Book-a-Day-Challenge – Day 4

Todays recommendation is Rilke’s „Letters to a young poet“ one of the most beautiful and important text one can read. Only a few years ago I discovered these lines:

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and
try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and
like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue.
Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you
because you would not be able to live them.
And the point is, to live everything.
Live the questions now.
Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it,
live along some distant day into the answer.”

I thought first they are a poem, but they are lines out of a letter that Rilke wrote in 1904 in his correspondence with a 19-year-old cadet and budding poet named Franz Xaver Kappus. I discovered them on Birgit’s blog „Sätze und Schätze“ and it started a Rilke wildfire in me ; )

I got a friend of mine, the wonderful calligraph artist Sandra from „The Art of confusion„, to design a special Rilke star for me and I had to buy a book of his poetry of course. It’s beautiful, right?

 

 

Do yourself a favour and dig into some Rilke today. It’s his birthday and how better to celebrate the life of this wonderful sensitive artist then by reading some of his poems.

Maybe you would like to compliment your Rilke wildfire with some of the soothing poems by Sylvia Plath in her collection „Crossing the water“/Übers Wasser„.

I would love to know your favorite poem – will you leave it here for me? German or English both is fine 🙂

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Day 10 – Book of Poems

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„Seit sie dichtet, haben sie viele Menschen, die sie nie gesehen haben, lieb: Mascha Kaléko. Stimmt, ich auch.

Die Lyrikerin Mascha Kaléko wurde als Tochter eines russischen Vaters und einer österreichischen Mutter geboren. Nach Schul- und Studienjahren in Berlin wurde sie 1930 für die „Vossische Zeitung“ entdeckt. Hier und im „Berliner Tageblatt“ erschienen jahrelang ihre Gedichte, die sie rasch zu einer literarischen Berühmtheit machten, über die Grenzen der Stadt Berlins hinaus. Hermann Hesse, Thomas Mann, Alfred Polgar rühmten die Verse dieser jungen Großstadtdichterin, die Erich Kästners wachen Sarkasmus besaß, ihn aber in zärtlich-weibliche Rhythmen kleidete, in Strophen, die ihren Charme einer eigentümlichen Mischung von Melancholie und Witz, Aktualität und Musik, romantischer Ironie und politischer Schärfe verdankten.

Seit 1938 lebte die Dichterin als amerikanische Staatsbürgerin in New York, sie starb nach jahrelangem Aufenthalt in Jerusalem 1975 in Zürich.

(Info zur Autorin aus dem obigen Rowohlt Band)

Welches Gedicht könnte zu meiner denglischen „Book-a-Day Challenge“ besser passen als die Momentaufnahme eines Zeitgenossen.

Wenn unsereins se lengvitsch spricht,
So geht er wie auf Eiern.
Der Satzbau wackelt, und die grammar hinkt,
Und wenn ihm etwa ein ti-ehtsch gelingt,
Das ist ein Grund zum Feiern.

Nicht so der Herr, den ich im Auge habe,
Oder besser gesagt. uffm Kieker
Dem ist alles Emigrantische fremd.
Er ist der geborene Inglisch-Spieker.
Der Forrenlengvitsch-Göttin Auserkorner.
Kommt es drauf an, so spricht der Mann
Selbst Esperanto wie ein Eingeborener.

Befreit vom Zwang, gebüldet zu parlieren,
Im engen Kreis, wo man einander kennt,
Fährt diese Ausgeburt von Sprachtalent
Des „Königs Englisch“ hoch zu Roß spazieren,
In seinem Oxford-(second hand) Akzent.

Se pörfekt Lord. – Ich kenn ich noch aus Sachsen.
Da sprach er auch des „Geenigs“ ABC.
Wie war das heimatliche weiche B
In Leibzich ihm zurzeit ans Herz gewachsen!
Den Untertanenstolz aus königstreuen Tagen
Hat er auf achtundvierzig Staaten übertragen.

Der kroch in Preußen schon auf allen vieren.
Hier sinds die angelsächsischen Manieren.

Wer mit den Wölfen heult, der heult mit allen Tieren.

Welches Poetry-Buch hättet ihr ausgewählt?

Day 20 Book-a-Day Challenge: Book of Poems

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Today is another piece from the the popular series of „Findings of a paper trash diver“. This wonderful book I found a few years ago in the paper trash behind the house together with a few dozen others really interesting books mainly from the 60s and 70s and all in English.

I’m sure it would have been very interesting to have a chat with the owner of all these books but somehow I had the feeling she/he might have passed away and somebody had thrown out all his books. Sad.

Anyhow, this book is a wonderful treasure box full of popular well-known poems and some more rare findings. It’s fun opening it at random, finding your poem of the day.

This is what I’m going to do right now and post your the random poem for today. Enjoy 🙂

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What is your favorite book of Poems ?

Robert Burns Night

Burns by Iain McIntosh

Foto: Ian McIntosh

Yes Ladies and Gentlemen, tonight is the Night. It’s Burns Night and I wonder why I haven’t relived the tradition of Burns Night for so long. When I lived in Scotland there was no way to not celebrate Burns Night and maybe my months of „Celebrating Alcohol by not drinking it“ made me think about it again.

Traditionally the Burns Night is celebrated on January 25th not just in Scotland but wherever there was a high population of Scottish Migrants. You meet for supper and have Haggis with Neeps and Tatties (Kartoffeln und Steckrüben) and wash that down with generous amounts of Whisky.

Burns is probably best known outside of Scotland for his song „Auld Lang Syne„.

My favourite Burns Night happened in Dundee actually, one of the most unattractive areas of Scotland also called the armpit of Scotland. Working for United Distillers in Perth served me with a constant supply of alcohol which might have helped expanding my circle of friends. Dundee has a university and I had met some Spanish guys there who I was giving English lessons to. Their accent was terrible, they could hardly be understood for the life of it. Beard, Bird, Birth – it all sounded the same. So once a week I would take the bus from Perth to Dundee and we worked on their pronunciation and they were pretty unsuccessfully trying to install some Economics into my brain. We usually ended the tuition with wonderful Spanish food and complicated European art movies.

On this Burns Night my backpack was full with little Whisky Bottles, that my boss allowed me to take. They were „old stock“ meaning the labels were damaged or something and could not be used any more. I remember it was a year of heavy snow for Scotland, I stumbled through the snowy armpit and was welcomed by my Spaniards with the Traditional Haggis Supper. I love Haggis. When you forget what it is made of it’s totally fine. I had prepared a Burns Poem for each of them and we were in the middle of the merry Haggis&Whisky Supper when suddenly the electricity went out.

Not for the first time nobody had remembered to get coins for the coin operated meter so we had plenty of candles. It was such a romantic night somehow. Snowing outside, inside we were sitting in the kitchen in candlelight drinking gallons of Whisky reciting Burns poems in terrible Scots and had a great time.

A Red, Red Rose

Unfortunately no great time the next morning. Of course I had missed the last bus, had cuddled up on the Sofa in the kitchen with a blanket. No electricity also meant no heating and I had frozen stiff during the night. And then the walk of shame to work the next day but hey it was worth it and Scottish Employers especially in the Alcohol business are pretty understanding towards young girls late and hangover for work. I mean it was Burns Night after all 😉

So – the plan is: Next Year I will be organizing a Burns Night with my friends. Because of my no alcohol in January Resolution no Burns Dinner tonight but next year.

I make sure there will be Poems, Haggis, candles, no heating, hopefully some snow and definitely gallons of Whisky. Will you join ? 🙂

slàinte mhath

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Breithlá Sona William Butler Yeats

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In München feiert man WB Yeats Geburtstag mit strahlendem Sonnenschein und einer leckeren Mass, wobei natürlich Nieselregen und Guinness im Pub irgendwie passender gewesen wäre.

Heute vor 150 Jahren wurde der 1923 mit dem Nobelpreis für Literatur ausgezeichnete Dichter in Dublin geboren. Yeats war als junger Mann ein ziemlicher Revolutionär, einer der treibenden Kräfte der irischen Literaturszene und Mitbegründer des Nationaltheaters (Abbey Theatre).

Vor vielen Jahren war ich für einen mehrwöchigen Sprachkurs in Monkstown, einem Vorort von Dublin. In der Bluefeather School of English wurde nicht nur ausgiebigst Sprachunterricht gegeben, sondern wir wurden in irischer Literatur quasi mariniert. Der Sohn des Nobelpreisträgers Seamus Heaney unterrichtete an der Schule und niemals im Leben habe ich mich ausgiebiger mit Poesie beschäftigt, als zu dieser Zeit. Und mit Gin&Tonic, den mir die damals über 90-jährige Mutter des Schuldirektors im Pub ausgegeben hat und dann hat sie „Innisfree“ vorgetragen:

The Lake of Innisfree

I will arise and go no, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

Hat mich sehr beeindruckt damals, diese alte Dame mit den Blumenkohlhaaren, die Unmengen an G&T vertragen konnte und dann problemlos ellenlange Gedichte vortragen konnte. Neben „Innisfree“ ist mir noch dieses in Erinnerung geblieben:

When You Are Old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crow of stars.

Breithlá Sona Mr Yeats. Ich hoffe, Sie feiern mit einem Gläschen Whisky vielleicht mit der wunderbaren alten Dame zusammen, die ihre Gedichte so geliebt hat. Und geben Sie ihr einen G&T aus, bloß kein Guinness.

Ist schon viel zu lange her, dass ich in Dublin war, höchste Zeit wieder einmal hinzufahren. Und diesen wunderbaren Gedichtband kann ich nur jedem ans Herz legen, nicht nur eine gelungene Auswahl, er sieht auch richtig klasse aus.

Ich poste hier mal noch eine Aufnahme von Yeats – er hatte eine sehr ungewöhnliche Art seine Gedichte vorzulesen, etwas gewöhnungsbedürftig, aber dann wirklich klasse:

Words of Advice – Be critical. Be kind. Tread softly.

562349_10151342236425823_1491052478_nHAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

– W. B. Yeats –

It’s been too long since I’ve read Yeats. Was reminded of this poem today in a movie. So beautiful and so true. It’s far too easy to destroy somebodies dream…

So – be critical and kind (and read more poetry)