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..

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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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!

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Satis Shroff – Kunst – Kultur – Literatur – Gedichte – Gesang

Heimatpflegerische Engagement: Satis Shroff – Kunst – Kultur – Literatur – Gedichte Gesang

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Themen der Geschichten und Gedichten sind u.a.: Kampf um Demokratie (My Nepal: Quo vadis?), Transition (Wenn die Seele sich verabschiedet), und die Stellung der Frau (Bombay Bordel, Nirmala: Zwischen Terror und Ekstase), die verführerische Bergwelt (Die Himalaya rufen, Die Sehnsucht der Himalaya), das Leben in der Fremde (Gibt es Hexen in Deutschland?), Soldatenleben und Krieg (Der Verlust einer Mutter, Die Agonie des Krieges, Kein letzte Sieg), Tod nach Tollwut (Fatale Entscheidung), Trennung und Emanzipation (Santa Fe), Migration und Fremdenhass (Mental Molotovs, Letzte Tram nach Littenweiler), Tourismus (Mein Alptraum, Die Götter sind weg), Alkoholismus (Der Professors Gattin), Gewalt (Krieg), Trennung (Die Stimme, Der Rosenkrieg), Nachbarn (Die Sommerhitze) und die Liebe (Der zerbrochene Dichter, Eine seufzende Prinzessin, Ohne Wörter), die Familie (Meine Maya), der Tod (An Carolin Walter, Wenn die Seele Abschied nimmt).

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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.

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‘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.

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Satis Shroff at the Freiburger Marathon Lesung, Stadttheater, Freiburg, Germany

Books & Publications:

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Satis Shroff's ZEITGEISTLITERATURE | Just another ...

key words: satisshroff, freiburg, reviews, black forest, schwarzwald, poems, prose, men’s choir MGV freiburg-kappel, begegnungen, encounters,miteinander, togetherness, tolerance, mutual respect, frieden, peace, shanti

‘Frisch auf! Trekking in the Black Forest (Satis Shroff, Schwarzwald)

For a week Freiburg became the capital city of the trekkers from all over Germany. There they were bearing their association or verein flags, banners, wearing their traditional costumes or trekking outfits singing traditional trekking songs called ‘Wanderlieder,’ because trekking is a way of life in the Alpine countries, and Freiburg and the Black Forest are no exception. They were all obliged to go through Freiburg’s Schwabentor, the gateway of the Swabians. I found the entire spectacle with olde, traditional costumes rather delightful and the trekkers who came to town rather friendly.

The participants were greeted by the minister for ecology Tanja Gönner at the elegant Concert House and the procession began at 2 pm along the…

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key words: satisshroff, freiburg, reviews, black forest, schwarzwald, poems, prose, men’s choir MGV freiburg-kappel, begegnungen, encounters,miteinander, togetherness, tolerance, mutual respect, frieden, peace, shanti

‘Frisch auf! Trekking in the Black Forest (Satis Shroff, Schwarzwald)

For a week Freiburg became the capital city of the trekkers from all over Germany. There they were bearing their association or verein flags, banners, wearing their traditional costumes or trekking outfits singing traditional trekking songs called ‘Wanderlieder,’ because trekking is a way of life in the Alpine countries, and Freiburg and the Black Forest are no exception. They were all obliged to go through Freiburg’s Schwabentor, the gateway of the Swabians. I found the entire spectacle with olde, traditional costumes rather delightful and the trekkers who came to town rather friendly.


The participants were greeted by the minister for ecology Tanja Gönner at the elegant Concert House and the procession began at 2 pm along the Schwabentor. Last year 1,7 million trekkers took part in the treks organised by the vereine (associations). In Freiburg alone, you could take part in 100 treks with 300 trained-guides. 56 per cent of Germans say that walking in the countryside is one of their favourite pastimes. Even the health insurance companies recognise the Wanderverein’s decorations as a show of health performance and a desire to lead healthy lives. After all, men are ruled by toys, said Napoleon, and distributed medals to his troops for their performance and participation in many battles. In this case, it’s a peaceful jolly trekking, and the people are not out to conquer countries but hearts. The magic word is: Völkerverständigung. Aiming at the understanding between different ethnic folks. Even among the Germans you talk of Völkerverständigung because Germany is a cocktail of folks and dialects, despite Hitler’s attempt to make an Aryan race out of Germany. He himself was an Austrian. A Berliner, Saarbrücker, Bavarian, hamburger, Swabian, Badener and other Germans have all their own way os saying things, expressions, tongues and psyche too. No two Germans think alike, and it also depends on the strata of the society one is from. I like the ad about the hard-working Swabians: ‘Mir könnet alles, ausser Hochdeutsch,’ which means: we can do everything aside from speaking Standard German.’ It’s the upbringing in a local, dialect that causes linguistic faux pas in the company of others from other regions.


You are greeted by the different verein groups with a hearty ‘Frisch auf!’ The area around Feldberg, which has the highest mountain, has subalpine vegetation. It is the desire of the verein to preserve our wonderful heimat, to develop it for future generations after the principle ‘Protection through Use’ by giving the people who work and live in the vicinity of the forests (alpine farmers, forest rangers, forest-workers) a means of subsistence. This is where the Schwarzwald association plays a vital role.



One of the delights of living in the three country triangle is that you can undertake walks in the Black Forest countryside, go across the river Rhine to the Vosges mountains in Alsace (France) and Hegau in the Lake Constance area. The Black Forest Association celebrated its 110thGerman Wanderer’s Day, a day in which you could go for walks in the countryside, and the towns and hamlets participating undertake part in the celebration offered cultural programmes. The motto was: Nature, Culture and Wanderung (trekking) belong together. Since Nature is intact in the Black Forest, culture has been raised to a higher level, it can be relished with all the senses.


The Schwarzwaldverein has 75,000 members divided into 239 groups with 23,000 kilometres of trekking routes that have been marked and are nursed. You can do long treks, regional treks and local travels with yellow rhombus signs to show you where to go en route, which give you a sense of security, reliability in order to reach your respective destination. The yellow rhombus on the trees shows you where you are, in which direction the next destination is, and how many kilometres. It also tells you where you can rest and refresh yourself.


The association also issues new updated trekking maps. Moreover, the Schwarzwaldverein is accredited as an official Nature conservation association according to paragraph 29 of the Bundesnaturschutz law, and also protects wild areas, wild animals and plants. The Heimat and Trekking Academy Baden Württemberg co-operates with the Black Forest and Swabian Albverein, and educated and trains trekking-guides. There are over 700 certified guides. The Schwarzwaldverein also promotes variety in the trekking and cultural programmes. It also runs 25 trekking homes, where you can eat, drink and sleep, and is also responsible for the 67 wildlife observation towers. Additionally, it promotes Germany’s youth, and nordic walking  and biking routes in the mountain trails.


In order to promote tourism, a special card has been introduced for the Black Forest with which you can use the bus, streetcar and the train, which is unique in Europe. Other European nations should also follow this innovative example, to make getting around easy in the Alpine countries.


‘What’s the Black Forest?’ you might ask. It is our dark, green homeland and is the biggest chain of the middle mountains in Germany. If you want to traverse the entire mountain ranges, you can do it from the ‘Gold-City’ Pforzheim in the north over 280 km to the historical town of Basle (Switzerland) along the High-Rhine to the south.


The mountains to the east and west of the geological faults that we call the Vosges and the Black Forest, have arisen almost 1500 metres. The stretch of land which is the Upper Rhine Rift through which the Rhine flows today crumbled, thereby creating the present geological formation. A great part of the Northern Black Forest is composed of mixed sandstone and is not good for agricultural purposes. The Middle and Southern Schwarzwald mountains have hummocky topography which makes it easier to cultivate and ideal for settlements.


Whereas the Romans didn’t find this area interesting due to geo-political reasons, settlements began to grow in the 8th and 10th century in the Black Forest mountains, valleys and spurs, The first houses were the cloisters. In the Middle Ages the Schwarzwald was known for its silver and lead mines. The burning ovens in the Neuenburger area show that even in the Celtic times iron was an important ore. The spas (thermal baths) of Baden Baden, Badenweiler, Bad Krözing, Bad Bellingen use the healing wetness which comes from the mountains. A combination of a mild climate, fresh mountain air make a lot of places in the Black Forest mountains ideal for reconvalescence of people with pulmonary illnesses (Kurorte). The Schwarzwald, Black Forest or Foret Noir, as the name suggests, is made of pine and beech forests. During the early industrialisation, a big part of the forests were used for producing charcoal, glass-manufacture, mining for ores, and wood for home-fires needed in the bigger towns of Freiburg and Basle. When the forests were denuded, spruce saplings were planted which changed the face of the Black Forest to its present form.


Why do people seek the Waldeinsamkeit, the stillness of the forest? The answer lies perhaps in a poem penned by L. Tieck. It crops up at the beginning at the end of a stanza. Tieck uses this in varying form thrice in his story ‘The blond Eckbert.’ The opening lines of poem no. 5 in Eichendorff’s cycle ‘Der Umkehrende’ runs thus:



Du grüne Review…

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MIGRATION is not a new phenomenon of the present day and is an important factor in urban development. The cultural heritage of the city is shaped by the migrants. The society in which they make their presence felt leads to a shaping, challenging, taxing and most of all adds to the enrichment of the society.

To this effect, the City Archieve has been working on a long-time research project which has assigned historians, social scientists and expert journalists in the past years to raise new questions about the history of the city.

The result of the intensive research is now in print and bears the title ‘Migration in Freiburg/Breisgau—its Story from 1500 till the Present’ and the book has 47 contributions by 26 authors involving numerous, diverse facettes and illustrations.

The chronological content throws light on themes such as the role of religion in migration, the presence and echo it found in the media, participation, language competence, freetime activities and social lives of the migrants.

The book, compiled by Ulrich Ecker and Nausikaa Schrilla, has been published by the City of Freiburg and has 304 pages, the City Archive is the publisher.

In order to accompany the book project, a series of talks has been arranged. The book presentation is on the International Day of Migrants on Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 5:30 pm at the Winterer-Foyer, Theatre Freiburg, Bertold Strasse 46, 79098 Freiburg.

The guests will be greeted by Ulrich von Kirchbach (Mayor for Culture, Integration & Senior Citizens), Meral Gründer (Migrant Counsel), Barbara Mundel (TheatreStadt Freiburg). Musical accompaniment by Heim & Flucht Orchestra Theatre Freiburg. And the evening will end with snacks & drinks.

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From 1500 till Today (Satis Shroff)

YESTERDAY, December 18,2014, I was invited to a book introduction and reception on the occasion of the International Day of Migration at the Winterer Foyer of Freiburg’s city theatre. The mayor for cultural affairs Ulrich von Kirchbach, was conspicuous by his absence because he had to attend another event.

The well-researched book in question bore the title ‘Migration in Freiburg im Breisgau – its history from 1500 till today,’ and the editors were Ulrich Ecker (City Archive) and Prof. Dr. Nausikaa Schrilla (University of Applied Sciences). The musical accompaniment was provided by the Heim und Flucht Orchestra conducted by Ro Kuijpers.

We all know that migration is not a new contemporary phenomenon and represents an essential factor for urban development, and in this context migrants (males and females) have left and still leave their impressions in the cultural heritage of the city they live in.

The society to which the migrants came was formed, challenged, emphasized and, most of all, enhanced and enriched by the new citizens. This is also the reason why the Cultural Department devotes its time and resources to this long-time research project, which was initiated in 2011 under the aegis of the Community Council of Freiburg City. The city archive was obliged to carry out a research on the migration story, as part of the history of the city. The result is a standard work written by 26 authors, among them historians, social scientists, ethnologists, social workers and the scientific archivists of this city who have compiled these fascinating stories from 1500 till the present.

The documents are readable also for the layman and is written in an interesting way, which was not visible till now—as far as research documents written by scientists are concerned. The publication also depicts the people from Europe and other countries of the world who made their way to this city in Baden-Württemberg, and have left lasting impressions in the community as its new citizens, have brought new perspectives and thereby enriched the culture of Freiburg. Without the contributions of these people, Freiburg wouldn’t be as rich and diverse as today.

The book has 304 pages and 113 images, and bears the ISBN 978-3-923272-39-6 and costs 24,50 euros and is published by Stadt Archiv Freiburg, Grünwälderstrasse 15, D-79098 Freiburg, Germany.

Jean Aymonat immigrated to Freiburg in 1596 from Savoyen, Jerome Ferrand came in 1698 from Languedoc, Alberto Lurati came in 1872 from Italy.

Joseph Bednaz was brought against his will to Freiburg from Poland in 1941, and remained here after the World War II.
Agostinho Dias came all the way from Portugal with his parents who were workers in the Dreisam Valley in the year 1979. Jasmina Prpic fled to Freiburg during the war in Bosnia-Herzegowina in 1992.

The above-mentioned are only six out of many migrants who have come to Freiburg in the course of time in the last 500 years, established themselves here and brought their families or created new families here. The imprint of their influence is evident in the cultural heritage of the city and it was their integration in the teutonic society that was a matter of challenge and choices, that taxed the society, shaped it, moulded it and even enriched it in the process.

The book isn’t about the chronology of events but about themes such as the role of religion in the migratory process, and the presence and echo and how it was reflected upon by the German media, the participation in the society, language learning, pastime schedules and social life of the immigrants. It might be noted that the different migrant groups that have settled down in Freiburg in the course of time not only worked here and sent their children to school but also lived their lives and helped to bring about changes in Freiburg. The numerous portraits of the new immigrants document the individual motives of migration, and the success achieved as well as goals not attained and resulting defeat.

The book handled the theme migration in its historical and local perspectives. From this a few deductions can be made regarding migration, which are firstly not new phenomena, secondly they’re just as normal as migration itself, which has always taken place in in history, and thirdly we cannot imagine Freiburg without migration.

Freiburg is a lovely, attractive city and it is the migratory trend that makes it so attractive. The book analyses the past and the present, as well as the future and comes to the conclusion that migration will further strengthen and it will remain an open and diverse Black Forest metropolis, as we Freiburger are wont to say. As Prof. Schirilla mentioned in her talk about the book:’There are obviously gaps in the book. Die Lückenhaftigkeit des Buches sind nicht vermeidbar‘ but with time even these gaps are expected to be closed after the adage: writing is re-writing.

(Svetlana Boltovskaja, Satis Shroff & a friend from Poland)

Of the 170 languages spoken by the migrants of Freiburg, only a small percentage has been represented, and it is hoped that this publication will lead to other ambitious publications as a series for the City Archive. The book does mirror the migrants and what they have experienced in the Occident. Through the contributions of the new citizens the Abendland has grown and become prosperous and can only be destroyed through its own doings, according to Nausikaa Schirilla.

I’d like to mention a forthcoming book by Svetlana Boltovskaja, a young, bespectacled, blonde I met and talked with at the book event. The title is long, as most academic works show: ‘Educational migrants from the sub-Saharan Africa in Moscow and St. Petersberg: self and alien portraits.’ ISBN 978-386226-256-4, price 28,80 euros, I told Svetlana that during my college days in Kathmandu (Nepal) in the late seventies there were scholarships available for Nepalese and Indian students from the Lumumba-Friendship-University and Moscow University. The Soviet Union educated a lot of young people from the southern hemisphere (developing countries). Hundreds of Africans did their higher education in the old Soviet Union. Today, we find a rather small, active African community the nucleus of which consists of the former educational migrants.
Svetlana Boltovskaja’s interdisciplinary study is an elaboration on the theme of ‘intercultural Black Studies of Russia.’ She has worked on the history of educational migration from the sub-Saharan Africa and has focused on the post-Soviet-period during which economic and societal-political transformations took place in Russia and in the African states. She works as a journalist, translator and as a museum-expert. She did her PhD in ethnology in Freiburg and coordinates different projects in the intercultural sector.

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  (Stephanie Dauer playing the cello pensively. Alas, she has left Freiburg. We wish her all                                                    the best in the USA)

(The ladies of the Chorvereinigung Hochdorf)


The Männergesangsverein ‚Liederkranz’ Kappel staged a spiritual concert conducted by Johannes Söllner ‘Heaven and Haydn’ with the cooperation of the Chorvereinigung Hochdorf which was conducted by Rainer Hoffmann. The solists were: Stephanie Dauer (Cello), Andrea Kampe (Orgel) and Christian Kohler also Orgel.


The mixed choir from Hochdorf was already onstage and sang ‘Shalom Chaverim’ after the last notes of the cello played by Stafanie Dauer has ceased. The men’s chor then sang the same verse as they approached the stage. It was a choral duet with the sad and sorrowful wailing of the cello which resounded in the hall of St. Peter and Paul. It was a spiritual delight to listen to the two choirs reaching a crescendo.


The Chorvereinigung Hochdorf MGV Kappel a traditional spiritual songs from the mass ‘Hier liegt deiner Majestät’ by Michael Haydn: Gloria, Credo, Zur Opferung and Zur Wandlung sung with pathosand gusto as the song demanded. The audience had been requested not to applause after every piece and save it for the finale.


Andreas Kumpe played choral introduction ‘Schmück dich, o liebe Seele’ BWV 654 by Johann Sebastian Bach followed by the Chorvereinigung Hochdorf with  ‘Herzekrank’ composed by Stefan Kalmer and ‘Im Grünen’ by Felix Mendelsohn Bartholdy.


The ladies of the Chorvereinigung Hochdorf gave a lively performance wearing evening costumes and their typical orange chiffon shawls.


Stephanie Dauer delighted us with her Prelude from Suite in G-major BWV 1007 composed by Johann Sebastian Bach. The deep tone of the cello filled the room ranging from deep bass to the higher tones played with feeling by Stephanie.


We men from the MGV Kappel sang ‘Ich bete an die Macht der Liebe’ composed by Dimitri Bortniansky

And arranged by Heinrich Poos, ‚So nimmt denn meine Hände’ composed by Friedrich Silcher, with arrangement by Johannes Söllner, a young guy who likes to keep his head bald and who has what er Germans call ‘Pfiff.’ He also has a wonderful sense of humour.

Christian Kohler did an improvisation on ‘So nimm denn meine Hände’ which means: so take my hands then.

The Chorvereinigung Hochdorf sang Uti var hage composed by Hugo Alfven, Sommerpsalm by Waldemar Ahlen and  the German version of ‚Irish Blessing’ James E. Moore. Wonderful renderings. Christian Kohler did his own interpretation of ‘Heaven is a Wonderful Place’ which was actually meant as a musical premonition for the vocalists.

The MGV Kappel sang their pepped-op version of ‘Heaven is a Wonderful Place’ arrangement by Wolfgang Koperski. Then came the German version of The Legend of Babylon (Farian/Dowe/Reyam/Mc Naughton) arrangement by Peter Flammen.

The finale was the Irish Blessing (Irischer Segenswünsch) a traditional song sung together by the Chorveinigung Hochdorf & MGV Kappel ‚Liederkranz’ and arrangement by Felix Rosskopp, the former conductor of MGV Kappel who now works in Offenburg.


The MGV ‘Liederkranz’ will soon be presenting a programme for ‘young and old’ and want to do a musical together with the voices of the men’s and children’s choir. I think bringing young and elderly people together is a wonderful idea, not only during the musical in the not-too-distant-future but also as a resource for the existing men’s choir. It is hoped that the parents of the young singers will also take interest in the activities of the MGV Kappel and function as active members n the verein or as well-wishers, supporters and passive members.

A thunderous applause followed and it was a good feeling, a feeling of having touched the hearts of the people of Kappel, Littenweiler, Buchenbach, Kirchzarten and the whole Dreisam Valley.

Songs (Lieder as we say in German), have been written by most German poets and there are many folk songs or Volkslieder since the 16th century onwards, with the difference that the lyricists are unknown. A special form is the musical Lied of the 19th and early 20 century. It was Mozart who wrote the first examples. In addition to many individual songs, Beethoven composed the first song-cycle, Liederzyklus, with the title: An die ferne Geliebte. Songs for the distant lover. However, it was Schubert who used melody, modulation and accompaniment to draw out the full meaning of poems. Schubert wrote more than 600 Lieder and two song-cycles: Die schöne Müllerin and Die Winterreise.

* * *


Volkstrauertag: Lest We Forget

Musikverein-Kappel unter der Leitung von B. Winter

IN Kappel besteht eine Verbindung zwischen dem Männergesangverein und dem örtlichen Kindergarten St. Barbara unter der Leitung von Frau Ursula Allgeier. Es ist eine richtige Patenschaft, Freundschaft und Kooperation entstanden. In einer Verstaltung im Kappler Gemeindeheim zum Martinimarkt in dem der MGV-Kappel und die Kinder von St. Barbara gemeinsam Lieder sangen, hat Frau Roswitha Panknin, stellvertretend für den Deutschen Chorverband, eine Felix-Urkunde und den Jahresbutton zum Aufkleben auf das Felix-Schild an Frau Allgeier überreicht.
Die Felix-Plakette ist eine Auszeichnung für einen singenden Kindergarten und wird vom Deutschen Chorverband verliehen. Frau Panknin (Breisgauer Sängerbund) sagte, ‘Die Kindergarten kann sich nach Ablauf der drei jährigen Gültigkeit dieser aktuellen Felix-Auszeichnung um die neue Plakete, „Die Carusos“ bewerben.
„Ich singe gerne – und ich kann es auch!“ ist das Ziel der bundesweiten Initiativ. „Die Carusos,“ das heißt: Jedem Kind seine Stimme. Die Bedeutung eines qualifizierten musikalischen Angebots im Kindergarten und musikalischer Vorschulbildung wächst. Die Schulen haben auch ein Interesse daran, dass die Begegnung mit Musik nicht erst im Klassenzimmer stattfindet. Früh übt sich: Singen tun wir alle in der Krabbelstube und wir können es bis ins hohe Alter fortführen (siehe MGV-Kappel!).
Was sind the Voraussetzungen und wer kann eine Carusos Fachberaterin werden? Nun, es wird verlangt, dass die Person eine musikalische Bilding hat, pädagogisches Engagement zeigt und ausgeprägt Kontaktfreudig ist. Die spezifische Carusos Fachberaterin muss durch eine Prüfung eine Qualifizierung nachweisen und wird bei bestehen mit einem Zeugnis beglaubigt.
Der Gesangsverein Kappel-Ebnet (1910) hat schon die Zelter Plakette 2011 vom Deutschen Chorverband erhalten. Nächstes Jahr ist der Männergesangverein-Kappel 95 Jahre alt. Auch Männer freuen sich auf Auszeichnungen.
Die Kinder sollen tägliches singen üben in Kindergerechter hohen Tonlage. Die Liederauswahl soll vielfältig und altersgemäß sein. Was mich persönlich sehr erfreut hat, war die Integration von Liedern aus anderen Kulturen, vor allem soll sich der demographische Wandel in Deutschland in der Musik bemerkbar machen, denn das gehört zum Alltag. Man hört Lang Lang so gerne im Fernsehen. Ich bin ganz Froh, dass wir immer wieder Menschen mit Migrationshintergrund und aus außereuropäischen Traditionen kommen. Ich komme ursprunglich aus Nepal, Fatao aus Togo, Charles aus Kamerun und wir haben auch Sänger aus der Mongolei. Im Kindergarten ist es auch nicht viel anders. Es ist eine wunderschöne Bereicherung für uns alle.
Trotz Proteste über sogenannte ausländische Lieder unter den betagten MGV Mitgliedern, haben wir die Sänger dazu motiviert russische, afrikanische, amerikanische, irische, kroatische, deutsche, lateinische Lieder zu singen. Wenn die Kinder und die Erwachsenen Männer zusammen auf der Bühne stehen, nach gemeinsamen Proben, und gemeinsamen singen sind sie doch alle glücklich.
Seit einigen Jahren versucht der MGV die Schauinslandschule ebenfalls für die Felix- Plakette und Carusos und anschließend eine Musikpatenschaft zu begründen wie mit unserem Kappler Kindergarten. Vielleicht wäre es in Naher Zukunft möglich ein jährliches Konzert mit den kleinen (Kindergarten) und den großen (MGV, Schule) Sängern und Sängerinnen zu veranstalten mit tierisch guten Lieder. Eine gemeinsame rAuftritt wäre doch möglich mit der Unterstützung vom Musikverein-Kapel. All das braucht viel Einsatz aber es bereitet uns Kapplern auch viel Freude.
—Satis Shroff

VOLKSTRAUERTAG: The Fallen, Dead & Lampedusa Refugees (Satis Shroff)

NOVEMBER is the month of remembering the fallen soldiers and the deceased. The British Prime Minister David Cameron was depicted in a press-photo laying a plastic flower among a sea of scarlet tulips. It was in memory of the 17 million dead of the World War I. That’s the reason why 888246 ceramic tulips were planted around the Tower of London, with a traditionally clad Beef-Eater sentinal in the centre of the tulip field, for every tulip stands for a dead soldier of the British Armed Forces and the Armies of the British Colony (Africans, Chinese, Indians and Nepalese Gurkhas).
Today we were gathered at the War Memorial in a hamlet called Kappel, which belongs to Freiburg, for it’s Volkstrauertag, the day the people of Germany think and pray for the sons of Kappel (and other hamlets, town and cities) who fell in the two Great Wars. The World War I was fought 100 years ago. A well-documented war in which people had no idea what they’d experience and how violent and gruesome it would be with mustard gas in the trenches. It wasn’t a cricket match and a good many didn’t return for Christmas to their homes.When the wind blew in the wrong direction the wrong armymen became the victims.
Erich Maria Remarques’ novel ‘Im Westen nichts Neues’ is still regarded as the most important anti-war novel of the World War I. A lecture has been organised by the Joseph-Wirth Stiftung together with Freiburg City, the Goethe Institute and the French Cultural Centre. The theme of the lecture is ‘Finally the Truth about the War.’ Remarques relates in his novel about his own war-experiences with reports of other wounded solciers depicting the nightmare of the battle in the trenches of the Western Front.
It must be mentioned that this book, which was filmed in 1930, was forbidden by the national Socialists in Germany after they came to power.
The people in Europe and all over the globalised world are well-informed about the wars in the Near East, in Syrian and Iraq, as well as in the Ukraine, where the pro-Russian separatists are being assisted by Putin’s Russia. Peace has become so fragile in a world where geopolitical and religious fanatism are showing their ugly heads. In the case of the countries attacked by the Islamic States, humanitarian help alone does not suffice, as our German President Gauck has often emphasised.
On the other side, the skirmishes between the Nato and Russia have been taking a alarming form of late. Nato military jets have carried out sorties against Russian warplanes over 100 times in 2014, three times as much as last year. There were 40 touch-and-go situations with the Russians which could have got out of control, according to the European Leadership Network based in London. The tension between Russia and the Nato has increased since the annexation of the Okranian Crimea by Moscow in March, 2014.
The Quiet Catastrophe: Meanwhile, the flow of refugees to Italy, on their way to friendly European countries is dramatically increasing. In his blog ‘Fortress Europe’ the Italian journalist Gabriele del Grande writes about people who have tried to reach Europe and are either missing or have died. Since 1988, 18,673 people have died in their endevour to gain freedom in Europe. 2011 was the saddest year when 2,352 humans from various nations died or were missing on their way to Lampedusa, which has become the outer border of the European Union.
Lampedusa in the Mediterranean Sea, has 5,000 inhabitants engaged in fishing and tourism. In the past years, an increasing number of refugees from Africa were stranded with the hope of acquiring asylum in Europe. They reached Lampedusa in rickety boats but in Lampedusa they were (and still are) greeted by a reception committee of 500 Italian policemen. The Carabinieri drive with blue-lights and bring the refugees to a crude, make-shift refugee camp.
The Schengener Agreement proclaims that a non-EU refugee can settle down in Europe only when he or she has a professional qualification which is deemed useful to an EU country or when he or she’s politically persecuted. But can you really prove a persecution? If your life is in danger, why, you run away if you can. A lot of East Germany did it during the socialism rule under Eric Honnecker. They were ingenuous and crossed the GDR-FRG border by secretly digging tunnels, using balloons and even small, self-made aircraft or swam across the border.
It might be noted that after the Holocaust in which genocide was committed by the National Socialists in Germany and its conquered territories, the United nations proclaimed in 1951 the Geneva Refugee Convention, according to which a refugee is defined as a person who is persecuted for his or her political beliefs, nationality, race or religion. Furthermore, in the Treaty of Dublin, which was signed by the EU countries, as well as non-EU states like Norway, Iceland and Switzerland, it was declared that a state has to consider the asylum application in which the refugee first enters or disembarks. This was a clever decision because only a low number of refugees come by plane to Paris (France) or Berlin (Germany). The consequence and the problem was thus ironically passed on to the Mediterranean stated like Spain, Italy and Greece.And thereby hangs a tale.
Moreover, Schengen and Dublin are known for their data-banks. The Schengen Information System (SIS) stores every data of persons who have been banned to travel in the Schengen signatory countries for the main reason that they came without visa. On the other hand, the databank Eurodac stores the fingerprints of all persons who have illegally entered the member states or who have crossed the outer border of an EU member state. This ensures that asylum can’t be sought and granted in other EU countries and to thwart any attempt to seek asylum in the country. Nevertheless, there are cases of people who try again and again via dangerous paths to gain asylum in the well-guarded Fortress Europe.
The European border is big biz for Frontex which makes risk-analyses and recommends the European states to send personel, logistics to places where the most refugees are to be found who attempt to get to EU countries. Border observation and control mean a great deal of money and involves observation cameras, infrared cameras and satellites. All these costs the European Union 110 million euros, and there’s even an European Day for Border Guards. The press isn’t invited to this exclusive event because it’s a pow-wow of border guards, security firms and the armaments industry.
This way, refugees become roofless, experience poverty and get provoked and attacked verbally, psychologically, and physically with the passage of time, especially whenever there’s an economic crisis in a good many European countries. In Germany the refugees have become the targets of soccer hooligans and the neonazis, a volatile combination, which needs to be curbed by Chancellor Merkel and her government.
Meanwhile, Green City Freiburg remembers the bombing of th Black Forest city during the First and the Second World Wars. Freiburg was bombed on November 27, 1944 and 3000 people died and a great part of the town was destroyed by Allied bombs (not to speak of the British dead caused by the Luftwaffe). ‘Dem Vergessen entreissen’ is the name of a book published jointly by Freiburg City, the Landesverein ‘Badische Heimat’ and Romberg verlag and deals with the victims of the memories of time-witnesses, who lived or still live, in Freiburg. A Freiburger historian named Carola Schark has gathered the names of many victims and written their stories of civil courage in the face of emergency. There’s also mention of Freiburg’s role during the Third Reich and about the protective measures around Freiburg’s cathedral during the war.
On November 9, 2014 Freiburg also remembered the destruction of its Jewish Synagogue by the Nazis. It is heartening to note that the Society for Christian-Jewish Partnership, as well as Freiburg City and other organisations held a memorial event at the place where the olde synagogue stood. You could even take part in a guided-tour with the title ‘The Jew.’ Additionally, a portrait of Gertrude Luckner painted by Miron Lvov-Brodsky was also revealed, followed by a talk on Freiburg’s Stolperstein by Ms. Marlies Meckel. If you come to this Schwarzwald metropolis you’ll come across a lot of bronze cobbled stones with names of the Jews engraved on them. These were the Jews who once lived in Freiburg but who were murdered in the concentration camps through the use of Zyklon B, a nerve-gas, used by the Nazis. A ghastly reminder of a tragic and sad chapter in the history of Germany and this city.

LEST WE FORGET (Satis Shroff, Freiburg)


LEST WE FORGET : Satis Shroff, Freiburg


Medieval Freiburg

/After the RAF bombing in World War II (Operation Tigerfish of the RAF) on 26th of November 1944)

dea17-sdc18505Modern Freiburg: the city was razed to the ground by the Lancaster bombers in World War II by the Royal Air Force (RAF). This is the Historischen Kaufhaus near the cathedral (which survived the bombardment).

Lest We Forget: One of the heaviest attacks on Freiburg im Breisgau  was carried out by the Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) with the military code-Operation Tigerfish on the evening of November 27, 1944. Around 2800 people died. The British Air Vice-Marshal Robert Saundby was fond of angling and used the   term ‘tigerfish’ for carpet bombings of German cities.


Modern Freiburg has become an open city with lots of migrants and international students. Freiburg’s Old Synagogue was destroyed by antisemitists (nazis) during the Third Reich. The Freiburger city-fathers want…

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It’s not easy to meet a shaman,
Unless you know someone who does.
Drove in a taxi to Tibet Road,
Then to the Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi Marg,
And ended in Chaangaon,
In the Gangtok suburb.

The bongthing I met,
Had grown old and sick.
He showed me his cardiac capsules and pills,
On the palm of his big hand.
He was grateful that his daughter looked after him.
He advised I should go to another,
A bongthing in the neighbourhood.

A Bhutia woman was selling sausages and sweets.
The fat sausages hung on strings from the ceiling.
Ah, it’s so good to hear Nepali being spoken,
Where ever you go in Sikkim.
I asked myself whether I was in Nepal?
Sikkim was once Nepali,
Now it belongs to West Bengal.
The Bengalis speak of ‘Amar shonar Bongal,
And in the same breath ‘Amar Konchonjonga!’
When they come to Darjeeling during the tourist season.

The Sikkimese Kanchanzonga is controlled from Delhi,
And enjoys privileges that Darjeeling can only dream of.
That was the price of democratization of the Kingdom of Sikkim.
The Chogyal of Sikkim and his love and hope
Were deprived of their Chogyaldom by a fierce Indira Gandhi,
Who wanted no nonsense in the sensitive Himalayas.

Some Gorkhalis from Gorkhaland dream of being united with Sikkim,
Rather than Kolkotta.

Like the Mun and Bongthing,
The Lepcha yukmuns (lamas) are facing extinction.
The religion of the Lepchas of Sikkim resembles
The pre-Buddhist faith of Tibet called Pon (Bon-religion).

Tibetan Buddhism dates back to the 8th century.
The architect of tantric Buddhism Padmasambhava
Is known to have sojourned in Sikkim,
On his way to Tibet.
Red hat Buddhists fled to Sikkim,
And speedily converted the Lepchas.
Most Buddhist Lepchas today practice animism.

The service of the muns are needed by the Lepchas
At birth, marriage and during death ceremonies.
The Lepcha language is called Rongring.
A German named Mainwaring went Native,
Lived with the Lepchas and studied their language.
He came to a conclusion that Lepcha
Was the oldest language extant.
Belief and faith is perpetuated by a chain of rituals.

‘Religion is belief in spiritual being’ said Taylor back in 1871.
Mathew Arnold came up with:
‘Religion is morality touched with emotion.’
If religion is a superstructure it is man
Who doesn’t realize the complexities of the cosmos.

The Lepchas believe in spiritual being,
A religion which believes in the continuation of the soul,
Even after the death of the carcass called the body.
You find the soul in trees, rocks, rivers, hills and animals.
Where there is good there is evil.
Evil spirits abound in rocks, lakes, mountains
Are constantly out to do mischief.
You are obliged to pray to them for they hurt us,
If we don’t.
These malevolent spirits are called Moong.

The Lepchas believe in one supreme God
And other Gods and Goddesses.
Some spirits are good (sukyo rum) and bad (aami-moong).
The evil spirit aami-moong gets ferocious
When someone trespasses a garden or orchard.
The evil spirit can paralyse someone.

The bongthing took his time for a séance.
His pretty wife organized the ritual objects.
A metal plate, red rice corns, flowers.
Then he began to pray and recite.
It was a long monologue,
With all the Gods and goddesses and Spirits,
Beckoning, greeting, pleading and cajoling them,
To heal the patient. The shaman’s monologue was carried out
In a falsetto voice at high speed,
Interspersed with hyperventilation
That involved one deep inspiration
And three forced expirations,
At the end of each recitation.

I greet you the Gods of the Five Treasures of the Snow,
I greet Shiva and Parvati who live in the Snow.
I greet Hanuman and Ganesh.
I greet the Gods from the snow capped peaks,
The spirits from the plunging waterfalls,
The spirits at the confluence of the Rangit and Teesta rivers.
I beckon the Gods and Spirits of the Lachenpas,
God Kirateswary and the twelve Jyotilingas
And Sai Baba.

Throughout the ritual the rice corns were moved in small clusters,
Gathered and dropped gently over the effigy of the main God in question,
Which was symbolised by a metallic vase,
Filled with flowers.
The shaman touched the patient’s head
With a crude broom made of leaves,
To bless the head and shoulders of the patient.
At the end of the séance the bongthing said:
‘There is nothing wrong with this patient.
A naag is running after him,
So I’ll have to do a puja.
Thereafter, he’ll get a charm with a mantra,
Which he’ll have to carry around his neck
For the rest of his life.
The patient thanked him profusely
And the patient and his sisters left for Gangtok
In their Bolero jeep.

Jyoti: light
Lingas: lingam, a well-polished sedimentary stone symbolizing Shiva.
bongthing: Lepcha shaman, traditional healer
Naag: serpent
Puja: ritual ceremony

* * *
NORTH SEA POEMS (Satis Shroff)

Sylt at Dawn (Satis Shroff)

You hear the waves
As they splash onto the shore.
You haven’t opened your eyes,
But you discern the cries of sea gulls,
As you slowly let the sunlight
Into your eyes.

Ah, the reassuring rays caress your face,
As you proceed to the balcony,
Stretch yourself
And let out cha-cha-cha,
Pa-pa-pa sounds between your teeth,
That you’ve learned
While singing in your choir.

A seagull with a fish in its beak
Flutters by.
All white and airborne,
Twinkling on a blue sky.
Out in the horizon,
A turquoise blue trawler chugs by.

Habitat for Wild (Satis Shroff)

The flora and fauna
have a hard time
In winter.

The white mantle
Of snow covers
The branches, buds and barks.

The owl loves winter
As it takes in all
Beings that move,
With its keen sight.

The woodpecker knows
Where the larvae and insects
Are hiding.

It’s Spring,
The landscape gardeners
Have chopped all the trees.
Now the spur is bare,
No more can I see
The deer that came
To greet me,
To chill in the peace
Of the undergrowth,
And partake
Of the wild elderberries.

Man needs new dwellings again,
Alas, the habitat shrinks some more.
When the deer eat vegetables
In Frau Sumser’s garden,
She cries,
‘Inform the official hunter.
They have to be shot.’

The deer are unwelcome guests
In her precious garden.
Now and then
A russet fox,
With a bushy tail,
Comes stealthily by.

Hope the hunter doesn’t get a hint.
His duty is to keep wild away,
From human domiciles.
If he doesn’t shoot,
He’s a bad hunter.
If he does,
He’s a bad guy.

And so the habitat dwindles,
For the wild.

* * *

Lost Friendships (Satis Shroff)

When old friends
Go asunder,
What remains
Are memories,
Of moments
In tranquillity.

When world tremble
And words shiver,
When lips vibrate
And nothing comes out
Of your larynx.

Just the uneasy
Breath from your nostrils.
The silence and solitude
That prevails,
When friendships
Have lost their meaning.

Become embarrassing.
And words become superfluous.
The old wounds bleed again,
Causing pain,
That come like sea waves,
Stab and go.

* * *

Time and Tide (Satis Shroff)

It’s early in the morning,
On a cold wintry day.
The horizon,
A crimson and orange haze.

The sea looks blue, far away,
But a muddy brown near you.
A solitary figure in a black overcoat,
Throat wrapped with a long muffler,
Stands like a black storch,
Staring at the sand below his feet.

Is he watching
The crustaceans,
Creeping on the shore?
Or is he thinking about a friendship?
Suddenly the frothy white waves
Drench his feet.
Too late.
Time and tide
Don’t wait for your thoughts.
He walks on,
With furtive glances
Thrown at the sea.

* * *

Sea Shells on the Shore (Satis Shroff)

How beautiful life is,
With you
And me.
Like little children,
Gathering lovely sedimentary stones,
Washed and chiseled by time,
And by the waves
In the North Sea.

Cockles and mussels in their unique
Facets and colours,
Caught between dark sea weeds,
Trapped between the man-made Buhnes,
Far from the dunes.

Alas, the fascinating life forms
That lived inside the carbonate
Mussels and shells,
Have long lost their homes;
Either eaten by the gulls
Or other winged fishers.

What remains are the crushed
e and shells
Of salt water mollusc,
When human boots tread on them.
And children and grown ups
Collect them.
Conversation pieces,
In afternoons with coffee, cakes and scones.
‘Look what I found on the shore!’

* * *

Spring on the Sea (Satis Shroff)

The birds twitter,
The sun shines.
The crocuses are everywhere,
Upon well-laid lawns.

You can smell Spring,
When it gets warm.
The wet air climbs up
And with it the scents
Of grass and spring flowers,
Dancing gaily in the North Sea wind.

You bend down often,
While walking along the beach,
To admire a strand snail or a dead sea horse,
Heart mussels, American sword mussels,
Oysters or sea urchins,
Shells with chunks and fissures.

The silver seagulls flying low,
With long wings spread,
Argus eyes foraging for food.
Geese searching for mollusc morsels
In the sandy dunes.

Now and then you see
The black oyster fishers,
White tailed bearing wing stripes,
Dive in the green-bluish water,
Swooping down like kamikazi planes,
With breathless precision.
Out they come from the sea
With fidgety fishes
Between their sharp, orange beaks.

They’re experienced
At cracking stubborn oysters,
Till the adductors give way.
The gulls known as Lachmöwe,
Search for edibles in garbage depots,
And even behind ploughing tractors.

* * *

The Canvas of Nature (Satis Shroff)

The colours on the canvas of Nature melt:
Blue skies,
Yellow fields,
The grey of the wintry waves,
When the sunlight is hidden,
Behind a veil of fog.

You’re overwhelmed
By your feelings,
Moments of euphoria,
Streams of consciousness
In the melancholic North Sea environs.

Intimate, gleeful moments,
When you see a big orange crab,
Stranded on the beach.
Entangled in dark sea weed,
Or Seetang as we call it in German.

The next big waves arrive,
With short intervals,
Sweep over the stones and sea shells on the beach.
The crab has disappeared,
Claimed by the sea.
What a delight.

A seagull lies on the shore,
Amid the flotsam and jetsam,
Blown by the last storm,
In List to the north of Sylt.

Another seagull circles the prey
From the sky,
Comes down and perches near the dead gull,
Picks and pulls its entrails.

To think that life began,
In the primordial ocean.
The relationship between humans
And the sea,
When man began to venture,
Towards the unknown.

Fired by the desire
To search for the unknown,
Limits of the peaks and seas,
With bigger and bigger boats and ships,
The ear of colonialism began.

But such voyages had to be backed
With money and things it can buy,
By rulers who smelt and wanted more
Riches and spices from the Indies,
West or East.

* * *

Tale of Destruction (Satis Shroff)

Tell the tale you clouds and gulls,
Despite the happiness and hope,
Spread by the sunlight
In early Spring.

Tell your tale of destruction
Carried by the gales and storms,
That bore names.

The wooden stairs and platforms
Lie now strewn upon the shore,
Blown to smithereens.
Plastic products everywhere,
Among a people that care.
A water desert,
That has been left behind,
As a warning,
Till the next big gale.

* * *

The Golden Sun (Satis Shroff)

Through the cloudy veil
Appears the golden sun,
Changing the silvery North Sea
To a golden and crimson horizon.
The waves adorned with rich tinge
Of yellow, orange blue and brown hues.

A fascinating play of colours,
Unfolding before your eyes.
Even the man-made Buhnen glow.
As you trudge on the beach sand,
To avoid wetting your shows,
By the ever coming frothy waves,
As they peter out near you.

You’re thankful for everything
That you’ve been given or attained
In lifespan.
Like a moment of revelation,
An epiphany,
Or when you’ve had a near-death experience.

Thankful for who and what you are,
Towards your parents, teachers and mentors,
Who’ve moved you towards your goal.
In this spectacular theatre called life.
Ah, when Heaven and Earth unite,
The air, land and water.

Chandrama the moon appears
Like a sickle in the vast blue sky,
Bidding farewell to Surya,
The Sun God,
Who has metamorphosed into Agni,
The fiery Goddess that swallows all,
With her purifying flames.
This is the revelation of an epiphany,
A spectacle bathed in scarlet,
Orange, yellow, greenish-blue light.

Ah, how must it have been,
When the world was created?

* * *

The North Sea (Satis Shroff)

The sea fascinates the artist in you,
It’s dramatic setting,
With its ceaseless waves.

Strong winds are pushing
Curly clouds in the vast sky,
The heavy waves roll,
In the bluish-grey seascape,
Emitting a long line of spray,
Above the white froth.

* * *

A Hymn to the Splendour (Satis Shroff)

The sea is calm and a fair moon
Stealthily appears in the sky,
Behind the northern clouds.

The red cliff of Kampen glimmers
Under the light of the dying sun.
And the waves take on yellow, orange, scarlet hues.
The tides still roar decently,
Cease, recede, only to come again.

A sweet Frisian nocturnal air,
Mingles with the smell of salt and fish,
Gets whipped up by the wind.

The golden light hangs,
Like a hymn to the splendour
Of this world.

* * *

The Ebb and Flow of Refugees (Satis Shroff)

The waves shimmer like silvery fishes,
The sand is bleached by the moonlight,
As you walk holding hands,
Bare-feet along the shore.

The waves have left pebbles,
Sea shells, sea weed and crustaceans,
Flotsam and jetsam,
On the sea shore.

And the ebb and flow of refugees,
In the distance of the Mediterranean Sea,
Who’ve struggled in their countries,
But were obliged to flee
From their human foes.

Taken to the open sea,
Which remains full of dangers,
Whimsical and unpredictable.
The longing for European shores,
Where milk and honey flow.

A forlorn hope that ends,
For many in the bottom of the sea.

* * *

Invisible Threshold (Satis Shroff)

Did I boast of fleeting things,
Of illusions in these earthly confines?
How vain we are,
When we don’t realise,
That our very existence
Is an earthly maya.

Intangible shadows we grasp with our hands,
When we know we have to leave
For our eternal home.
When we cross the invisible threshold,
We don’t need visas and passports,
Green and blue cards.
As we wander through the twilight
Sans bodies,
To be one with the cosmos.

* * *

A Magical Moment (Satis Shroff)

The North Sea grey-green in the from afar,
Gets frothy as the waves approach the shore.
The splendour of coloured clouds covering the immense sky.
It’s inspired fear to mortals,
It’s a revelation to those with hearts,
As seagulls glide over the horizon,
To land near the red cliff of Sylt.
A magical moment of forlornness,
Amid the beauty and vastness,
Of the sky and the waves.

As the glowing ball call the sun sinks,
It radiates sparkling hues,
Across the sky and waves.
The royal blue of the sky,
Is reflected upon the sea.
In the higher reaches,
It mellows to a brilliant yellow and orange,
As the fiery sun becomes scarlet.

* * *

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Zeitgeistlyrik: Hey, Mr. Modi (Satis Shroff)

HEY, MR. MODI (Satis Shroff)

Hey, Mr. Modi,
You drive me crazy,
With your bloody blockade.
In this game-we call it bagh chal,
The tiger loses and the goats win.
The cake is cut into seven pieces,
You hope to get a piece,
But there’s no peace – keep your fingers away,
From this Himalayan cake.
You already have Ladakh, Sikkim and Bhutan,
The phalanx of China is yours now,
Nepal is not your enclave.
It’s not Goa, not Pondicherry,
Mon Cher, PM Modi.

Refrain: Hey! Hey! Mr. Modi – bum bholay
Tameywa mata sabita tamewa
Tamewa vidhyam tamewa saranam

I know not what it means – that I am so sad,
This is the slaughter of kindred and friends,
Not in Kuruschetra – but in the foothills of Nepal.
The Hindu-card is useless in India & in Nepal.
We have to live in peace, despite the differences.
India and Nepal must be secular.
Let us live in peace, amid diversity,
For you are not Rudra of the Vedas.

Refrain: Hey! Hey! Mr. Modi – bum bholay
Tameywa mata sabita tamewa
Tamewa vidhyam tamewa saranam

Don’t you have a heart?
Why can’t you find a solution?
Why can’t you admit you made a mistake?
Nobody’s perfect, Mr. Modi.
The BJP will not forgive you,
But the people of the Himalayas will.
Rajiv blundered with Trade & Transit,
He made a fool of himself in Ravana’s land.
And Modi? Diplomatic incapability.
Does Mr. Modi have an opinion of his own?

Refrain: Hey! Hey! Mr. Modi – bum bholay
Tameywa mata sabita tamewa
Tamewa vidhyam tamewa saranam

Mr. Modi – where are you going?
You’ll never find your peace,
Neither in this world, nor in the next.
Ram-rajya is a thing of the past,
There’s globalization in Bangalore.
Are you the incarnation of Kal Bhairava?
You bring the darkness, like in the Rig Veda—not light.
Coldness, not warmth

Refrain: Hey! Hey! Mr. Modi – bum bholay
Tameywa mata sabita tamewa
Tamewa vidhyam tamewa saranam

Mr.Modi how many Nepali children
Have you starved today?
When the light goes out,
You’ll repent and bribe the Gods,
But that won’t help.
Unless you make amends – right now.
Not all the vedic mantras & hymns you recite
Mornings, noon and night – have enlightened you.

Refrain: Hey! Hey! Mr. Modi – bum bholay
Tameywa mata sabita tamewa
Tamewa vidhyam tamewa saranam