Old age pounces
Out of the blue
Like a cat
Waiting in ambush
As you plod on your absent-minded way
From decade to decade
Unaware of the sudden predator
That downs you
With the swipe of a vicious paw
Full of claws.
If you had only
The dragon beneath the carpet
Beneath the floorboards
Beneath the foundations
Of the house
Was tamed into submission
Docile as a dormouse
By a new name
Harnessed to our service
The Romans called him
And his cubs
But the dragon
Is still a dragon
Below the basement
In the unplumbed
Bowels of the
Do not believe your dragon
Until you’ve been
Inside his den.
A secret door,
leading into the rocky cliff face –
to enter and explore.
What if behind that door,
in the gloomy depths
of the mountain’s roots,
and emerged to see
the skeleton trees
dancing with golden sunlit clouds?
This was the sky this afternoon at sunset.
A happy and blessed New Year to you all
as you dance with the trees and the clouds.
The longest darkest night
Bereft of moon or stars
Morning muffled grey.
Soft snow that drifted
Light as down
And lay like crisp meringue
In whipped cream
Now starts to thaw
Weeping into the sodden soil.
This pallid day though
Dull and drear
Has one thing in its favour:
It will stay
Minutes longer light
I have this little poem, written long ago, on my Cats and Catterel page – a typical example of my catterel, I think. It’s a tribute to our dear departed Miss Sophie:
Miss Sophie, grande dame par excellence,
Has an air of distinction and elegance,
As she daintily poses her purposeful toes
Neatly and carefully under her nose.
A toss of the head, a disdainful stare,
If you haven’t brought supper, a dismissive glare;
She sits on the staircase and looks through the rails
Listening to gossip and storing up tales.
Oh, how could you think that she’s Little Miss Snooty?
A cat white and ginger, a soft-hearted beauty,
Never was any so misunderstood
As Sophie, who really is gentle and good.
Just look how she dotes on the people who love her;
Remember, you can’t judge a book by its cover.
I put my hand in yours.
Please hold it tight.
For my own grasp may weaken as I tire
And stumble on this narrow, stony way,
But though I slip and trip, I will not fall
If you will hold my hand.
Please hold my hand
And guide me through the fog
As well as through the bright and sunny days
When I’m thinking I can manage on my own.
Please hold it tight.
I put my hand in yours
And leave it there.
I trust in you.
Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! He chortled in his joy …
Way back in 2011, when I first started blogging, a photo I had taken of a wall in a vineyard reminded me of a translation I’d made of a poem by Jörg Zink, and I posted it here. At the time, I didn’t remember where I’d read the original German poem, and was frustrated by the fact that without it, it was difficult to polish my English version. Over the last few years I’ve browsed the Internet occasionally but never found the German poem. However, last week I suddenly discovered that at the age of 90+ Jörg Zink had launched a website , and there was actually a “Contact” button. So on the off-chance I sent an e-mail asking where I could find the elusive poem.
To my delight, I received a reply the following morning from the author’s son, telling me that it was in a collection called “Unter weitem Himmel”. (Hurrah!) Sadly, this was now out of print (Boo-hoo!). However, it might be available second-hand (Hurrah!). Yes, there it is on Amazon, at the amazing price of 0.01 €. (Hip-hip-hip Hurrah!)
Of course, there’s postage to pay, but I don’t think I’ve ever paid so little for such a longed-for book. At last I can hone my version in the light of the original, and – Callooh! Callay! – there’s a wealth of gold for me to mine here, as I shall now endeavour to render the rest of the anthology into English. It will make a pleasant change from wrestling with Nelly Sachs’ tortuous syntax and excruciating themes, and I’m looking forward to this new challenge I have set myself.