fall,

On the street before your house.

We all have to kehr,

Lest others despair.

The shepherd from the Molchhofsiedlung

Has left the once-green meadows,

His hundred sheep don’t bleat anymore,

Below Maier’s Hill.

With my snow-chores done,

Followed by a hearty Black Forest breakfast,

I take a brisk morning walk,

Over the snow-clad landscape,

Respire and enjoy the refreshing Bergluft. Posted on  · Edit

machhapuchare: the fish-tailed one (satis shroff)

machapuchare,pokhara, nepal,pixabay

the fish-tailed one (satisshroff, freiburg)

your eyes never tire of watching

the different moods

of the fish-tailed one in pokhara.

at dawn, noon and dusk.

this majestic peak,

this sacred mountain of the gurung folk,

who live below it,

and revere this towering peak.

no foreign boots are allowed

to trample this path,

and climb to the peak.

climbers have respected this wish

of the gurung folk.

Berge, Gipfel, Schnee, Spitze
foto everest,nepal,pixabay

but the khumbu sherpas,

who are lured by dollars,

offer incense sticks and tormas,

to please, bribe and pacify the gods.

tourism dictates and the locals follow.

enabling global climbers to trudge

over sacred mountains.

no, these moneyed people

don’t worship the mountains,

they worship their egos.

climbing is a conversation piece:

look I climbed everest,

it’s on youtube and facebook.

i made it to the top of the world.

ICH-ICH-ICH.

I did it.

others who weren’t so lucky,

will turn up in a moraine,

years later as stiff corpses.

©satisshroff, freiburg, germany Posted on  · Edit

SCHWARZWALD POEMS: SATIS SHROFF

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ALPINE GRATITUDE (Satis Shroff)

The hamlets are scattered,
Tucked away in the side valleys and spurs
Of the Black Forest,
Which was once dark and foreboding.
A forest that once conjoured myths, legends
And fairy tales.
Under the hay and homesteads,
You find men and mice,
Good natured maids and children,
Healthy and happy cows, goats,
Sheep and swines.
The Schwarzwald farmers paid low taxes,
For Nature punished them enough.
They couldn’t get rich on the craggy soil,
The high elevation and the long, raw winter.
Yet the Black Forest forced the soil,
To yield millet in Summer,
Wheat and barley,
Buried beneath a thick mantle of snow.
Ah, it’s already past the month of October,
The young calves are in the stalls,
After a colourful, traditional walk
From the higher alpine meadows.
There’s corn in the chamber,
Feed for the animals in the barns.
Around Freiburg the apple trees,
Are laden heavily with apples.
Your nostrils smell apple mixed with cinnamon and sugar:
Applekompott, apple moos, apple pancakes and pies.
* * *

FEATHERED FRIENDS (Satis Shroff)

A pair of binocs and patience
Is all you need.
Watching our feathered friends
In the garden or the Black Forest.

Hush! A steglitz with red and white feathers,
Has just come by.
Some pigeons have left Freiburg
And roost on the pine trees,
In the urban outskirts.

The blaumeise is a frequent guest,
With its black streak across the eyes,
And the blue feathered cap it wears.

Yesterday was sunny
And a robin took a speedy bath,
On the stone pool,
Ever on guard,
Lest it be surprised,
By a curious jay or a prowling cat.

Now and then you hear the zaunkönig,
Europe’s smallest bird,
Trilling out loud,
Grabbing everyone’s attention.

But in the evening,
When the sun goes down,
It’s time for the loveliest melodies,
Sung by the blackbird,
From my neighbour’s rooftop.

(c)satisshroff

Glossary:
Steglitz: goldfinch
Blaumeise: blue tit
Zaunkönig: wren
Blackbird: Amsel

Image may contain: bird
  • *  *  *

CHIRPS IN MY GARDEN (Satis Shroff)

Ach,
To lie in bed
And listen to the birds sing.
I peer at the pine trees above,
Heavily laden with fluffy snow,
Like sentinels of the Black Forest.

I espy something moving:
Three deer with moist black noses,
Sniffing the Kappler air,
Strut among the low bushes
In all their elegance,
Only to vanish silently,
Into the recesses of the Foret Noir.

I hear the robin,
Rotkehlchen,
With its clear, loud, pearly tone,
As it greets the day.
Just before sunrise the black bird,
Amsel,
Which flies high on the tree tops,
Delivers its early arias.
The great titmouse stretches its wings
And starts to sing.

The brown sparrows turn up
With their repertoire,
Rap in the garden,
Twitter and chirp aloud.
All this noise makes the bullfinch alert,
For it also wants to be heard.
It starts its high pitched melody
With gusto in the early hours.

The starling clears its throat:
What comes is whistles,
Mingled with smacking sounds.
The woodpecker,
Specht,
Isn’t an early bird,
Starts its day late.
Pecks with its beak,
At a hurried tempo.

If that doesn’t get you out of your bed,
I’m sure you’re on holiday,
Or thank God it’s Sunday.
Other feathered friends
Who frequent our Black Forest house,
Are the green finch, the jay,
Goldfinch which we call ‘Stieglitz,’
Larks, thrush and the oriole,
The Bird of the Year,
On rare occasions.

Glossary:
English, German, Latin names
Robin (Rotkehlchen): Erithacus rubecula
Black bird (Amsel): Turdus merula
Titmouse (Kohlmeise): Parus major
Bullfinch (Rotfinke):
Greenfinch (jay): Chloris chloris
Starling: Sturnus vulgaris
Woodpecker (Specht):
Stieglitz: Carduelis carduelis
Oriole: Oriolus oriolus

* * *
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SUMMER DELIGHTS IN THE SCHWARZWALD (Satis Shroff)

I sat in the garden
With Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure
On my lap,
And saw a small butterfly
With dark spots on its frail wings,
Violet patterns on its tail.
It was Aglais utricae
Flattering lightly
Between the marigolds
And chrysanthemums.

The Potentilla nepalensis
Was growing well
Under the shade of the rhododendrons.
The great pumpkin was spreading
Its leafy tentacles everywhere.
The tomatoes were fighting for light
Hiding beneath its gigantic green leaves.


I removed long, brown snails,
A hobby-gardener of Nepalese descent,
In a lovely white house
With character in Freiburg-Kappel,
An Allemanic stronghold.

Once the subject of dispute
Between Austria and France,
Now a sleepy residential area
Of Freiburg im Breisgau.

* * *

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Satish Shroff hat sechs Bücher geschrieben: Im Schatten des Himalaya (Gedichte und Prosa), Through Nepalese Eyes (Reisebericht), Katmandu, Katmandu (Gedichte und Prosa mit Nepali autoren) Glacial Whispers (Gedichtesammlung zwischen 1997-2010).
Er hat zwei Sprachführer im Auftrag von Horlemannverlag und Deutsche Stiftung für Entwicklungsdienst (DSE) für Auslandsmitarbeiter der GTZ, sowie Goethe Institut, DAAD, Carl Duisburg Gesellschaft etc. geschrieben.
Willkommen! Hardik Swagatam! Welcome to Satis Shroff’s Freiburger Literature which  about the musings of the writer & poet, his sketches and drawings, his happiness in Freiburg-Kappel and his longing for the Alps, Himalayas and his musings about the Nature in our environment, which we have to preserve and fight for, lest it be destroyed by human encroachment like in other parts of the world. The writer has worked as a teacher and journalist in Catmandu (Nepal) for The Rising Nepal, a major English language daily.
Having come all the way from the Himalayas, I have found a home in the Dreisamtal. The word ‘Tal’ means a Valley in German. I love the wonderful air (Landluft) here, have made good friends in Kappel, and have been living like Mr. Mathew Lobo, my English school teacher, wrote in an e-mail: ‘Satis, you are Omnia bene facere.’ He now lives down under in Perth, and is rather web-active, despite the fact that he’s an octogenarian bajay, a Nepalese word for grandpa. He was the handsomest guy in Darjeeling in the summer of his life, and now he’s a brilliant example of life-long-learning. You will never grow old as long there’s love and this craving for knowledge in your heart. I remember my Mom telling me when I was a school-kid: ‘Satis, vidya (knowledge) is something that no one can take away from you once you have acquired it.’ And at the University of Freiburg are written three words: Wissen ist Macht.
Well, life is a long journey, as I see it, and we are all protagonists in each of our life stories. In this long journey we meet a good many people who in some way influence us, give us empathy, dignity, strength, show tolerance and we learn to love and admire these meaningful people in our lives, and there are those we shun, abhor and who have a negative influence and aura around them. In the school compound it’s the same thing. You can’t get along with all kids, all teachers, all parents, all colleagues and bosses. A lot of mobbing and bossing going on there. But the wonderful thing is you don’t have to fraternise with ‘em all. Just humour them, bear with them. You don’t have to spend all your life with ‘em. Find peace through prayer, meditation, autogenic training, yoga or whatever, and praise and nurture the child in you, and you will gain strength. Praise yourself for your achievements and delete the bad memories from your life. Tell yourself, you might not wake up tomorrow and live the day full to the brim. Care for your dear ones. If you don’t have one, find one. ‘Wer sucht, der findet’ runs the adage in German. Out there in the wide world there’s definitely someone with the same wavelength as you waiting to be contacted. Follow your heart, not your head.
When you’ve grown older you realise that you cannot get along with everyone. There are people with whom you can only talk about the weather. Even in one’s own family. But there are others who love to talk and have a good time telling about themselves. A good listener and a cheerful attitude always has an advantage. Are you a good listener?
In this epoch of computers, bits and bytes, most of us have no time like in Michael Ende’s Momo-story. We forget to take time, because we’re oh-so-busy. Perhaps we’ll realise it when it’s too late, when our Aufenthaltserlaubnis or stay permit on this planet is over, and our souls head for the cosmos at the speed of light. However, as long as we live we ought to indulge in a bit of enjoyment, fun, wellness and try to find the equilibrium with ourselves. Can you accept the way you are? Are you satisfied with yourself, with what you’ve done till now? Then you’ve lived a meaningful life. Weiter so.
I find it so enriching to have Nature around us, the chirping of the birds in the dense, lush green bushes and trees, the beautiful blue range of hills of the Dreisam Valley, and in the evening the soothing Höllentäler wind after a sunny day.
From the Rosskopf, which is now known for its four white windmill rotor blades, you can have a commanding view of the entire Dreisam Valley and the approach to the Elz Valley, as well as the distant Breisgau. It’s definitely worth a visit.
Ah, the Black Forest was once to the French Forêt Noire, a dark, gloomy area, difficult to traverse and unpopulated forested hills. To the English the Black Forest conjured up images of the Black-Forest Man, who evoked fear in children, and was delpicted as being half-wild and a robber to boot. In Nepal the mothers also mention the yeti or sokpa when the children are not obedient to instill fear in them should they not refrain from their pranks and stubborness. Children are also told tales about the robber Hotzenplotz who is known to blast you with his pepper-pistole. Even Germans from other parts of the country have been known to bestow the Black Forest with negative compliments as a wild and sad place.
However, when a traveller comes from the Rhine, Donau or Neckar Valleys to the heights of the Schwarzwald, they are delighted to find beauty, fresh air, spas (Bad Krozingen, Bad Bellingen, Alpirsbach), great wines and picturesque towns with cobbled streets, the Freiburger Bächele, cathedral and elite university flair, the young people at its Bermuda triangle, Thomas Rees’ wooden works of fantasy exhibited around Kappel and Freiburg. There’s a mingling of traditonal and modern lifestyles. It’s like another world surrounded by blue mountains from Rosskopf to Buchenbach, St.Peter, St.Märgen and beyond. You can hear the visitor from northern Germany and elsewhere say: ‘One can live here and be happy for the rest of your life.’
In every nook and corner of the Black Forest there are legends and stories waiting to be discovered and retold. In Feldberg you have the story about being visited by a ghost, the knight Peter von Stauffenberg and the Fairy from the Sea, the Hambacher Festival, the Witch’s Tower of Bühl, the German Farmer, the Ghost of Windbeck’s Castle Cook, the Water-sprite of Schlucksee to name a few. In Staufen even Mephistopheles is said to have visited Doctor Faustus. The people of the Black Forest still put on their traditional costumes and speak their dialects, despite the modernity and fast pace of everyday life where you have to plan everything. The village bands still play their traditonal tunes, and the male singers in the hamlets, town and cities still have their old collection of songs which they sing with gusto as they have done since generations. You hear the Allemanic dialect along the Rhine and Swabian along the Neckar Valleys.
There’s still a lot of old tradition that is being nursed and developed even among the younger generation. And when the visitor has slept in the Black Forest huts, hotels or bread-and-breakfast accommodations, has talked with the people of the Schwarzwald, they go as friends, taking home wonderful memories of the walks in the wilderness, the mountain glades with mooing and chewing well-fed cows, the excellent Badische cuisine and wines, the tasty Black Forest Torte, the witch’s hole mill and the Vogtsbauern homesteads.
You have to learn or re-learn to appreciate the small, good things in life and Nature is a big present for us all. There’s international poetry, culture: music, dances, theatre and in the wintry nights an endless world of books. Oh, life is just wonderful no matter where you live. It’s the mental attitude that makes or breaks you. Keeping good habits and eliminating bad ones helps you along this long journey called life. I like people who have a good and genuine smile on their faces. Death and separation are also a part of our journeys on this stage called life, where we are actors and have the daily chance to change ourselves and play new, constructive roles. If we prefer not to change our character roles and want to remain bitter, envious, jealous, depressed, frustrated, narrow-minded, then nobody can help us. We’re stopping ourselves. You are the director of your own lives and it’s up you to determine which role you prefer to play. The curtain goes up every morning when we get out of our beds. The birds seem to be twittering Carpe diem to us.
Lyrik:
The Symphony of the Morning (Satis Shroff)
I discern the recurring chirps and whistles
Of the birds in the vast foliage of an oak tree,
A German Eiche.
Whistles, chirps, hoots
And melodious symphony,
Like the incessant waves
Slashing on the shores of the Atlantic.
A single bird gives the tact,
A strong monotonous chirp.
The others follow suit,
Not in unison
But still in harmony.
You notice so many melodies
When you eavesdrop,
In the quiet comfort of your bed.
The natural symphony of the morning:
Adagio, crescendo,
It’s all there
For your fine ears.
CHIRPS IN MY GARDEN (Satis Shroff)
I peer at the pine trees above,
Heavily laden with fluffy snow,
Like sentinels of the Black Forest.
I espy something moving:
Three deer with moist noses,
Sniffing the Kappler air,
Strut among the low bushes
In all their elegance,
Only to vanish silently,
Into the recesses of the Foret Noir.
I hear the robin,
Rotkehlchen,
With its clear, loud, pearly tone,
As it greets the day.
Just before sunrise the black bird,
Amsel,
Which flies high on the tree tops,
Delivers its aries early.
The great titmouse stretches its wings
And starts to sing.
The brown sparrows turn up
With their repertoire,
Rap in the garden,
Twitter and chirp aloud.
All this noise makes the bullfinch alert,
For it also wants to be heard.
It starts its high pitched melody
With gusto in the early hours.
The starling clears its throat.
What comes is whistles,
Mingled with smacking sounds.
The woodpecker,
Specht,
Isn’t an early bird,
Starts its day late.
Pecks with its beak,
At a hurried tempo.
If that doesn’t get you out of your bed,
I’m sure you’re on holiday,
Or thank God it’s Sunday.
Other feathered friends
Who frequent our Black Forest house,
Are the green finch, the jay,
Goldfinch which we call ‘ Stieglitz,’
Larks, thrush and the oriole,
The Bird of the Year,
On rare occasions.
Glossary:
English, German, Latin names
Robin (Rotkehlchen): Erithacus rubecula
Black bird (Amsel): Turdus merula
Titmouse (Kohlmeise): Parus major
Bullfinch (Rotfinke):
Greenfinch (jay): Chloris chloris
Starling: Sturnus vulgaris
Woodpecker (Specht):
Stieglitz: Carduelis carduelis
Oriole: Oriolus oriolus
Thomas Rees: Soyez mysterieuse in the Black Forest (Satis Shroff)
Thomas Rees is a middle aged jeans type, with greying hair at the sides, thin-lipped, blue eyed, married, two children and is a sculptor who likes to depict the powers that be in religion, fantasy and mythology. He has an individual view of sacral stories and objects.
The birth of Jesus is depicted this time in his 6m work of art, and also associated with the murder of the children of Bethlehem, and posed with King Herodes with a crown, the symbol of power on earth. He begins with Adam and Eva at the top, a dragon head to signify a snake, the inferno, the castle of Herodes with a knife, Roman legionaires with lances, angels, the brothers Cain and Abel and the ten commandments. The open grave in Easter signifies Christian hope, and as the reason for Christian existence is a cross, symbolising a certain Friday (Karfreitag). One figure is shown screaming and the other shows sadness and is sunk in itself.
Wonderful, sensitive wooden emotive art: biblical history carved in wood. But wood is Nature and given to withering and change through the negative onslaught of the scorching sun, wet and damp rain, wind, frost, snow and ice.
When you go past the other wooden sculptures of Thomas near his home in Freiburg-Kappel figures you can discern the changes wrought by the four seasons. But it is this change that makes his wooden figures all the more fascinating. What a magical, fascinating place to live in, with all those magnificent works of art from history, mythology, pre-history, from far-off countries, and Thomas’ fantasy which never ceases to conjour new faces, figures and creatures. Need inspiration for your next fantasy novel? Just drop in at Freiburg-Kappel and you’ll certainly be flabbergasted if not astounded.
In a winter-garden structure in his house is a figure with two lovers in ecstatic embrace which I find pure, fascinating with a hunk of eros, a symbol of what love can be in its sensual, romantic form. You can discover influences of the South Sea figures akin to Paul Gauguin, different styles, even a Givenchy bridge near his home, where a rivulet flows down to the maize and potato fields. Figures of forgotten Gods, strong, elegant women. Thomas combines in his sculpture lot of legends and motifs which remind you of the polytheistic character of old religions from the South Sea, monumental Germanic mythological figures or his studies of the female figures, lying prostrate on the ground, standing erect, hands at the sides and head turned to the side. The variations are endless. ‘Love each other and you’ll be happy’ is also his message to fellow humans, and his art has a certain ambiguity: there’s the good and the bad, positive and negative, happiness and sorrow, small and big, monumental at times, sinking or emerging figures., exotic fantasy worlds.
Didn’t Gauguin insist on ‘soyez mysterieuse’? Be mysterious. That’s the feeling you have when you look at his creations.
Thomas sees not only the beautiful world of religion but he points to, and emphasises, also the not-so-holy world: the banishment from Paradise, the building of the Tower of Babylon, murder of the brother, the flood and Noah’s Arch. He asks his fellow humans and theologists: why? He poses this question not only to Homo religiosus but also people who are in search of religion and rituals. You only have to open your eyes, interpret what they reveal and decide yourself in which direction you want to go. Perhaps all religions lead to the same goal: humans should be humans.
Thomas Rees is the most productive person in Freiburg-Kappel and his works are impressionism it its purest form, the depiction of sensory feelings, which tend to be transitory under the changing conditions of light, colour, movement and form. Nature plays a big role in his creativeness, for his art objects are mostly displayed outdoors, without the protection allotted to works of art in art-galleries. He, himself, is a well-trained out-door guy, prefers to wear a bomber-jacket, jeans and a checked lumberjack’s shirt, a soft-spoken person wouldn’t notice in a crowd but endowed with an explosive creativity. What a fantastic neighbour I have. Do pay Kappel a visit: ask anyone and they’ll tell you where the sculptor lives.
Tribute:
Anzu Furukawa and The Rite of Spring (Satis Shroff)
I’d often seen an outsized portrait of Anzu Furukawa in my friend Wolfgang Graf’s home, and when we talked about Anzu and he said, “My own experience with Anzu came in 1999, during the San Francisco Buto Festival. I participated in her workshop and found her to be a good teacher, able to communicate well to her students despite the fact the her English was somewhat limited. She used humour to break the tension that so often can hamper a student from learning. That same humour was communicated in her performance of one of her most famous works, Crocodile Time.”
Anzu Furukawa was born in Tokyo in 1952. She studied in 1972-75 under professor Yoshiro Irino in the Toho-gakuen College of Music. She worked since 1973 as a choreographer, performer and scenarist in various groups in Japan and Europe on many international festivals. Among others she also worked in 1979 as a solo dancer in the Dairaku-kan buto group. An accomplished ballet dancer, modern dancer, studio pianist for ballet companies and a student of modern composition of music in addition to being both a teacher and performer of Buto dance.
In this connection it is necessary to talk about the Buto. ‘What is ‘Buto?’ you might ask.
Buto is a school of modern Japanese dance which was born at the turn of the fifties and sixties. Buto dance has also influenced the development of dance in Finland and in Europe in general.  Buto was born amid the upheavals in Japan, in the atmosphere characterised by student revolts, performance acts and agitation prop. The founder of the school was Tatsumi Hijikata (1928-1986), who came from Northern Japan to Tokyo.  He started with violent and anarchistic dance performances, after which his relations with the official school of Japanese dance were cut off. In his later work, he created a kind of basic technique for buto, which, however, differed from Western aesthetics.  Another “first generation buto artist“ is Kazuo Ohno (1906-) who also visited Finland.
Anzu gave her debut in 1973 as a director and choreographer with the first piece “grand conceptual opera” SALOME TALE at the German Cultural Centre in Tokyo. From 1974 till 79 she worked as a soloist in the dancer performance Dairaruda-kan directed by Akaji Maro. She also worked with Carlotta Ikeda, Ko Muroboshi, Ushio Amagatsu.
In 1979-86 she founded and led, together with Tetsuro Tamuro, the Dance Love Machine group. Then she founded in 1987 the Anzu Dance School in Tokyo and began solo performances in Japan and Europe. In 1987 she created many successful works such as the Anzu´s Animal Atlas, Cells of Apple, Faust II, Rent-a-body, The Detective from China, and A Diamond as big as the Ritz. From 1991 till 1997 she held University Professorship in Hochschule fur Bildende Kunste Braunschweig, Germany (schwerpunkt Performance) . She received many grants and prizes from the Goethe Institut Tokyo Contemporary music series, The Japan Foundation, Nippon Geijutsu Bunka Shinko Kikin, Afred Kordelin Foundation, The Art Council of Province of Central Finland and the Astro-Labium prize, The International Electronic Cinema Festival-Montreux, Kolner Theatre Prize
As a visiting instructor at a Finnish university, Anzu Furukawa concentrated on collaborative productions at the Helsinki City Theatre and staged works like the Rite of Spring in 1994 and the Buto works Bo (Keppi) and Shiroi mizu (Villi Vesi) in 1995 using mostly Finnish dancers. In Western Europe, most people believe that a dancer should stop performing at the top level sometime in their 40s. Due to the attitude of placing importance on the realities of the body mentioned earlier in regard to the interest in Buto, or perhaps the influence of Buto itself, many Finnish dancers still continue to perform into their 50s.
It is the presence of cross-over type activities that transcend conventional category boundaries, like the works of Uotinen that give Finnish dance its contemporary strength. There is also active collaboration with artists from other genre, especially collaborations with media artists and lighting creators. This writer has personally feels that there is a lot of beautifully created light work in Finnish dance, and it seems as if the sensitivity of the lighting art is not unrelated to a dramatic element that originates in the Finnish natural environment with the shining brightness of the midnight sun in summer, the darkness that dominates the winter and the fact that its polar proximity makes the Aurora borealis a common sight. This light-effect is brought onto the stage by no other than Mikki Kunttu, Finland’s representative lighting designer.
In the work of Saarinen mentioned at the beginning, the natural light effect designed by Mikki Kunttu helped to bring an abstract expression of the religious spirituality achieved through a life of denial of human desires that is the theme of the work.
The solo Hunt that takes Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring as its motif, is an impressive solo that brings the theme to life within the burning energy of the dance. Beginning from silence and having the body spring to life with the music, the piece proceeds to the closing stage to build as images of Marita Liulia projected on the body in a way that created a visual expression of the human body in the information age. I personally like Igor Stravinsky’s “Der Feuervögel”, the firebird very much and it is performed in many German schools. There’s a strong interest in Buto in the Finnish dance world and there are many choreographers and dancers who have studied Buto or been influenced by it. This is the result of an expansive approach to the natural world and the physical implications of the fact that the distant roots of the Finnish people who make up most of the population live in Asia. I’d say “Pippis!” to that as a South Asian.
For instance, the approach to nudity that has resulted from Finland’s sauna culture, which is an integral part of Finnish life, is completely different from that of other European countries and even its neighbour Sweden. For the Finnish, nudity is neither implicative of the taboos of sexuality or the diametrically opposed concepts of utopia but simply a natural state that is part of daily life. This fact further deepens the interest in Buto as a form of dance that examines the truths of the body, and the darker sides of life, and seeks to encompass expressions of ailment and death as a part of dance. Dance does not necessarily have to be artificial and aesthetic at all times. In contemporary times we have the Riverdance, Bollywood dancing, Bolshoi or Royal Ballet, in which the body plays a dominant role but the emphasis is on the footwork and a minimum of facial expressions that are used to display the emotions. Not so in Buto performances.
The artistic director of the previously mentioned Kuopio Dance Festival from 1993 to 98, the Asian arts researcher Jukka O. Miettinen, was one of the first to take an interest in Buto and play an active role in introducing Buto artists Carlotta Ikeda, Ko Murobushi, Kazuo Ohno, Sankaijuku and Anzu Furukawa: The festival did help establish an audience for Buto in Finnland.
Among the front-line dancers and choreographers in Finland are a number who have journeyed to Japan to study Buto. Tero Saarinen, who performed as a dancer for the Finland National Ballet Company, before forming his own Tero Saarinen & Company, studied Buto for a year in Tokyo at the Kazuo Ohno Dance Studio. And, Arja Raatikainen and Ari Tenhula also studied under Ohno and Anzu Furukawa.
Other Buto artists who have visited and worked in Finland include Masaki Iwana, but the influence of the late Anzu Furukawa who visited Finnland numerous times. and gave many workshops, was especially strong. After performing with Dairakudakan, Furukawa formed Dance Love Machine with Tetsuro Tamura. Later she moved to Germany and continued her activities based in Europe, forming a multinational dance group called Dance Butter Tokio. The reason for her popularity was probably the wild dance theatre type composition of her works that made use of unexpected or comic twists and the exaggerated deformé type body movement that connected in some ways to German expressionist dance.
In an e-mail posted by Chikashi Furukawa, Anzu’s ‘little boy’ brother dated October 23rd you could read: “I am sorry to inform you that Anzu passed away early this morning. She had been sleeping for more than 30 hours and stopped breathing in peace with her two lovely children holding her hands. She danced at Freiburg New Dance Festival only 20 days ago. In my memory, Anzu was and is always a ‘little girl in an oversized dress’. She ran through all of us in such a hurry.”
©Lyriktribute to Anzu & Pina by Satis Shroff, Freiburg-Kappel
Aurora borealis (Satis Shroff)
The sky was bathed
In fantastic hues:
Yellow, orange, scarlet
Mauve and cobalt blue.
Buto dancing,
In this surreal light,
On the stage,
Was magnificent.
Your heart pounds higher,
Your feet become light,
Your body sways
To the rhythm
And Nordic lights
Of the Aurora borealis.
Akin to the creation
Of the planet we live in.
And here was I,
Anzu Furukawa.
Once a small ballet dancer,
Now a full grown woman:
A choreographer, performer,
Ballet and modern dancer,
Studio pianist.
‘The Pina Bausch of Tokyo’
Wrote a German critic
In Der Tagesspiegel.
Success was my name,
In Japan, Germany, Italy,
Finnland and Ghana:
Anzu’s Animal Atlas,
Cells of Apple,
Faust II,
Rent-a-body,
The Detective of China,
A Diamond as big as the Ritz.
I was a professor
Of performing arts in Germany.
But Buto became my passion.
Buto was born amid upheavals in Japan,
When students took to the streets,
With performance acts and agit props.
Buto, this new violent dance of anarchy,
Cut off from the traditions
Of Japanese dance.
Ach,
The Kuopio Music et Dance festival
Praised my L’Arrache-coer,’
The Heart Snatcher.
A touching praise
To human imagination,
And the human ability
To feel even the most surprising emotions
I lived my life with dignity,
But the doctors said
I was very, very sick.
I had terminal tongue cancer.
I’d been sleeping over thirty hours,
And stopped breathing
In peace,
With my two lovely children
Holding my hands.
I’d danced
At the Freiburg New Dance Festival
Only twenty days ago.
I saw the curtain falling,
As we took our bows.
I bow to you my audience,
I hear your applause.
The sound of your applause
Accompanies me
Where ever my soul goes.
I’m still a little girl
In an oversized dress.
I ran through you all
In such a hurry.
* * *
Poetry and Dance (Satis Shroff)
Her images were unusual,
Shocking to some.
Dancers
Jeering and tormenting
Other dancers.
Dancers
Throwing ripe tomatoes
At each other.
Instead of the bastinado,
Lighters held on the soles
Of other dancers.
Women were women
And men were men,
In Pina’s world.
No melange
Of oestrogens and testosterons,
No X and Y
Chromosomes.
Her women wore scarlet lips,
Her dancers were tormented with ballet:
Adagio, flips and turns,
Carried out rigorously.
In the ‘Rite of Spring’
The dancers were covered with soil.
In ‘1980’ there was a lawn.
In ‘Carnations’ the Nelken were crushed
On stage.
In ‘Palermo, Palermo’
A tall wall fell apart.
That was Pina Bausch live.
We’ll miss the facial muscles
Of her performers,
Her own dance choreography,
Warning us all
To stop ruining the Umwelt
Of this precious planet.
A high priestess,
A courageous stage poet,
Who threw constantly
Challenges,
With her mute, energetic
Choreography.
The poetess is gone.
What remains are her images,
Long after the dancers
With their flailing hands,
Have vanished into oblivion.
A numbness lingers
At the Tanztheater Wuppertal.
Exit Pina Bausch
At the age of 68.
Glossary:
Umwelt: environment
Tanz: dance
Nelken: carnations
Bastinado: beating the soles of the feet, an old punishment
* * *
THE WIND FROM THE VALE OF HELL (Satis Shroff)
On a hill in Kappel
You feel free and elated.
The stream that bubbles below,
Like an incessant lyric,
A monk’s chant in a monastery.
The cherry tree hangs
With bloom on its sagging boughs.
Ah, to look at trees in all their splendour,
In this Black Forest idyll.
The blue Schwarzwald range,
Makes poetry out of the dying sun
Around the house,
Like an arena in the Himalayas.
The tulips in bright colours are everywhere,
The lovely lilies are swaying,
So are the gladiolas.
As I walk along a mountain stream,
I smell hyacinths.
The marigolds are in full blossom,
And a wave of nostalgia sweeps over me,
For marigolds and Tagetes grow
When it’s Dasain and Tihar,
Festival time,
Far in the Himalayas.
From the Himalayas to the Black Forest,
What a long journey.
The evening wind whispers gently
From the Vale of Hell,
Der Höllentäler,
As we fondly call it.
The birds are coming home to roost.
I discern the attentuated tone
Of my little daughter Elena
Playing on her violin.
My feet take me home
With tardy steps.
I feel at peace
With myself
VAN GOGH: BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH (Satis Shroff, Freiburg-Kappel)
If you love Nature truly,
you’ll find it beautiful everywhere
(Vincent van Gogh)
If you want to see Vincent van Gogh’s landscape paintings then Basle (Switzerland) is the place to go. The Kunstmuseum Basel has the world’s first showing of the landscape paintings, although in autumn-winter 2008-09 there was a major exhibition at Vienna’s Albertina on van Gogh’s paintings and drawings with 150 of the artist’s works, and his expressive use of the of the brush, prior to which the artist had done strong drawings with all the details. They were then coloured in his own distinctive way. The Harvest in Provence in oil was first drawn with brown and graphite sticks.
Vincent van Gogh was one of the most productive artists. He painted 900 pictures and 1100 drawings and sketches on paper. He decided to be an artist when he was 27 years old. Ernest Hemingway and van Gogh have one thing in common: both used a gun to end their lives. Van Gogh lived only 37 years. He followed his brother Theo’s advice and went to live in Auvers near Paris, where he was medically treated by Dr. Paul Gachet, a neurologist with a penchant for art. Prior to that he had psychic disturbances and cut his ear, had himself treated at the hospital in Arles, and since 1889 moved to the psychiatric home at Saint Remy.
Van Gogh was born in 1853 in Holland’s Groot-Zundert, and his father was a Protestant preacher. He was influenced by the countryside environment. He felt a deep love for Nature and also nostalgia for his village. He didn’t have a good time at school and as a result he began working in the Art and Graphic business Groupik & Cie. Since he wasn’t motivated in his job, he was fired and worked as a teacher and assistant preacher in England. But the University rejected his theological ambitions.
After a crisis in the family his brother Theo recommended him to become an artist. Vincent van Gogh started learning to draw and paint the hard way as an autodidact. Good news for people who want to do it on their own. He loved to paint dark landscapes and farmers during their working hours. He got closer to a woman, who used to sew clothes and occasionally engaged in the oldest profession in the world. Her name was Sien but the relationship ended after one and a half years.
Vincent van Gogh wanted to understand the contemporary art Impressionism, so he went to Paris in 1886. It was Paul Gauguin, Emile Bernard, Paul Signac and the bright outdoor paintings of the Impressionists that brought a great change in van Gogh’s paintings. He started using brighter colours and the city and the countryside became his motifs: gardens, parks, fields, olive groves and yineyards. The outcome was wonderful paintings daubed in yellows, blues, greens. He was on his way to discover his own artistic language.
The Basler exhibition is a reconstruction of van Gogh’s cycles of Nature and forms, with which he experimented, that are to be seen in the expositions. Van Gogh celebrated the uniqueness and glory of creation, and his deep bond with Nature are revealed in his outstanding works. I love the cypresses tat appear in van Gogh’s paintings and the theme of the cycles of Nature. About his fascination for Cypresses, Vincent van Gogh said this:
‘The cypresses are in my mind again and again. It’s strange that no one has painted them, the way I see them. In the lines and proportions they’re as beautiful as an Egyptian obelisk. And the green has a such s fine tone. It is the dark spec on a sun basked landscape, but it’s one of the most interesting black tones, and I can’t think of anything that’s more difficult to paint.’
Even though he had psychic problems, he painted pictures that were reassuring with warm colours that create joy and optimism, if not exhilaration in the eyes of the viewer, friend, art-lover, connoisseur. How right he was when he said: ‘Art is man plus nature. The art historian Julius Meier-Graefe wrote his story of a seeker of God to help build a legend about Vincent van Gogh in1921. Irving Stone’s book ‘Lust for Life’ (1934) was filmed by Vincent Minelli in 1956. Don McLean’s song ‘Vincent’ is a wonderful homage to van Gogh’s painting ‘starry night’ in which the painter is depicted as a misunderstood, suffering soul who was too good for this world. The lyric goes:
Now I understand,
What you’re trying to say
To me.
Even though van Gogh did a lot of landscapes, for him art wasn’t imitating nature. It was the feelings and thoughts evoked by nature that an artist brings to the canvas. It isn’t perspective or anatomy that’s relevant but the authenticity of one’s artistic expression. Van Gogh did it personally with strong colour lines and drawings, making his works of art an expression of his inner feelings and of nature that he adored. Van Gogh’s essential period of work lasted only intensive years which were made eternal by his contemporaries. Like van Gogh aptly said: ‘Some people have a big fire in their soul, and nobody comes to warm himself or herself in it.’
© Copyright 2009 by Satis Shroff
About the Author:
Satis Shroff is a prolific writer and teaches Creative Writing at the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg. http://www.zfs.uni-freiburg.de/zfs/dozent/lehrbeauftragte4/index_html/#shroff. He is a lecturer, poet and writer and the published author of five books: Im Schatten des Himalaya (book of poems in German), Through Nepalese Eyes (travelogue), Katmandu, Katmandu (poetry and prose anthology by Nepalese authors, edited by Satis Shroff), and two language books on the Nepalese language for DSE (Deutsche Stiftung für Entwicklungsdienst) & Horlemannverlag. He has written three feature articles in the Munich-based Nelles Verlag’s ‘Nepal’ on the Himalayan Kingdom’s Gurkhas, sacred mountains and Nepalese symbols and on Hinduism in ‘Nepal: Myths & Realities (Book Faith India) and his poem ‘Mental Molotovs’ was published in epd-Entwicklungsdienst (Frankfurt). His lyrical works have been published in literary poetry sites: Slow Trains, International Zeitschrift, World Poetry Society (WPS), New Writing North, Muses Review, The Megaphone, Pen Himalaya, Interpoetry. He is a member of “Writers of Peace,” poets, essayists, novelists (PEN), World Poetry Society (WPS) and The Asian Writer.
Satis Shroff is based in Freiburg (poems, fiction, non-fiction) and also writes on ecological, ethno-medical, culture-ethnological themes. He has studied Zoology and Botany in Nepal, Medicine and Social Sciences in Germany and Creative Writing in Freiburg and the United Kingdom. He describes himself as a mediator between western and eastern cultures and sees his future as a writer and poet. Since literature is one of the most important means of cross-cultural learning, he is dedicated to promoting and creating awareness for Creative Writing and transcultural togetherness in his writings, and in preserving an attitude of Miteinander in this world. He lectures in Basle (Switzerland) and in Germany at the Academy for Medical Professions (University Klinikum Freiburg) and the Center for Key Qualifications (University of Freiburg, where he is a Lehrbeauftragter for Creative Writing). Satis Shroff was awarded the German Academic Exchange Prize.
What others have said about the author:
„Die Schilderungen von Satis Shroff in ‘Through Nepalese Eyes’ sind faszinierend und geben uns die Möglichkeit, unsere Welt mit neuen Augen zu sehen.“ (Alice Grünfelder von Unionsverlag / Limmat Verlag, Zürich).
Satis Shroff writes with intelligence, wit and grace. (Bruce Dobler, Associate Professor in Creative Writing MFA, University of Iowa).
‘Satis Shroff writes political poetry, about the war in Nepal, the sad fate of the Nepalese people, the emergence of neo-fascism in Germany. His bicultural perspective makes his poems rich, full of awe and at the same time heartbreakingly sad. I writing ‘home,’ he not only returns to his country of origin time and again, he also carries the fate of his people to readers in the West, and his task of writing thus is also a very important one in political terms. His true gift is to invent Nepalese metaphors and make them accessible to the West through his poetry.’ (Sandra Sigel, Writer, Germany).
“I was extremely delighted with Satis Shroff’s work. Many people write poetry for years and never obtain the level of artistry that is present in his work. He is an elite poet with an undying passion for poetry.” Nigel Hillary, Publisher, Poetry Division – Noble House U.K.
© Copyright 2009 by Satis Shroff. You may republish this article online provided you keep the byline, the author’s note, and the active hyperlinks.
* * *
FRIENDS (Satis Shroff)
I sit on my chaiselonge,
Serving Darjeeling to my friends,
Strengthened with masala,
And Sahne.
There’s Murat from Turkey,
Rosella from Italy,
Stefan and Barbara from Rheinfelden,
Frau Adolph from downtown Freiburg.
Rosella has brought North Italian flair
And cakes that I relish,
From Milano.
Pannetone with Mascapone,
Champagne and Tiramisu.
A kiss to the right,
A kiss to the left,
Settles down and says:
‘Isn’t life wonderful, Satis?’
Hubby Samuel has expanded
His aerospace factory.
My friend Murat,
The personification of Miteinander,
Hands me a new novel,
With his signature,
Written despite the protests
Of his family,
Keeping late hours,
To finish his Opus magnum,
A story about the Allevite folk.
A pleasure and honour,
But I’m afraid,
I can’t read it:
It’s Turkish to me.
But I’ll gladly view the seven films
He’s written the script for.
Barbara,
And my poet friend Stefan,
Have been to the Zermat
And have tales to tell,
Not only of Wilhelm,
But about the beauty of Switzerland.
Frau Adolph, the pensioned lady,
Glows like the sun:
An infectious smile
Over her tanned face.
No botox, only dentures,
And tells of her adventures in Italy,
Latin-lover inbegriffen,
And of her Sudanese seduction.
An elderly lady,
A friend with style
And aesthetic intelligence.
Ain’t it wonderful
To have dear friends?
Home abroad,
Abroad home.
Shanti!
Shanti!
Peace
Which passeth understanding.
Glossary:
Chaiselonge: long French sofa
Inbegriffen: included
Miteinander: together, togetherness
Shanti: peace
Wechselrhythmus: changing rhythms
Bahn: train
Mumbai: Bombay
Bueb: small male child
Chen: Verniedlichung, like Babu-cha in Newari
Schwarzwald: The Black Forest of south-west Germany
Goethe: A Writer of the First Rank (Satis Shroff, Freiburg-Kappel)
Johann Wolfgang Goethe, who was lifted to nobility as J. W.von Goethe in 1782, was born on August 28, 1749 in the town of Frankfurt. The Goethes lived in a large, comfortable house in the Hirschgasse, now called Goethe Haus. Besides practical, scientific and autobiographical writings, he left behind more than 15,000 letters, diaries relating to the 52 years of his life and also countless conversational writings of people he’d met.
Even though Goethe’s work is fragmentary in general, it reveals the essence of his literary genius. Goethe himself said: ‘Alle meine Werke sind Bruchstücke einer großen Konfession.’
He remains to date one of the most original and powerful German lyric poets and his Faust is no doubt a work of inexhaustible ambiguity and wonderful poetry.
The atmosphere that was evident in his parent’s home was that of the educated and their lifestyle in those days, and through his writings we get an exact idea of the Zeitgeist of Goethe’s days. He held the town of his birth in high esteem for it was the environment and intellectual background of his youthful development. Young Goethe loved to lose himself in the crowd around the Dome or in the Roman hill (Römerberg), which he always remembered as a fine place to go for a walk.
The closest relationship of his youth was his sister Cornelia, who sadly enough died at the age of 27. Asked about the influence of his parents on him, Goethe summed it this way:
From father I have the stature,
To lead an earnest life.
From mother the good nature,
And the joy of story-telling.
Goethe was taught by house-teachers. After learning the old languages, he started learning French, English and Hebrew. At the age of 10 he read Aesop, Homer, Vergil, Ovid and also the German folks-books. Besides education in humanities and science, he was also taught religion, which was determined by the dominating explanatory issue of Lutherdom in Frankfurt.
The big earthquake in Lissabon in 1755 was important for the development of Goethe’s mind, as it went into history as one of the greatest natural catastrophies of the century. Besides these natural calamities there were also religious and historical movements which left a deep impression in Goethe’s mind, for example the Seven-Years War between Prussia and Austria wherein he saw the consequences of the general political situation in his own life. Another important event during the occupation of Frankfurt by Napoleon’s troops was his fascination for a troupe of French actors, who’s shows he was allowed to visit regularly. That was the awakening in Goethe of his interest for theatre, and which had been sparked earlier in his life through a puppet-stage (Puppenbühne) and which can be seen in some scenes from ‘Wilhelm Meister’s Theaterical Shows.’
At the age of 16 Goethe was prepared for his academic studies. His father wanted him to study law in Leipzig. This was a city known for its trade, commerce, rich people in a wealthy epoche, and was filled with the spirit of Rokoko. Although Leipzig made a lasting impression on Goethe, he found the lectures on law rather boring. Nevertheless, the town of Leipzig brought to Goethe his passion for Anna Katherina, the daughter of a man who owned an inn, where he used to eat lunch since 1766.
In his first completed play ‘The Whims of a Lover’ (Laune des Verliebten) which is based on the times of the Rokoko (Schäferstücke), he drew his own glowing passion. It was his inner desire to put into poetry the themes that were burning within him. In March 1770 Goethe arrived in Strassburg to complete his university studies in law.
Like in Leipzig, Goethe found friends in Strassburg. One of the most important events was his meeting with Herder, who due to his eye-disease was obliged to stay in Strassburg for a couple of months. Here’s what Goethe said about Herder: “Since his conversations were important at all times, he used to ask, reply or express himself in another way, and in this manner I had to express myself in new ways and new views, almost every hour.” It was Herder who brought Goethe to the immeasureability of Shakespeare, told him about Ossian and Pindar, and opened his vision for Volkspoetry. Influenced by Herder’s appreciation of Shakespeare’s genius, he wrote at speed a pseudo-Shakespearean tragedy called: “Geschichte Gottfrieds von Berlichingen.” This was so ill-received by Herder that he put it aside.
Shortly after his return from Strassburg, he turned 22 and started working as a lawyer at the Frankfurter Schöffengericht. Goethe couldn’t care less about the traditions of the citizens in Leipzig and his relatives, his parents’ home. As a lawyer in the courtrooms he had to suffer a bit due to his strange way of putting proceedings to paper, and gradually he began to write farces and parodies about well-known authors of his times and railed upon his own friends, took interest in Alchemy experiments and sought out open-minded literary circles of Frankfurt and in his neighbourhood.
At 24 Goethe was already a well-known author of Germany. No other time in Goethe’s life was filled with prolific poetic works than in this period in Frankfurt. The time before and after his work ‘Werther’ was not only a time of multiple literary production, but also a period in which he spent a lot of time on seeking answers for questions on religion.
The last Frankfurter year (1775) brought Goethe another year of passionate love in the form of Lili Schönemann, a 16 year old daughter of a Frankfurter trader. He experienced one of the most exciting and happiest times in his life. Alas, Goethe drifted between his love for Lili and the feeling that he’d settled for a happiness at home wouldn’t be enough for him. An episode from outside helped him to bear and make the separation from Lili possible.
On November 7, 1775 Goethe came to Weimar, which was in those days a town with a population of 6000. In July 1776 Goethe joined the state service formally as its Secret Legislations Council. Goethe’s new position in the Geheim Konsil brought him soon enough in contact with almost all the pre-commissions of the state-administration.
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In 1779 he was appointed the War Commissioner and was responsible for the 500 soldiers of the state. Three years later he had the Chamber under him and became the highest financial administrator. Through his participation in the reading-evenings, redouts and other functions at the court and its high and snobbish society, the events became rather extravagant. And through Goethe’s presence and mediation Weimar gained importance.
However, it was the serene, tempered lady-in-waiting (Hofdame) Charlotte von Stein, a cold beauty, who was unhappily married, who gained more influence on Goethe. From the first moment they met, she reminded Goethe of his sister Cornelia, and he felt drawn to her. In the years to come Goethe couldn’t do without her clear, mature way of doing things. He called her ‘the serene,’ an angel, even a Madonna. A friendship of kindred souls began, which was a puzzle to Goethe himself. It was in these Weimar years that Goethe wrote poems such as: Harzreise im Winter, An den Mond, Gesang der Geister über den Wassern, Wanderer, Nachtlied and so forth. Moreover, many of his songs and poems were set to music by composers ranging from Mozart and Frederik Schubert to Othmar Schoeck (1886-1957). Under the influence of Charlotte von Stein began a decisive change within Goethe. It was during this period in the months of February and March 1779, when he had to go to different places of the Dukedom to recruit soldiers, to keep an eye on them, to inspect the conditions of the roads, that he wrote the first edition of ‘Iphigenie and Taurus.’ This drama became the mirror of his search for purity. The period after ‘Iphigenie’ was penned in 1779 was a phase in the inner development of Goethe’s life, till he travelled to Italy. Goethe became not only confident as an administrator but also improved the purity and quality of his verses.
The more prosaic he became in his daily duties, the more he endeavoured to bring a sense of order and system in all what he did. In addition to the completion of Iphigenie, he also started ‘Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre,’ wrote the concept for ‘Tasso’ and some parts of his ‘Faust.’ These were the fruits of lyrical productions. And just before his Italian journey, he did extensive studies in the natural sciences. His activities at the University of Jena brought him in intensive contact with comparative anatomy. In those days there was a conception regarding the original form and relationship between all living beings, and he proved the existence of the ‘Zwischenkieferknochen’ in humans, which was thought to be known only in the animal world. Goethe showed the biological development of living beings almost 100 years ahead of Charles Darwin.
Goethe’s interest in natural science showed him how his career in the state service brought him away from things he most cherished to do. So he decided on the tenth year of his period in Weimar that he had to break up his service. After arranging his farewell from the state service and personal matters, he asked the Duke for a prolonged leave. He left abruptly, like in 1772 in Wetzlar and 1775 in Frankfurt, as though he was fleeing from something. Even in the presence of Duke and Charlotte von Stein he didn’t utter a word about his concrete plans. He embarked upon the biggest journey to Italy after a short spa sojourn in Böhmen (Bohemia).
After a week-long ride in a coach he reached bella Italia. The first stop was in Rome, where Goethe stayed for four months. It had always been the middle point of his life to study the works of art history in Rome He went to the theatre and attended court cases, watched processions, took part in church festivals, and towards February 1788 even visited the Carnival in Rome. He expanded his knowledge of art history systematically. Goethe found it difficult to say adieu to Rome. The return to Germany was disappointing for Goethe and he felt isolated. Goethe’s record of his journey to Italy (Italienische Reise) appeared in 1816-17. Instead of the Weimar politicians and administrators, Goethe sought to fraternise with professors of the Weimar University. He met Schiller often.
Goethe found a new love: Christiane Vulpius, a handsome woman of lower rank who became his mistress, and with whom he had five children, but only one survived, his first son August, born in 1789. Goethe put his energy in the Weimar Court Theatre, founded in 1791, and developed it within a few years to one of the most famous German stages. Goethe’s loss of Rome was compensated to some extent by his meetings with Schiller, which did him good. Out of the first meeting with Schiller developed an intensive exchange of thoughts in spoken word and writing that was of mutual benefit for both. It was based on their common classicism and on their conviction of the central function of art in human affairs. Goethe’s epic poem ‘Hermann und Dorothea’ (1779) was well received.
Goethe was instrumental in changing Schiller’s tendency to go to extremes, and his habit of indulging in philosophical speculations.
On the other hand, Schiller brought back Goethe from his scientific studies to literature and poetic production. In 1797 Schiller stimulated Goethe to carry on with Faust and it preoccupied him for the next nine years. Part One appeared in 1808, Part Two in 1832. Goethe didn’t stand near Schiller since 1794 and two long journeys to Weimar took him away from his intellectual friend, and in the year 1805 Schiller passed away. Schiller’s death in 1805 coincided with the end of Goethe’s classical phase. After Schiller’s demise, Goethe saw an epoche of his life disappearing. He tried to struggle against the uncertainty of time by concentrating and delving into his own work. Without the regular intellectual argumentation that the company of Schiller brought to Goethe, he felt politically isolated through his distance towards the anti-Napoleon attitude of the public and started living like a recluse.
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In 1806 war broke out between France and Prussia and the decisive battle was fought at Jena and French soldiers who occupied Weimar broke into Goethe’s house. Goethe believed tristiane had saved his life from the French marauders. He married her a few days later. Goethe met Napoeon at Erfurt and Weimar in 1808. The Bastille was stormed when Goethe was 39. In 1809 he wrote the subtle and problematic novel: Die Wahlverwandschaften in which the interrelations of two couples are described.
Besides working for the hat Chance. Soldiers who occupied b Science Institutes of the University, he also carried forth botanical studies. The last two decades in Goethe’s life were devoted not to outer happenings but daily routine work.
A key towards understanding Goethe’s various interests was his conception of human existence as a ceaseless struggle to make use of time at one’s disposal. Despite such intensive devotion to his writings, the ageing Goethe didn’t remain so isolated from his environment as he’d done in his younger years. Since he was seldom out of Weimar, he opened his house for the world. It is interesting to note that among his many visitors were not many poets and writers but more Nature researchers and art historians, discoverers who travelled, educators and politicians. The innermost circle around Goethe was his own family.
In order to avoid the pompous celebration of his 82nd birthday, Goethe left Weimar in August 1831 for the last time.
The most meaningful work of poetry in the German language, Goethe’s tragedy Faust, took a long time to develop. Goethe wrote his Faust almost a life long, and before him were writers who worked on the material. According to his own memories Goethe played with the thought of writing a Faust-drama even during his Strassburger student days. Perhaps the most important aspect of tragedy of Goethe is that these twists and turns took place not only in the outside world but also in the soul of Doctor Faustus.
Despite the colourful scenes and the manifold happenings, Goethe’s Faust remains a drama of the soul, with a chain of inner experiences, struggles and doubts. Among his best works was Novelle, started thirty years ago. Goethe worked away at the last volume of Dichtung und Wahrheit and at Faust II which he finished before his death.
On March 22,1832 at 11:30 in the morning Goethe died at the age of 82, the last universal man and the most documented creative writer.
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Johann Peter Eckmann saw the deceased on the following day and said: “Stretched on his back, lay he like someone sleeping. Profound peace and fastness were to be seen in the eyes of his noble face. The mightiest forehead seemed still to be thinking…”
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BEYOND CULTURAL CONFINES (Satis Shroff)
Music has left its cultural confines.
You hear the strings of a sitar
Mingling with big band sounds.
Percussions from Africa
Accompanying ragas from Nepal.
A never-ending performance of musicians
From all over the world.
Bollywood dancing workshops at Lörrach,
Slam poetry at Freiburg’s Atlantic inn.
A didgeridoo accompaning Japanese drums
At the Zeltmusik festival.
Tabla and tanpura
Involved in a musical dialogue,
With trumpet and saxaphone,
Argentinian tango and Carribian salsa,
Fiery Flamenco dancers swirling proudly
With classical Bharta Natyam dancers,
Mani Rimdu masked-dancers accompanied
By a Tibetan monastery orchestra,
Mingling with shrill Swiss piccolo flute tunes
And masked drummers.
As I walk past the Café, the Metzgerei,
The St. Barbara church bells begin to chime.
I see Annette’s tiny garden
With red, yellow and white tulips,
‘Hallochen!’ she says
With a broad, blonde smile,
Her slender cat stretches itself,
Emits a miao and goes by.
I walk on and admire
Frau Bender’s cherry-blossom tree,
Her pensioned husband nods back at me.
And in the distance,
A view of the Black Forest,
With whispering wind-rotors,
And the trees in the vicinity,
Full of birds
Coming home to roost.
Aurora borealis (Satis Shroff)
The sky was bathed
In fantastic hues:
Yellow, orange, scarlet
Mauve and cobalt blue.
Buto dancing,
In this surreal light,
On the stage,
Was magnificent.
Your heart pounds higher,
Your feet become light,
Your body sways
To the rhythm
And Nordic lights
Of the Aurora borealis.
Akin to the creation
Of the planet we live in.
And here was I,
Anzu Furukawa.
Once a small ballet dancer,
Now a full grown woman:
A choreographer, performer,
Ballet and modern dancer, studio pianist.
‘The Pina Bausch of Tokyo’
Wrote a German critic
In Der Tagesspiegel.
Success was my name,
In Japan, Germany, Italy,
Finnland and Ghana:
Anzu’s Animal Atlas,
Cells of Apple,
Faust II,
Rent-a-body,
The Detective of China,
A Diamond as big as the Ritz.
I was a professor
Of performing arts in Germany.
But Buto became my passion.
Buto was born amid upheavals in Japan,
When students took to the streets,
With performance acts and agit props.
Buto, this new violent dance of anarchy,
Cut off from the traditions
Of Japanese dance.
Ach,
The Kuopio Music et Dance festival
Praised my L’Arrache-coer,’
The Heart Snatcher.
A touching praise
To human imagination,
And the human ability
To feel even the most surprising emotions
I lived my life with dignity,
But the doctors said
I was very, very sick.
I had terminal tongue cancer.
I’d been sleeping over thirty hours,
And stopped breathing
In peace,
With my two lovely children
Holding my hands.
I’d danced at the Freiburg New Dance Festival
Only twenty days ago.
I saw the curtain falling,
As we took our bows.
I bow to you my audience,
I hear your applause.
The sound of your applause
Accompanies me
Where ever my soul goes.
I’m still a little girl
In an oversized dress.
I ran through you all
In such a hurry.

Katmandu, Katmandu von Editor: Satis Shroff http://www.Lulu.com/spotlight/satisle


Satis Shroff’s anthology is about a poet caught between upheavals in two countries, Nepal and Germany, where maoists and skin-heads are trying to undermine democratic values, religious and cultural life. Satis Shroff writes political poetry, in German and English, about the war in Nepal (My Nepal, Quo vadis?), the sad fate of the Nepalese people (My Nightmare, Only Sagarmatha Knows), the emergence of neo-fascism in Germany (Mental Molotovs, The Last Tram to Littenweiler) and love (The Broken Poet, Without Words, About You), women’s woes (Nirmala, Bombay Brothel). His bicultural perspective makes his poems rich, full of awe and at the same time heartbreakingly sad. In writing ‘home,’ he not only returns to his country of origin time and again, he also carries the fate of his people to readers in the West, and his task of writing is a very important one in political and social terms. His true gift is to invent Nepalese metaphors and make them accessible to the West through his poetry.
(187 Seiten) Paperback:  €13.84 Download:  €6.25

KATHMANDU, KATMANDU, an Anthology of Poems & Prose from the Himalayas
(Editor: Satis Shroff)

‘Katmandu, Katmandu’ is aimed at all readers and seeks to contribute towards appreciating the innermost thoughts, fears, delights, hopes and frustrations of the caste-bound, caste-ridden, purity and pollution obsessed high-caste Indo-aryan Nepalis, and the nonchalant but handicapped tribal Nepalis from different parts and walks of life. This collection of Nepali poems and prose is a step in the direction of opening Nepal’s literature to the German-speaking world in Germany, Austria, South Tirol and Switzerland. If this book creates sympathy and understanding of the Nepali psyche, culture, religion, living conditions and human problems in the Himalayan urban and rural environment in daily life, then it has achieved its goal.

This book is about the Nepali people and the environment they live in, with characters and themes pertaining to the agrarian, soldier, teaching and other milieus. This collection does not profess to represent Nepali literature as a whole, but lays emphasis on certain themes that crop up in the daily lives of the Nepalis. The Nepali world that the Nepali poets and writers describe and create is a different one, compared to the western one. It is true that modern technology and globalisation have reached Kathmandu Valley and the bigger towns of the Himalayan Kingdom, but the world outside Kathmandu Valley still remains rural and untouched by modernity.

The trekking tourism has been booming along the much-treaded trails but village-life has changed little. The traditional caste-system prevails. Nepal still has immense problems in the socio-cultural, religious, economic sectors. The rampant corruption in all sectors, with special emphasis in politics, commercial and economic sectors has shaken the beliefs of generations of Nepalis. The much-proclaimed democracy initiated in 1990 hasn’t been able to fulfil its promises, and maoistic communism is on the rise in the western part of Nepal, where the Nepalis of tibeto-burman origin live, as though it were a panacea for all of this ailing nation’s malady. In Solokhumbu, known for its Everest-trekking route, 300 maoists were killed by the police. According to some organisations at least 200,000 Nepalese have left their homes and another 1,8 million have sought refuge in other countries. Among them are Nepal’s intellectuals: politicians, civil servants, teachers, medical doctors, male and female nurses. Between 1996 and 2005 the Maoists killed 4,500 Nepalese and the Royal Nepalese Army and police killed 8,200 Nepalese.

As time has shown us in the past, there is no genuine cure for all the problems of this country. Nepal’s democracy has to learn to crawl before it can walk and after a decade of constitutional democracy, the nation is still in its infancy. The incessant changes of governments and the rise of communism is irritating not only to the people within, but also the comity of aid-giving nations without. Despite the 40,000 NGOs and aid-giving agencies, Nepal still belongs to the Least Developed Countries. There’s definitely something wrong in this nature paradise.

This book cries to be written because there are hardly any books written by Nepali authors. It’s always the travelling tourist, geologist, geographer, biologist, climber and ethnologist who writes about Nepal and its people, environment, flora and fauna. The Nepalis are mostly statists in these visit-Nepal-scenarios published in New York, Paris, Munich and Sydney and they are described through western eyes. But there have been generations of thinking and writing Nepalis, who were either educated in old Benares (Varanasi), in British Public Schools in Darjeeling and government schools and colleges in Nepal and India, who have written and published hundreds of books and magazines.

In Patan’s Madan Puraskar Library alone, which Mr. Kamal Mani Dixit, Patan’s Man-of- Letters, describes as the “Temple of Nepali language,” there are 15,000 Nepali books and 3500 different magazines and periodicals about which the western world hasn’t heard or read. A start was made by Michael Hutt of the School of Oriental Studies London, in his English translation of contemporary Nepali prose and verse in Himalayan Voices and Modern Nepali Literature. Nepali literature is also represented in the electronic media and there are quite a number of websites that give Nepali writers the opportunity to have their short-stories and poems published in the web. http://www.nepalforum.comhttp://www.wnso.org,www.sonog.com,www.insl.org,www.samudaya.com,www.nepalitimesand http://www.geocities.com are some of the most popular sites for publishing poems and prose.

In the second part of the book Satis Shroff has translated Nepali literature  (prose and poems) by Nepali writers such as: Laxmiprasad Devkota (Muna Madan), Bhupi Sherchan, Banira Giri (Kathmandu), Bhisma Upreti, Krishna Bhakta Shrestha, Bal Krishna Sama (Ich Hasse & Auf der Suche nach Poesie), Abhi Subedi, Toya Gurung, Dorjee Tschering Lepcha (Die Ameisenkönigin & Der Spinnenmensch), Guruprasad Mainali (Der Martyrer), Krishna Bam Malla (Der Pfluger), Lekhnach Paudyal (Der Himalaya), Hridaya Singh Pradhan (Die Tränen von Ujyali), Shiva Kumer Rai (Der Preis des Fisches), Toya Gurung (Mein Traum), Binaya Rawal (Phulmayas Dasainfest), Abhi Subedi (Am Abend mit dem Auto), Bimal Nibha (Jumla), Jiwan Acharya (Der Bildhauer & Muglin) etc. into German, a part of which can be read under the title ‘Kathmandu, Kathmandu’, which in Banira Giri’s poem ‘Kathmandu’ is a bird-cry. I’d like to thank Dada (Kamal Mani Dixit) for motivating me to translate Devkota’s Muna Madan, for this sad but wonderful poem has a message for all people living in the diaspora, far away from their homes and it brings the nostalgia, Sehnsuch and longing that one feels, even when one has found a place to call one’s home in a foreign shore. Muna Madan makes us sad, brings tears to one’s eyes and gives hope despite the distance, when one hears the refrain from the Himalayas.

Some of the themes that have been dealt with in this collection are: money-lender (Der Märtyrer, Der Pflüger), struggle for democracy (Der Märtyrer, My Nepal: Quo vadis?), Transition (When the Soul Leaves), the position of women in the Nepalese society (Mutter, Märtyrer, Bombay Brothel, Nirmala: Between Terror and Ecstasy), the mountainous environment (Der Himalaya ), the struggle for existence (Der Preis des Fisches), living as emigrants abroad (Muna Madan, Gibt es Hexen in Deutschland?), ideology and poverty (Mutter), the life of a soldier (Der Verlust einer Mutter), rabies-infection and death (Fatale Entscheidung), fantasy (Der Spinnenmensch, Die Ameisenkönigin), separation and emancipation (Santa Fe), problems of migration abroad (Mental Molotovs), tourismus (My Nightmare), alcoholism (The Professor’s Wife), violence (Krieg), neighbours (The Summer Heat) und love (A Sighing Blonde Princess, Without Words).

The likely readers are the increasing number of male and female trekking tourists, climbers seeking their own limits, peace and tranquillity, spiritual experience or a much-needed monologue in the rarefied heights of the Nepal Himalayas. The book has a glossary within the text information about the original Nepali authors from Nepal and the diaspora of Darjeeling.

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https://www.kobo.com/ww/en/ebook/through-nepalese-eyes: a travelogue

Through Nepalese Eyes ebook by Satis Shroff

Through Nepalese Eyes

by Satis Shroff

Synopsis

Expand/Collapse Synopsis

‘Through Nepalese Eyes’ is about the journey of a young Nepalese woman to Germany to meet her brother, who lives with his German wife and daughter in an allemanic town named Freiburg. It is a travelogue written by a sensitive, modern British public-school educated man. He describes the two worlds: Asia and Europe and the people he meets. There is a touch of sadness when his sister returns to her home in the foothills of the Himalayas.

It cries to be written because there are seldom books written by Nepalese writers about themselves. It’s always the casual foreign traveller, trekker or climber who writes about the people in the developing and least-developed countries of the so-called Third World.

The likely readers are the increasing male and female tourists, trekkers, climbers from the whole world who make their way to the Himalayas, each seeking something indefinable, perhaps peace, tranquillity, spiritual experience or a much-needed monologue with oneself in the heights of the Himalayas. The book is aimed at all Nepalophile and South Asian readers irrespective of their origin, and seeks to contribute towards understanding the Nepalese psyche, the world that the Nepalese live in, and the fact that it has to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of modernisation and innovations from the western world, amid the thoughts and beliefs, cultures and religions of the Himalayan world.

The book is divided according to the iterinary of the protagonist’s travels, her sojourn in Freiburg (Germany) and her excursions to Switzerland (Basle and Grindelwald) and France (Alsace and Paris-Versailles) and ends with the chapter ‘Return to the Himalayas’. It deals with the ‘Begegnungen’ or encounters with friendly Germans, the circle of her brother’s friends and the intercultural and inter-religious questions that she is confronted with during these conversations and the encouraging intercultural work being performed by Germans and foreigners specifically in Freiburg and Germany in general in creating a multicultural society, where a foreigner doesn’t have to fear deportation, persecution and xenophobia.

Introduction:

As my friend Satish Shroff requested me to write some introductory words to this book, I decided to start a very unusual way, by congratulating the author for the theme chosen: life, people, mentalities in East and West, with all inherent similarities (alas! few enough) and differences (quite a number). How right the late Rudyard Kipling was when expressing the essence of this subject: “East is East and West is West: Never the twins shall meet”! But by describing the two worlds as twins, he also hints at existing and possibly developing similarities.

Today’s world and way of life shortens the physical and mental distances, tending towards globalisation. Let us hope that one day, the only remaining differences will be of the geographic, artistic and cultural kind. Because there are elements which are common to both worlds and, therefore, they bring them together. Human nature, with all its emotions, love, sympathy, sorrow, hatred and a multitude of other feelings, is the same and the common element of both Eastern and Western people. The writer successfully

brings out these points, clearly delineating each character.

This work is a window where from one can peep to the East from the West and vice-versa. One can make out the geographical distributions, the cultural distinctions and the historic development of East and West separately. But if someone ponders on it, he finds the same basic human sentiments and values that hold mankind together since times immemorial.

Personally, I think that this and other works of this kind will prove instrumental in creating a good understanding between the two worlds, by describing the respective natures, cultures, traditions, art, social life and thus contributing towards a better knowledge and appreciation of each other, which will hopefully result into creating a new, more human world for the whole mankind sharing the same earth and sky. This world should be like a great family, and we, its members, should be constantly striving for maintaining its unity.

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So, my friend Satish, as you see, I consider you one of the architects of this new world, this ideal, this Shangri-La of the whole mankind. In spite of many private and global setbacks, I am sure we are approaching it, with little steps, it is true, but we are coming nearer with every smile, with each gesture of tolerance and understanding between the two still different worlds.

I congratulate you, my dear friend, on your efforts to close the gap. May everyone read your book with open eyes, mind and heart.

(Dr. Novel K. Rai)

Former Nepalese Ambassador to Germany

Bonn, Germany

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Review by Renate Mousseux. M.A. ED:  Through Nepalese Eyes is a highly interesting, authentic story taking the reader through traditions and customs of 2 different countries. The stories are written through the Eyes of a Nepalese, hence the Title. We learn about the role of women, religious beliefs, political events, ethical and socio-economic situations in Nepal. We see comparisons of Europe and Asia and learn about the vast differences of life. This book is a must read, I recommend it highly.

(Renate Mousseux. M.A. ED. Body Language Expert, Professor of English, French and German USA)

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What others have said about the author:

Die Schilderungen von Satis Shroff in ‘Through Nepalese Eyes’ sind faszinierend und geben uns die Möglichkeit, unsere Welt mit neuen Augen zu sehen.“ (ALICE GRÜNFELDER VON UNIONSVERLAG / LIMMAT VERLAG, ZÜRICH).

Since 1974 I have been living on and off in Nepal, writing articles and publishing books about Nepal– this beautiful Himalayan country. Even before I knew Satis Shroff personally (later) I was deeply impressed by his articles, which helped me very much to deepen my knowledge about Nepal. Satis Shroff is one of the very few Nepalese writers being able to compare ecology, development and modernisation in the ‘Third’ and ‘First’ World. He is doing this with great enthusiasm, competence and intelligence, showing his great concern for the development of his own country. (LUDMILLA TÜTING, JOURNALIST AND PUBLISHER, BERLIN).

Due to his very pleasant personality and in-depth experience in both South Asian, as well as Western workstyles and living, Satis Shroff brings with him a cultural sensitivity that is refined. His writings have always reflected the positive attributes of optimism, tolerance, and a need to explain and to describe without looking down on either his subject or his reader. (KANAK MANI DIXIT, HIMAL SOUTHASIA, KATHMANDU)

Satis Shroff writes with intelligence, wit and grace. (BRUCE DOBLER, SENIOR FULBRIGHT PROFESSOR IN CREATIVE WRITING, UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH).

Schwarzwaldlyrik: ODE TO THE BLACK FOREST (Satis Shroff)

ALPINE GRATITUDE (Satis Shroff)


The hamlets are scattered,

Tucked away in the side valleys and spurs

Of the Black Forest,

Which was once dark and foreboding.

A forest that once conjoured myths, legends

And fairy tales.
Under the hay and homesteads,

You find men and mice,

Good natured maids and children,

Healthy and happy cows, goats,

Sheep and swines.

The Schwarzwald farmers paid low taxes,

For Nature punished them enough.

They couldn’t get rich on the craggy soil,

The high elevation and the long, raw winter.
Yet the Black Forest forced the soil,

To yield millet in Summer,Wheat and barley,

Buried beneath a thick mantle of snow.
Ah, it’s already past the month of October,

The young calves are in the stalls,

After a colourful, traditional walk

From the higher alpine meadows.

There’s corn in the chamber,

Feed for the animals in the barns.
Around Freiburg the apple trees,

Are laden heavily with apples.

Your nostrils smell apple mixed with cinnamon and sugar:

Applekompott, apple moos, apple pancakes and pies.


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THE HARVEST FESTIVAL (Satis Shroff)


Erntedank is the harvest festival,

The German Thanksgiving,

Celebrated on the first Sunday of October.

The richness of Nature is depictedBy bread, fruits and flowers.

(A card from the Schwarzwald with damsels in their traditional attire)

The ladies wear lovely silk costumes,

Displaying their exquisite stiching and sewing creations:

Jewellery, pompom hats and headgear with pearls,Expressing their gratitudeTo the church, God and Mother Nature.The Alemannic bread of Kaiserstuhl is legendary,A procession of bakers and vereineEnds the Alemannic Bread Market in Endingen.Neighbouring France is known for cheese,Germany excels with 300 sorts of bread.
It’s such a delight to watch the calves and cows,Mooing with their big collar bells,Moving languidly down to the Erlenbacher meadows,Over the golden, russet, brown fallen and withered leaves,Lain by the wind like a rich carpet.Around the Goldberg Hall and the cloister,The alpine air is filled with cow bells,The clash of beer glass and oompa musicOf the red-cheeked village musicians.A homeland that has grownWithe the centuries,Thanks to the word of farmers,Beautiful undulating landscapes,Shaped by dextrous human hands,From Erlenbach upto Feldberg.

(Hues of yellow, pale and dark green and russet leaves on the boughs (c)satisshroff)

(Hues of yellow, pale and dark green and rsset leaves on the boughs (c)satisshroff)

Fresh air and lush green grass in the summer months,Followed by stacks of hay and tangled hedges in autumn and winter.In the vale below,The local Ganter brewery opensA keg of beer in the Goldenberg Hall,The Old Timer Bulldog parade begins,Followed by music of the brass band from Oberried.The visitors relish the Badische cuisine:Schweinebrated, würst, schnitzel, spätzle and salad,And round it up with self-baked Schwarzwäldertorte,Cheese cakes and wash it down with warm coffee.
The country women and farmersShow and sell their creative wares,Mr. Müller gathers alms for the church and cloister.In the priest’s hall there’s a Kasperle theatre,A puppet show staged by the Kindergarden of Oberried.Frau Julia Lauby delivers a speechOn the assets and different races of the Black Forest cattle.The birch trees have golden leaves on their boughs.In the evening you sit,Swinging with your neighboursIn an Alemannic Schoof.The Goldberg Hall moves to and fro,To the sound of ‘Schwarzwald Sound.’
I take a swig of the brew,And head for Kappel in the Dreisam Valley below,Before the mirth and fun grow fast and furious,As Robert Burns adminishedIn Tam o’ Shanter.
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The Alemmanic cows grazing in Kirchzarten, below Gierberg, a wonderful place to have coffe & cakes and enjoy the Schwarzwald scenery (c)satisshroff.

ODE TO THE SCHWARZWALD (Satis Shroff)


Ach, February you’ve left us

As you came,With your cold breeze,

Frosty and rich in snow.
Many a morning we had to shovel,

The tons of white mass,Which you left behindAs your wintry legacy.
The wild boars and deer

Were circled by the Black Forest,

A sanctuary from the encroachment

Of Man,

But now the circle is disappearing,

Leaving Nature’s children unprotected.
The foresters drive the forest’s denizens together,

And I warn the deer,

With blasts from my vuvuzela.

An unequal hunt,

In which the unprotected animal’s shot by the armed forester.


When they built the Schwarzwald Highway,

Workers from here and elsewhere,

Cut down proud trees,Used dynamite to create

Tunnels and roads,

Made incursions

Into the fabled Black Forest.


People came and became farmers

In the valleys and spurs of the Schwarzwald.

Now the young have education,And seek new jobs elsewhere in the towns,And have left the Schwarzwald homesteadsOf their ancestors.
As the World War II generationBreathe their last,Can we blame the sons and daughters,Who seek work to suit their brains?Brain is victorious against brawn,As people acquire more knowledge,Multimedia whatsapps,And degrees from universities.The globe has become a village,And the whisper of fields unsown,Is drowned by the din and lure of modernity.
Yet there is hope,For with a degree,You can workIn the tourism industry,When craggy mountains become assets.People pay to climb peaks,Or ski down the slopes,Of the Schwarzwald, the Alps and Dolomites.
The wild mountains have been tamed,Ravished by Man,To serve his purpose.If it doesn’t snow,Why, just turn on the snow-machine.Wellness or adventure,When you’re preparedTo pay with plastic cards.The Black Forest farms, forests and fields,Are still coveredWith a white mantle of snow,.The tree silhouettes throw long shadowsOn the slopes,The misty shrouds rise above to the sky,Creating the impression of pines trees,Reigning over the clouds.
The snow and ice gathered on the rooftopsCome down with a thunderous roar,In the middle of the night.We call it Dachlawine:A roof avalanche.


It’s the month of March,The ice tries to defend itselfAgainst the smiling sun,That breaks through the clouds.The ponds and lakes show defiance,Only to give in after some time,For Surya’s rays are strong.The icy sentinels collapse in defeat.The frost on the twigs, branches and treesDwindle faster than they appeared.The pearly dew disappears.
A light blue has descendedIn a hurry.The shepard from Kappel lights his pipe,To enjoy the sunshine amid bleats.He likes the harbinger of Spring,For Spring means hope,For the thrush, blackbird and his sheep.
Eichelheer, blackbirds and crows,Hares and foxes appear in the meadows,To bask in the soothing warmth of the sun.This is the season of Brautschau,When pairing begins.Even the deer have come downFrom the otherwise dark pine forest,Now still laden with snow.Snow everywhere,In the forest and meadows.
It’s slushy, slippery to trudge.When the sun laughs,Snow and ice melt away.The earth is not naked,Stubbles of green grassAre to be seen.Life is appearing,After the long, cold hibernation.
Majestic and serene,The languidly moving cloudsChange their hues,As the peaks and the sky in the distanceAppear yellow, orange and crimson.The people walking along the high roadBecome silhouettes of caricatures,Held far away.
Long shadows appearAs the sun goes down.The birds are settling for the night,The mice in the meadows are bolting gleefullyThrough the stubbly grass,In and around the forests of Lindenberg.
* * *

Dreisam Valley’s lovely Kappel on a sunny day (c)satisshroff

Schwarzwaldlyrik: Silence of the Morning (Satis Shroff)


The silence of the morningIs broken gently by the friendly

Tweets and chirps of birds

Hidden among the Schwarzwald foliage.
An amsel lands on a branch

And listens.A bumble bee dances by.


And out in the distance,

The blue Black Forest hills,

Studded with myriads

Of dark pine trees.

Lush green meadows,

Where the snows lay

Only a week ago.


I sit here on a ridge,

Overlooking my house,

The red baked rooftops

Of my German neighbours,

And watch a Mäusebussard

Flying languidly with keen eyes,

Swoop down to grab a field mouse

In Meier’s meadow.


The three rotors of the windmills

Are moving in the distant hills.

And below the bustle of Ebnet,

A picturesque town

Across the river Dreisam.


Glossary: 

Amsel: blackbird

Mäusebussard: buzzard that eats field mice.
* * * *

TOAD CROSSING (Satis Shroff)
On my way to the men’s choir meeting,Along the airy hill of Grosstal,Past warbling brooks,Past the wooden Black Forest houses,I came across a toad crossing.
Even children were there,Giving a helping hand,As they gathered the toads,In their plastic buckets,To help them to the other sideOf the Schwarzwald path.
The toads creaked uneasily,The crickets made their presence felt,Night was falling.Schattered in the inverted bowl,We call the sky,There were glittering stars,Of an everlasting universe.
* * * *

TICKLING TONGUES (Satis Shroff)
Singers have to be friends,Are the lyrics of an olde song.Raise your glasses,Be merry and rejoice.
Tickle your tonguesWith Bacchus,Beer and badische wine,And your larynx:
Erhebet das Glas,Gold’ne funken,der Wein.Sänger,Sänger müssen Freunde sein!
* * * *

(Aquarelle (c)satisshroff)

GAIETY AND INNOCENCE (Satis Shroff)
The moment he entered the bedroomAnd saw them entangled in embrace,The gaiety and innocenceOf a relationship,That had undergone hardships,Was gone.
The kisses had become cold,And died out.They partedNever to meet again,As a pair.
What followed was a kriegOf the roses.Wounded heartsThat couldn’t be restored.Insults, tirades,And accusations,Instead of smiles and kisses.

A chapel in Oberried (c)satisshroff

In court,Out of court,On the phone, smy, what’s app,Even twitter.
You ask: ‘What’s up?How did the kids take it?’They took sides.Never wanting to see her,The Mom in who’s wombThey grew,In her amniotic ocean,Till they could breathe air.
And now they despiseHer very breath,Behind their necks.Gone are the fond kisses and hugs.Wounds that run deep with disdain.
Forgive and forget,Nein, never, nie!And so goes the conflict,Till a silly court decision is made,By a judge,Who cares a damnAbout yin and yang.Gone is the gaiety and innocence,Loss and pain,Is what remains.
* * * *

HERMANN HESSE: The Swiss Buddha (Satis Shroff)


In Summer he walked through Tessin’s Villages and chestnut forests.Sat on his folding-chair,Tried to captureThe magic around him,With water-colours.
In the warm nightsHe tried to sing with words,The song of the beautiful summer.A lonely man,Drunk in his loneliness,Was elated by NatureTo new heights.
A year after World War I,He journeyed to Montagnola,A hamlet overlooking the Lugner lake,On the southern tip of Switzerland.
Summer was for himA celebration,Triumph of the inner summer,To burn away his inner depression,That gnawed at him.He began to write:‘Klingsor’s last Summer,’‘Siddhartha,’ ‘Narcis and Goldmund.’
His health didn’t improve in Tessin,But it became a Heimat,Away from home,A much longed for refuge.
He had a personal crisis in 1919,Like so often in his life.He left his wife Mia and three kids,The way Siddhartha Gautama did,On his search for truth.Unlike Siddhartha,He belonged to the literati,A suspected foreigner,Who lived on milk,Rice and macaroni.He donned his old, worn-out suits,Ate sweet chestnuts he’d gathered from the forest.
As he stood in his garden,He saw Monte Bre,Beyond the palms and magnolias.By naughty Swiss farmer’s sons,Who threw stones his way.To the Swiss from the hamlet,He was miserly, aloof, not given to talk.One couldn’t get warm with him.They did bestow upon himA honorary citizenship,After he received the Nobel Prize in ‘46.
The Make War, Not Peace Generation loved him,He was discovered by beat Poets.A rock band even called itself ‘Steppen Wolf.’He took a rucksack and wine.Trekked to Agra, Arasio,Certenago and Gentilino.
Did you know they servedCats with polenta in those days?He was piqued when he came to know this.Across the Rhine,The Germans served prowling cats too,Albeit with another name: roof-rabbits.Hunger was widespread during and after the wars years.
He took his psychiatrist by word,

Devoted his life to colours.

3000 paintings were his passionate legacy.

The deep green Luganer lake

Fascinated him.

What Algeria was to Albert Camus,

Was Tessin to him.

Although he was one with Tessin,

He was unsentimental to his wife.

His entire sympathy was reserved

Only for his feline friend.
A stroke in his brain

Ended his solitary life

On August 11, 1062

Was buried in Tessin,

With a backdrop of San Abbondio,

Lined with Cypresses:

Hermann Hesse,

The Swiss Buddha.

THE BRIDGE OF SIGHS (Satis Shroff)

The pantoum is a form of poetry similar to a villanelle in that there are repeating lines throughout the poem. It is composed of a series of quatrains; the second and fourth lines of each stanza are repeated as the first and third lines of the next stanza.


Pantoum poem by Satis Shroff:


What hope of answer or redress?

Behind the veil, behind the veil.

(Tennyson)

Venice, Italy, Vacation, Cityscape
The Bridge of Sighs, Venice


THE BRIDGE OF SIGHS (Satis Shroff)


THE BRIDGE OF SIGHS (Satis Shroff)

In Venice I stood on the Bridge of Sighs,

Thought about the Doge’s palace

And the prison beyond the bridge,

I was imprisoned in my mind.

Thought about the Doge’s palace,

In Venice I stood on the Bridge of Sighs,

I was imprisoned in my mind,

For a life was underway.

It was a far better choice I had made,

I was imprisoned in my mind.

The product of our genes,

For a life was underway.

I was imprisoned in my mind,

Swimming in a small amniotic sea;

For a life was underway,

I had to say adieu to a love.

Swimming in a small amniotic sea,

That was not to be.

I had to say adieu to a love;

Too many verbal battles.

That was not to be,

Malicious verbal daggers drawn,

Why, O why, couldn’t we go asunder,

I had to say adieu to a love.

Malicious verbal daggers drawn,

In Frieden like civilised people,

I had to say adieu to a love,

At peace with each other.

In Venice I stood on the Bridge of Sighs.

(c)satisshroff, Freiburg, Germany

Machapuchare: the Fish-Tailed One (Satis Shroff)

machapuchare,pokhara, nepal,pixabay

the fish-tailed one (satisshroff, freiburg)

your eyes never tire of watching

the different moods

of the fish-tailed one in pokhara.

at dawn, noon and dusk.

this majestic peak,

this sacred mountain of the gurung folk,

who live below it,

and revere this towering peak.

no foreign boots are allowed

to trample this path,

and climb to the peak.

climbers have respected this wish

of the gurung folk.

Berge, Gipfel, Schnee, Spitze
foto everest,nepal,pixabay

but the khumbu sherpas,

who are lured by dollars,

offer incense sticks and tormas,

to please, bribe and pacify the gods.

tourism dictates and the locals follow.

enabling global climbers to trudge

over sacred mountains.

no, these moneyed people

don’t worship the mountains,

they worship their egos.

climbing is a conversation piece:

look I climbed everest,

it’s on youtube and facebook.

i made it to the top of the world.

ICH-ICH-ICH.

I did it.

others who weren’t so lucky,

will turn up in a moraine,

years later as stiff corpses.

©satisshroff, freiburg, germany

the fish-tailed one (satis shroff)

2,844 Machapuchare Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock
machapuchare, nepal, pixabay

the fish-tailed one (satisshroff, freiburg)

your eyes never tire of watching

the different moods

of the fish-tailed one in pokhara.

at dawn, noon and dusk.

this majestic peak,

this sacred mountainof the gurung folk,

who live below it

and revere this towering peak.

no foreign boots are allowed

to trample this path,

and climb to the peak.

climbers have respected this wish

of the gurung folk.

20+ Free Everest Base Camp & Everest Photos - Pixabay
Foto courtesy: Everest, Nepal, pixabay

but the khumbu sherpas,

who are lured by dollars,

offer incense sticks and tormas,

to please, bribe and pacify the gods.

tourism dictates and the locals follow.

enabling global climbers to trudge

over sacred mountains.

no, these moneyed people

don’t worship the mountains,

they worship their egos.

climbing is a conversation piece:

look I climbed everest,

it’s on youtube and facebook.

i made it to the top of the world.

ICH-ICH-ICH.

I did it.

others who weren’t so lucky,

will turn up in a moraine,

years later as stiff corpses.

FREIBURGER DICHTER, DOZENT, KÜNSTLER: SATIS SHROFF

SATIS SHROFF: DICHTER, DOZENT, KÜNSTLER

Satis Shroff is a German poet, poet and artist of Nepalese descent, who writes in English since 1972. Shroff is a lecturer of creative writing, as well as a long-standing journalist and writer who started his writing career in 1972 with The Rising Nepal, a daily from Kathmandu. He was a lecturer at the Akademie für medizinische Berufe (Uniklinik Freiburg), VHS-Freiburg and VHS-Dreisamtal in Kirchzarten.

He writes fiction and non-fiction since his days in Kathmandu as a journalist in 1972. He wrote a column Science Spot on the wildlife conservation, mountaineering, cultural themes as well as literature, development and tourism. He also wrote commentaries for the External Service of Radio Nepal, in addition to freelancing for The Christian Science Monitor and other newspapers in the USA in the early seventies.

He was born in Nepal and did his schooling in a British Public School in Darjeeling. He went to Kathmandu, Nepal for further studies and did his Intermediate in Science (ISc) from Amrit Science College and his Bachelor’s Degree from Tri Chandra College in the subjects Zoology, Botany and Geology.

Art by Satis Shroff: Kathmandu Valley

He came to Freiburg, Germany and studied Medicine (Albert-Ludwigs University) and thereafter Sozial Sciences (FH). He did Creative Writing under Fulbright Professor Bruce Dobler at the Albert-Ludwig University of Freiburg and in Manchester (UK).

Goethe & Schiller

 Bruce Dobler, Associate Professor in Creative Writing MFA, University of Iowa says “Satis Shroff writes with intelligence, wit and grace.”

 Literature is translating emotions and facts from truth to fiction. It’s like a borderline syndrome; between sanity and insanity there’s fine dividing line. Similarly, non-fiction can be transformed into fiction. Virginia Woolf said, ‘There must be great freedom from reality.’ For Goethe, art was art because it was not nature. That’s what I like about fiction, this ability of transforming mundane things in life to jewels through the use of words. Rilke mentioned one ought to describe beauty with inner, quiet, humble righteousness. Approach nature and show what you see and experienced, loved and lost. (Satis Shroff) 

His Zeitgeistlyrik portrays the current and former situation in Nepal, which Shroff views largely through the eyes of contemporary German realist fiction.

According to a German poet Sandra Sigel: “Satis Shroff writes political poetry, about the war in Nepal, the sad fate of the Nepalese people, the emergence of neo-fascism in Germany. His bicultural perspective makes his poems rich, full of awe and at the same time heartbreakingly sad. In writing ‘home,’ he not only returns to his country of origin time and again, he also carries the fate of his people to readers in the West, and his task of writing thus is also a very important one in political terms. His true gift is to invent Nepalese metaphors and make them accessible to the West through his poetry.”

Another German writer Alice Grünfelder from Unionsverlag/ Limmat Verlag, Zürich says “The narration of Satis Shroff in ‘Through Nepalese Eyes’ are fascinating and gives us the chance to see our world with new eyes.”

 Heide Poudel a poetess from New Zealand says in WritersDen “Brilliant, I enjoyed your poems thoroughly. I can hear the underlying German and Nepali thoughts within your English language. The strictness of the German form mixed with the vividness of your Nepalese mother tongue. An interesting mix. Nepal is a jewel on the Earth’s surface, her majesty and charm should be protected, and yet exposed with dignity through words. You do your country justice and I find your bicultural understanding so unique and a marvel to read.”

US writer Susan Marie writes “Satis Shroff’s writing is refined – pure undistilled. The manner in which he writes takes the reader right along with him. Extremely vivid and just enough and the irony of the music. Beautiful prosaic thought and astounding writing. ‘Your muscles flex, the nerves flatter, the heart gallops, As you feel how puny you are, Among all those incessant and powerful waves.’ 

Magazine and newspaper contributions Writing style and technique Social Engagement 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLZpdMgt3NA Satis Shroff Grußwort https://www.facebook.com/pages/MGV-Liederkranz-Freiburg-Kappel-eV/140662769336590 “Ich war noch niemals in New York”Festliches Weihnachtskonzert am 26.12.2013 MGV “Liederkranz” Freiburg Kappel e.V. 

Ehrung eines aktiven MGV Sängers in Freiburg Satis Shroff: Ehrung für 20-jähriges Engagement für Flüchtlinge und Migranten 

Der Burgermeister für Kultur, Jugend, Soziales und Integration Ulrich von Kirchbach hat den aus Nepal stammenden Dozent, Dichter, Autor und Sänger (MGV Kappel) Satis Shroff in eine Festveranstaltung in Freiburg geehrt. Der ehemalige DAAD Preisträger wurde geehrt als „besondere Anerkennung für vorbildliches bürgerschaftliches Engagement bei der langjährigen Unterstützung und Begleitung von Flüchtlingen und als Vorstandsmitglied im Männergesangverein „Liederkranz“ Kappel e.V.

Satis Shroff lebt in Freiburg (poems, fiction, non-fiction) und schreibt über ökologische, medizin-ethnologische und kultur-ethnische Themen. Er hat Zoologie und Botanik in Nepal, Social Sciences und Medizin in Freiburg und Creative Writing in Freiburg und UK studiert.

Da Literatur eine der wichtigsten Wege ist, um die Kulturen kennenzulernen, hat er sein Leben dem Kreatives Schreiben gewidmet. Er arbeitete  als Dozent in Basel (Schweiz) und in Deutschland an der Akademie für medizinische Berufe (Uniklinik Freiburg).

 Ihm wurde der DAAD-Preis verliehen. Kultur kann Einblicke in fremde Lebenswelten geben, Grenzen überwinden, neue Horizonte öffnen und Kreativität fördern. In diesem Sinne sagte Herr Shroff in seine prägnante Dankeschönrede: „Ich werde Migranten raten in einem Deutschen Verein Mitglied zu werden, da es eine schöne Miteinander ist. Ich bin Mitglied beim Männergesangverein Kappel und fühle mich Sauwohl und gut aufgenommen von allen. Eine bessere weg zur Integration kann ich mir nicht vorstellen.“

Herr Shroff betreute Kinder- und Kriegsflüchtlinge aus Bosnien, Mazedonien und Kosovo-Albanien, begleitete sie durch die Schule und viele haben einen guten Schulabschluss geschafft. Als Kontaktperson für den DAAD und der Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung arbeitete Herr Shroff zusammen mit dem Akademischen Auslandsamt in Freiburg und betreute StudentInnen aus Nepal, Indien und England. Er hat diese StudentInnen begleitet und hält heute noch guten Kontakt zu diesen Akademikern.

Freiburg City’s Social Engagement Prize: Satis Shroff

SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT: Herr Shroff spricht fließend Englisch, Deutsch, Nepali, Hindi und Urdu und arbeitete ehrenamtlich als Dolmetscher beim Amtsgericht Freiburg. Er unterstützt sie wo er kann, denn diese Migranten sind hilflos in der Fremde und es gibt kulturelle, soziale und sprachliche Barrieren. Ein fremdes Verwaltungssystem und ein ungewohntes Gesetzgebung überfördert diese Menschen, und hier hilft Herr Shroff. Satis Shroff, ehrenamtlicher Dolmetscher des Amtsgerichtes Freiburg, wird für 20-jähriges Engagement für Flüchtlinge und Migranten geehrt. Seit seiner Einwanderung 1975 dolmetschte er in Freiburger Flüchtlingsheimen sowie für das Sozial- und Jugendamt. In den 1990er Jahren unterstützte er durch Hausaufgabenbetreuung Flüchtlingskinder und deren Familien aus dem Kosovo und auch Flüchtlinge aus Nepal, Indien und Pakistan, da er Nepali, Hindi und Urdu spricht.

BENEFIZKONZERT: Als 1.Vorsitzender von Männergesangverein-Kappel “Liederkranz” und machte ein Benefizkonzert für die Flüchlingskinder von Syrien (Unicef) in der Kirchzartener Kurhaus am 20. März 2014.

Satis Shroff with the MGV-Kappel

Für die Stadt Ilmenau übersetzte Herr Shroff Goethes Gedicht „Wandrers Nachtlied“ in Nepali. Er übersetzt Nepali Literature ins Deutsche.

Sein Gedichtband „Im Schatten des Himalaya“ ist bei  http://www.Lulu.com/spotlight/satisle erschienen sowie: Through Nepalese Eyes (travelogue).

Bevor er nach Deutschland kam „for further studies“ wie es so schön auf Englisch heißt, hat er in Katmandu als Features Redakteur in The Rising Nepal gearbeitet und schrieb eine naturwissenschaftliche Kolumne, und Leitartikel für Radio Nepal verfasst.

Publications by Satis Shroff: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/satisle & Nelles Verlag, München

 Er hat sechs Bücher geschrieben: Im Schatten des Himalaya (Gedichte und Prosa), Through Nepalese Eyes (Reisebericht), Katmandu, Katmandu (Gedichte und Prosa mit Nepali Autoren),  Glacial Whispers (Gedichtesammlung zwischen 1997-2010). Er hat zwei Sprachführer im Auftrag von Horlemann Verlag und Deutsche Stiftung für Entwicklungsdienst (DSE) geschrieben, außerdem drei Artikeln über die Gurkhas, Achtausender und Nepals Symbolen für Nelles Verlags ‚Nepal’ und über Hinduismus in „Nepal: Myths & Realities (Book Faith India).

Sein Gedicht „Mental Molotovs“ wurde im epd-Entwicklungsdienst (Frankfurt) veröffentlicht. Seine Lyrik sind in Slow Trains, International Zeitschrift, World Poetry Society (WPS), New Writing North, Muses Review, The Megaphone, Pen Himalaya, Interpoetry publiziert worden. Er ist ein Mitglied von Writers of Peace, poets, essayists, novelists (PEN), World Poetry Society (WPS).

AWARDS: Er erhielt den DAAD Preis und auch den  Soziales Engagement Preis von Green City Freiburg und wurde von der Stadt Freiburg nominiert für den Sozial Engagement Preis 2011, Berlin. Da Literatur eine der wichtigsten Wege ist, um die Kulturen kennenzulernen, hat er sein Leben dem Kreatives Schreiben gewidmet. Er hat als Dozent in Basel (Schweiz) und in Deutschland an der  Akademie für medizinische Berufe (Uniklinik Freiburg) und VHS-Freiburg und VHS-Dreisamtal gearbeitet..

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 18664291_10211393702431453_3001394070401009233_n.jpg

Ihm wurde der DAAD-Preis, Pablo Neruda Award 2017 und Heimatmedaille Baden Württemberg 2018 verliehen. 

Heimatmedaillie Baden-Württemberg für Freiburger Dozent, Dichter, MGV-Sänger: Satis Shroff

German Poet Friedrich Hölderlin (Satis Shroff)

Review By Satis Shroff:
Friedrich Holderlin’s Selected Poetry translated by David Constantine.
The Swabian poet Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843) was born in Lauffen upon the Neckar on the 20th of March 250 years ago. He was a German poet and philosopher and was influenced by Hegel and Schelling, and was also an important thinker of German idealism.


The strange and beautiful language of Friedrich Holderlin’s late poemshas been recreated by David Constantine in remarkable verse translations. This is a new expanded edition of Constantine’s Hölderlin Selected Poems (1990/1996) have been widely praised, containing many new translations as well as the whole of Hölderlin’s Sophocles (2001). Here the English translator has tried to create an equivalent English for Hölderlin’s extraordinary German recreations of the classic Greek verse plays. It might be mentioned that Constantine won the European Poetry Translation Prize in 1997 for his translations of Hölderlin.


He was the son of an estates bailiff, who died when Friedrich was barely two years old. His mother then married mayor Gock of Nürtingen, who died five years later. At that time Hölderlin was 9 years old.
It was decided that Friedrich should take the priest’s profession because he was a gifted boy. At the age of 16 he received a state scholarship for a cloister school, a place known for Catholic drill, order and discipline. In short, a performance system. He knew he had to arrange himself in this system.
Friedrich became melancholic and quiet. He wrote letters and poems. It was in Maulbronn where he began to write poems. ‘Ich dulde es nicht mehr ‘ wrote Friedrich as the cloister school became too much with him.
Tübingen: Hölderlin belonged to the elite of the mind: : theology, philology and philosophy were his subjects in Tübingen. He shared his room with two other students: Hegel and Schelling. Hölderlin wrote: ‘How can we create a world that d egoism and individual interests? He demanded to be one with everything that lives. A utopia in which art plays a significant role.
In Tübingen thinking was trained. He developed the idea of a free human being, despite the restrictions of society. Freedom had to be realized. No power for anyone. He couldn’t imagine that he could and experience history in his days in the town of Tübingen. He wrote hymns to Nature; Tübinger Hymns and for him poetry was a service to society, to change the people. And on how to exist.


At the age of 23 Friedrich Hölderlin left Tübingen and took a position as a house-teacher of a noble family with high expectations.
In 1802 he made a journey to Bordeaux. France where the French Revolution had taken place in 1689. The storm of the Bastille was the beginning of a new time and a new human being due to the French Revolution. The people got up at last against the tyranny of the rich.
Meanwhile, in Germany there were still the noble families in power. The French troops had crossed the Rhine and entered Germany.
Holderlin was 22 at this time in the Tübingen Stift. In 1793 Friedrich Hölderlin completed his Tübenger Seminary and due to Schiller’s mediation, he became the private tutor of the son of Frau von Kalb at Waltershausen. The parents of the boy found that their son Fritz used to masturbate, which was then regarded almost as a sin. Hölderlin was fired through no fault of his. It was there that the poet started writing a novel with a Greek setting—Hyperion (1797-99). Friedrich wrote at that time: ‘Why do I have to be so poor? Help me. Schiller was a Swabian writer and poet who became famous abroad.

Weimar Goethe Schiller - Free photo on Pixabay
Goethe and Schiller: contemporaries of Hölderlin


He went to Jena in 1794-95 where he contacted Schiller, who gave him small pieces of work but no major projects. Hegel, Schiller and Goethe were his contemporaries and he enjoyed their friendship—except for Goethe. Nevertheless, Hölderlin was in the right place with the prominent thinkers of his time. Friedrich Hölderlin was 20 years younger than Goethe. He crossed paths with Johann Wolfgang Goethe twice in 1797 and 1800 in Stuttgart and Nürtingen. An embarrassing encounter in 1795 at Schiller’s house in Jena during which Hölderlin was with Goethe alone in a room, but the latter didn’t recognize him. Or pretended not to. At the second encounter two years later in Frankfurt, Goethe called Friedrich Hölderlin ‘Hölterlein’ and advised him paternally to write small poems and to choose a human interest object. His heart sank to his feet. The great Goethe was for Hölderlin a trauma.


Later during his tower-days, where Hölderlin lived, he’d wince every time the name Goethe was mentioned by his guests. He wanted to find in Schiller a father-figure, a mentor whom he could look upon for advice and someone who could make a great poet out of him. But Schiller plainly refused with Goethe always towering behind him.
Hölderlin carried out monologues: as a poet of the people he wanted to be one with Nature and human beings, where the thunder lends the voice.


Dotima, a symbolized love: In December 1795 Friedrich Hölderlin took a new post as a tutor in the house of a Frankfurter banker named J.F. Gontard. However, in Frankfurt Hölderlin had the status of a domestic servant and was not allowed to show his ‘Geist,’ his intellect. He had noticed that Susette, the wife of banker was unhappy in her marriage. The two fell in love which gave rise to the Dotima poems. It was here that Friedrich fell in love with Gontard’s young wife Susette, who returned his affections. She became for him an embodiment of the Hellenic ideal, which was symbolized by Diotima, a name he referred to her in his poems and in Hyperion.
Hölderlin developed his characteristic style of poetry in the year 1796. The change is seen in 1797-99 in a tragedy with the title ‘Empedocles.’
In 1798there was a scandal when the banker husband discovered the love affair between Hölderlin and his wife Susetteere was a torntte. Hölderlin got thrown out. The cold and anger can be felt in Hölderlin’s Hyperion II. Here was a broken, torn priest, a thinker. His godly feelings had abandoned him. He felt that his countrymen had no feeling for togetherness and rides rigorously with his own folk.
Hölderlin met Susette secretly and handed her a copy of Hyperion II, a love tragedy. He didn’t see Susette Gontard after 1799. During this time there was a war of conquest and exploitation. Napoleon had come to power like a dictator. He officially ended the French Revolution. Holderlin wrote about the French Revolution in English in 1848-49.
Friedrich wasn’t satisfied with political life in Germany, and he hoped for a Swabian Revolution and had friends among the revolutionaries of his day. He would have been arrested for his contacts with revolutionaries but a friendly physician wrote an attest that he was a psychiatric patient. It was speculated whether the medical diagnosis was only to escape punishment as a revolutionary.
In 1802-1804Friedrich Hölderlin went to his mother in a disturbed mental state. He came under psychiatric treatment in a healing institution. It was like a torture for the poet. The doctors told him he had three years to live, and he was 37 years old. Hölderlin was confined to a tower near the river Neckar, where he spent 36 years of his life with a carpenter master and his daughter.

Hölderlin’s Tower upon the Neckar: art Satis Shroff
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe Faust Writer The Sorrows Of Young Werther Poet  PNG, Clipart, Chin, Elder,
Goethe


From his tower he could see the Neckar flowing. Hölderlin was unreachable as far as his command of the German language was concerned. He was a loner and a lover, who wrote poems that broke limits and his poetry broke frontiers. All politicians of his day and even later the Nazis sought something and identified themselves in Hölderlin’s poesie. Even Heidegger mentioned during a lecture on Hölderlin: ‘Goethe ist leeres Reimgeklingel.’ He meant the depth that Hölderlin’s poems had. Societal political ideas of a change, similar to the French Revolution were sought in his verses.
In 1802 Hölderlin became a tutor at Hauptwil, near St.Gall, Swiss Canton Thurgau. Holderlin was in search of a poetic form. It was how own search and he wanted to get hold of the godly fire. Everything was open. After three months in Switzerland, he went back to Germany. After a decade of war, there’s peace again. Hölderlin writes a ‘Peace Celebration Poem: Friedensfeier Gedicht.


An evolution takes place in Hölderlin the poet. The language of the hymn becomes a song. He starts to experiment with music and song.
It may be mentioned that Hyperion and the dramatic fragments of Der Tod des Empedocles are about the Greek ideal. The mission of the poet and the deafness of the world around him. Hölderlin wrote his poems radically and tried everything: sentences, classical poems, radical poems. His poems are not understood without the blessing of Goethe.


Sand and Sea: In 1801-1802 Hölderlin made a new start in France. ‘What can insult you more, my heart?’ he says. He sought an existential crisis with his extended walks in Nature and crossed dark valleys and came across sunny ones. He reached Bordeaux in 1802 and found beautiful, classical buildings in France and Great Britain. There was trade between the two countries. This time a wine-trader was his employer. The French language fascinated him and he wrote ‘Andenken,’ a landscape that moved him: the beach, the sea in Bordeaux. In his hymn ‘Andenken’ he thinks about the Continent, humans, Asia and South Africa opening his horizon.
Four months later, Hölderlin left Bordeaux.


In May 1802 Hölderlin the restless soul was underway again on foot. A wandering poet and philosopher. He walks from Bordeaux to Paris and Strassbourg. He returned to Nürtingen, where his mother lived, in a very disturbed mental state. He was unkempt, dirty, unrecognizable and nervous.
Hölderlin translated all his writing life. Through translation he reached a poetic language of his own, so that much of his best poetry reads like a translation from elsewhere. He was intensely occupied with Sophocles in the winter of 1803-04.
In the last years of his sanity he turned to hymnic verse, with poems of haunting beauty in free verse rhythms: Am Quelle der Donau, Germanien, Der Rheim, Friedensfeier and Patmos. In some of his later poems he tried to reconcile Christianity with his beloved Hellas.


Even though he was in bad shape, his mind was extremely creative and he wrote poems, hymns, a new poetic style. His loneliness and coldness came in, and he tried to sum up his work life. Half of his life was a nightly song. He saw his own fate.
In the autumn of 1804 he worked as a librarian in a castle in Homberg. But his mental illness recurred and he was sent to an institution in Tüningen. However, his health improved. He began asking questions: a self-assessment. Who was he? What could he write? He knew he didn’t have much time to write. He penned suggestive language images (Sprachbilder), broken poem fragments. He spent the Springtime along the Rhine and wrote like a writing maniac: he wrote in poetic ecstasy.
In 1806he was in the psychiatric ward and was released after 204 days. He ended in the tower near the Neckar, where he spent 36 years under the care of a local master carpenter named Zimmer. He was not a prisoner and it was an extended protective space, a shelter.
The poet and philosopher died on the 7th of June 1843.


In English translation by David Constantine
Ages of Life
Euphrates’ cities and
Palmyra’s streets and you
Forests of columns in the level desert
What are you now?
Your crowns, because
You crossed the boundary
Of breath,
Were taken off
In Heaven’s smoke and flame;
But I sit under clouds (each one
Of which has peace) among
The ordered oaks, upon
The deer’s heath, and strange
And dead the ghosts of the blessed ones
Appear to me.
‘Once there were gods’
Once there were gods, on earth, with people, the heavenly muses
And Apollo, the youth, healing, inspiring, like you.
And you are like them to me, as though one of the blessed
Sent me out into life where I go my comrade’s
Image goes with me wherever I suffer and build, with love
Unto death; for I learned this and have this from her.
Let us live, oh you who are with me in sorrow, with me in faith
And heart and loyalty struggling for better times!
For such we are! And if ever in the coming years they knew
Of us two when the spirit matters again
They would say: lovers in those days, alone, they created
Their secret world that only the gods knew. For who
Cares only for things that will die the earth will have them, but
Nearer the light, into the clarities come
Those keeping faith with the heart’s love and holy spirit who were
Hopeful, patient, still, and got the better of fate.

SCHWARZWALD POEMS: SATIS SHROFF

ALPINE GRATITUDE (Satis Shroff)

 The hamlets are scattered,Tucked away in the side valleys and spursOf the Black Forest,Which was once dark and foreboding.A forest that once conjoured myths, legendsAnd fairy tales. Under the hay and homesteads,You find men and mice,Good natured maids and children,Healthy and happy cows, goats,Sheep and swines.The Schwarzwald farmers paid low taxes,For Nature punished them enough.They couldn’t get rich on the craggy soil,The high elevation and the long, raw winter. Yet the Black Forest forced the soil,To yield millet in Summer,Wheat and barley,Buried beneath a thick mantle of snow. Ah, it’s already past the month of October,The young calves are in the stalls,After a colourful, traditional walkFrom the higher alpine meadows.There’s corn in the chamber,Feed for the animals in the barns. Around Freiburg the apple trees,Are laden heavily with apples.Your nostrils smell apple mixed with cinnamon and sugar:Applekompott, apple moos, apple pancakes and pies. * * *

THE HARVEST FESTIVAL (Satis Shroff) Erntedank is the harvest festival,The German Thanksgiving,Celebrated on the first Sunday of October.The richness of Nature is depictedBy bread, fruits and flowers.

 
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 The ladies wear lovely silk costumes,Displaying their exquisite stiching and sewing creations:Jewellery, pompom hats and headgear with pearls,Expressing their gratitudeTo the church, God and Mother Nature.The Alemannic bread of Kaiserstuhl is legendary,A procession of bakers and vereineEnds the Alemannic Bread Market in Endingen.Neighbouring France is known for cheese,Germany excels with 300 sorts of bread. It’s such a delight to watch the calves and cows,Mooing with their big collar bells,Moving languidly down to the Erlenbacher meadows,Over the golden, russet, brown fallen and withered leaves,Lain by the wind like a rich carpet.Around the Goldberg Hall and the cloister,The alpine air is filled with cow bells,The clash of beer glass and oompa musicOf the red-cheeked village musicians. A homeland that has grownWithe the centuries,Thanks to the word of farmers,Beautiful undulating landscapes,Shaped by dextrous human hands,From Erlenbach upto Feldberg.

 
(Hues of yellow, pale and dark green and russet leaves on the boughs (c)satisshroff)

 Fresh air and lush green grass in the summer months,Followed by stacks of hay and tangled hedges in autumn and winter.In the vale below,The local Ganter brewery opensA keg of beer in the Goldenberg Hall,The Old Timer Bulldog parade begins,Followed by music of the brass band from Oberried.The visitors relish the Badische cuisine:Schweinebrated, würst, schnitzel, spätzle and salad,And round it up with self-baked Schwarzwäldertorte,Cheese cakes and wash it down with warm coffee. The country women and farmersShow and sell their creative wares,Mr. Müller gathers alms for the church and cloister.In the priest’s hall there’s a Kasperle theatre,A puppet show staged by the Kindergarden of Oberried.Frau Julia Lauby delivers a speechOn the assets and different races of the Black Forest cattle.The birch trees have golden leaves on their boughs.In the evening you sit,Swinging with your neighboursIn an Alemannic Schoof.The Goldberg Hall moves to and fro,To the sound of ‘Schwarzwald Sound.’ I take a swig of the brew,And head for Kappel in the Dreisam Valley below,Before the mirth and fun grow fast and furious,As Robert Burns adminishedIn Tam o’ Shanter. * * * 

 
The Alemmanic cows grazing in Kirchzarten, below Gierberg, a wonderful place to have coffe & cakes and enjoy the Schwarzwald scenery (c)satisshroff.

Schwarzwaldlyrik: Silence of the Morning (Satis Shroff) The silence of the morningIs broken gently by the friendlyTweets and chirps of birdsHidden among the Schwarzwald foliage. An amsel lands on a branchAnd listens.A bumble bee dances by. And out in the distance,The blue Black Forest hills,Studded with myriadsOf pine trees.Lush green meadows,Where the snows layOnly a week ago. I sit here on a ridge,Overlooking my house,The red baked rooftopsOf my German neighbours,And watch a MäusebussardFlying languidly with keen eyes,Swoop down to grab a mouseIn Meier’s meadow. The three rotors of the windmillsAre moving in the distant hills.And below the bustle of Ebnet,A picturesque townAcross the river Dreisam. Glossary: Amsel: blackbirdMäusebussard: buzzard that eats field mice.* * * *TOAD CROSSING (Satis Shroff) On my way to the men’s choir meeting,Along the airy hill of Grosstal,Past warbling brooks,Past the wooden Black Forest houses,I came across a toad crossing. Even children were there,Giving a helping hand,As they gathered the toads,In their plastic buckets,To help them to the other sideOf the Schwarzwald path. The toads creaked uneasily,The crickets made their presence felt,Night was falling.Schattered in the inverted bowl,We call the sky,There were glittering stars,Of an everlasting universe. * * * *  TICKLING TONGUES (Satis Shroff) Singers have to be friends,Are the lyrics of an olde song.Raise your glasses,Be merry and rejoice. Tickle your tonguesWith Bacchus,Beer and badische wine,And your larynx: Erhebet das Glas,Gold’ne funken,der Wein.Sänger,Sänger müssen Freunde sein!* * * *

 
(Aquarelle (c)satisshroff)

GAIETY AND INNOCENCE (Satis Shroff) The moment he entered the bedroomAnd saw them entangled in embrace,The gaiety and innocenceOf a relationship,That had undergone hardships,Was gone. The kisses had become cold,And died out.They partedNever to meet again,As a pair. What followed was a kriegOf the roses.Wounded heartsThat couldn’t be restored.Insults, tirades,And accusations,Instead of smiles and kisses.

 
A chapel in Oberried (c)satisshroff

 In court,Out of court,On the phone, sms, what’s app,Even twitter. You ask: ‘What’s up?How did the kids take it?’They took sides.Never wanting to see her,The Mom in who’s wombThey grew,In her amniotic ocean,Till they could breathe air. And now they despiseHer very breath,Behind their necks.Gone are the fond kisses and hugs.Wounds that run deep with disdain. Forgive and forget,Nein, never, nie!And so goes the conflict,Till a silly court decision is made,By a judge,Who cares a damnAbout yin and yang.Gone is the gaiety and innocence,Loss and pain,Is what remains. * * * *