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Männergesangsverein Freiburg-Kappel

  1. Tenor: Wolfgang Busse, Adolf Fressle, Heinz Hamburger, Rainer Keller
  2. Tenor: Walter Fuß, Richard Linder, Satis Shroff, Klaus Sütterle, Herbert Tombreul
  1. Bass: Frank Keller, Franz Lachmann, Andreas Schiessle, Franz Wißler, Ulrich Mauer
  2. Bass: Werner Heise, Wolfgang Keller, Dirk Schneider, Michael Stotz.

* * *

Charmant bleib immer,

so wie du bist,

ganz gleich, wie alles um dich ist.

Du bist ein guter Mensch,

Hast immer ein offenes Herz,

Darum lieben wir dich so.

(Kurt & Waltraut, Freiburg)

* * *

Schön, dass es dich gibt

Geburtstag

Ist wie eine kleine Pause.

Du stehst da und staunst:

Einen Tag lang hält das Leben den Atem an

Und sagt:

Schön, dass es dich gibt (zitat von: Thomas Knodel)

(Gabi K., Tuttlingen)

* * *

Anita Tombreul, Creative Center House of Art, Ziegelmattenstrasse 14, Freiburg-Kappel

Lieber Satish,

zu Deinem Wiegenfest wollen wir Dir mit einem kreativen Wochenplan und der Farbe Rot eine kleine Freude machen.

Sonntag,

gehört der Farbe weiss,

Montag,

gehört der farbe Blau,

sie führt auf den Weg der inneren Freiheit.

Dienstag,

gehört der Farbe Rot,

sie führt auf dem Weg der tatkraft.

Mittwoch,

gehört der Farbe Gelb,

sie führt auf den Weg der geistigen Klarheit.

Donnerstag,

gehört der Farbe Orange,

sie führt auf den Weg des Reichtums.

Freitag,

gehört der Farbe Grün,

sie führt auf den Weg der Freundschaft.

Samstag,

gehört der Farbe Violett,

sie führt auf den Weg der Innenschau und

Grenzüberschreitung.(Anon)

Wir wünschen Dir Gesundheit, Lebensfreude, viel Liebe und vor allem Spaß bei den nächsten Schritten auf Deinem Lebensweg in Glück.

(Anita & Herbert, Ziegelmatten, Freiburg)

* * *

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!

(The original article in English was published in The American Chronicle, a syndicate of 21 newspapers in the USA. Translation by my friend: Klaus Sütterle, Männergesangsverein Freiburg-Kappel). If you want to read more articles & poems by the author please yahoo or google for: satis shroff).

About the Author: 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, where he is a Lehrbeauftragter for Creative Writing at the ZfS Uni Freiburg). Satis Shroff was awarded the German Academic Exchange Prize.

* * *

Satis Shroff with Swiss geologist Toni Hagen at a Freiburger pub …

– [ Diese Seite übersetzen ]

Satis Shroff with Swiss geologist Toni Hagen at a Freiburger pub.
www.flickr.com/photos/28329074@N02/2645811732/

* * *

Zeitgeistlyrik: Literature Nobel Prize Herta Müller 2009:

UPROOTED & BANISHED (Satis Shroff)

A Banat Swabian poetess

Was born in 1953

In a hamlet called Nitzkydorf,

Which lies in Romania.

She came to Berlin in 1987.

Wrote verses to mete out justice

To the fate of German Romanians,

Who were departed to work camps.

The other way round.

Jews died in concentration camps,

80,000 ethnic Germans from Romania,

Uprooted and banished,

Suffered hunger and death

In the Ukranian camps.

Survival strategies and dreams

At the end of the Second World War.

If Bertold Brecht’s Furcht und Elend

Im Dritten Reich

Told us about the Nazi terror,

Hertha’s verses and prose reveal

The sadness and angst of her lost people.

In a small hamlet in Banat,

Small Herta tells us

In her hard, Banat-German accent,

How hostile her home environment was.

She speaks of her doubts and fears,

For it is plain to see:

She’s made of another genetic material

That made her vulnerable to her environs,

Like underdogs everywhere in this world.

How unbearable for Romanians,

The Banat-Germans had their own

Culture, tradition

And way of life.

But pray, don’t ethnic Germans say

The same things about migrants

Eking out a living here?

Hertha speaks a poetic language

Of a gone but not lost past,

Of the misery, angst and terror

Felt by her people.

Her books emphasise

The cruel, inhuman face of communism,

Under Nicolae Ceausescu.

A chronist walking

Along the thin line,

Between poetry and terror,

Where every line is a cry

Against injustice

With pregnant titles:

The Fox Was even Then a Hunter (1992),

Herztier (1994),

In the Hair-knots Lives a Lady,

The King (Ceausescu) Bows and Kills (2000)

The Pale Gentleman and the Mocca Cups (2005).

Herta said:

‘My innermost desire is to write

I can live with it.’

Her literary style is precise,

Laconic and matter-of-fact.

Despite her publications,

Ms. Müller was a nobody.

Without her notes on Oskar Pastiors

She couldn’t have penned ‘Atemschaukel.’

It became more than a swing of breath.

She was shadowed, interrogated and persecuted.

Günter Grass said:

‘I’m very satisfied with the Literature Prize

For Herta from Stockholm.’

Karasek quipped:

‘My mantra is always for Philip Roth,’

And sounded like: ‘My Heart Belongs to Daddy.’

Germany’s literary pope

Marcel Reich-Ranicki:

‘I plead for Roth and wish to say

No more.’

Literary critics form the USA commented:

‘We suggest Philip Roth, Thomas Pynchon,

Joyce Carol Oates

Or Bob Dylan.’

The Swedish Academy gave the prize

For the fourteenth time

To Germany.

Poor Romania.

* * *


(Sketch © 2007 Satis Shroff, Freiburg)

THE AGONY OF WAR (Satis Shroff)

Once upon a time there was a seventeen year old boy

Who lived in the Polish city of Danzig.

He was ordered to join the Waffen-SS,

Hitler’s elite division.

Oh, what an honour for a seventeen year old,

Almost a privilege to join the Waffen-SS.

The boy said, “Wir wurden von früh bis spät

Geschliffen und sollten

Zur Sau gemacht werden.”

A Russian grenade shrapnel brought his role

In the war to an abrupt end.

That was on April 20, 1945.

In the same evening,

He was brought to Meissen,

Where he came to know about his Vaterland’s defeat.

The war was lost long ago.

He realised how an ordinary soldier

Became helpless after being used as a tool in the war,

Following orders that didn’t demand heroism

In the brutal reality of war.

It was a streak of luck,

And his inability to ride a bicycle,

That saved his skin

At the Russian-held village of Niederlausitz.

His comrades rode the bicycle,

And he was obliged to give them fire-support

With a maschine-gun.

His seven comrades and the officer

Were slain by the Russians.

The only survivor was a boy

Of seventeen.

He abandoned his light maschine-gun,

And left the house of the bicycle-seller,

Through the backyard garden

With its creaky gate.

What were the chances in the days of the Third Reich

For a 17 year old boy named Günter Grass

To understand the world?

The BBC was a feindliche radio,

And Goebbels’ propaganda maschinery

Was in full swing.

There was no time to reflect in those days.

Fürcht und Elend im Dritten Reich,

Wrote Bertold Brecht later.

Why did he wait till he was almost eighty?

Why did he torment his soul all these years?

Why didn’t he tell the bitter truth,

About his tragi-comical role in the war

With the Waffen-SS?

He was a Hitlerjunge,

A young Nazi.

Faithful till the end.

A boy who was seduced by the Waffen-SS.

His excuse:

„Ich habe mich verführen lassen.“

The reality of the war brought

Endless death and suffering.

He felt the fear in his bones,

His eyes were opened at last.

Günter Grass is a figure,

You think you know well.

Yet he’s aloof

And you hardly know him,

This literary titan.

He breathes literature

And political engagement.

In his new book:

Beim Häuten der Zwiebeln

He confides he has lived from page to page,

And from book to book.

Is he a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?

Doctor Faustus and Mephistopheles,

In the same breast?

Grass belongs to us,

For he has spent the time with us.

It was his personal weakness

Not to tell earlier.

He’s a playwright, director and actor

Of his own creativeness,

And tells his own tale.

His characters Oskar and Mahlke weren’t holy Joes.

It was his way of indirectly showing

What went inside him.

Ach, his true confession took time.

It was like peeling an onion with tears,

One layer after the other.

Better late than never.

* * *

On Her Majesty’s Lyrical Service:

Poet Laureate (Satis Shrof)

Wanted:

A person who writes in lyrical form,

Composes verses for occasions,

Good stanzas in favour of kings and queens,

Princes and Princesses,

For the price of 5000 Sterling pounds

And, of course, 650 bottles

Of Sherry,

To inspire the poet.

And the title of Poet Laureate.

A court poet is a smith of verses,

Not a bass-guitarist

Of the royal band

Based in Buckingham.

Beginners need not apply.

Candidates should be

A professor of English Literature.

The last Poet Laureate penned

Verses in praise of Edward

And his beautiful Sophie,

A hundred years of the Queen Mother

And the latter’s sad demise.

The Queen’s diamond wedding anniversary,

A rap-rhyme for rosy-cheeked Prince William,

When he turned twenty-one.

Yeah! ‘Better stand back

Here’s a age attack.’

He even congratulated Charles and Camilla

On their belated marriage.

The Prince was overwhelmed

When he heard Motion’s

‘Spring Wedding.’

But all verses weren’t,

As we say in Germany:

Friede, Freude, Eierkuchen.

Motion’s ‘Cost of Life’ on Paddington,

Causa belli’ emphasised

Elections, money, empire,

Oil and Dad.

Themes and lyrics that bother us,

Day in and day out.

The rulers and battles won are expected

To be praised to Heaven,

Like Master Henry,

Ben Jonson et al have done

In 1668 John Dryden was sacked

Not for his bad verses,

But for changing his confession.

Sir Walter Raleigh and William Morris

Didn’t relinquish their freedom

And said politely: No thank you, Ma’am.

And with it a keg of wine

From the Canary Isles,

That could have been theirs.

Free literary productivity and court-poetry

Are strange bedfellows indeed.

In these times of gender-studies,l

Women’s quotes and emancipation,

It wouldn’t be far-fetched

If Carol Ann Duffy,

A Scottish poetess,

Became the next Poetess Laureate.

What a lass!

She’s openly gay,

Didn’t you say?

Has fire anyway.

What a thankless job:

A royal lyrical whisperer,

Striving for public relations

In poetry prize panels,

In the name of poetry.

A thankless job:

Take it

Or leave it.

* * *

GORDON STILL WALKING 2009 (Satis Shroff, Freiburg)

‘I will not walk away,’

Said PM Gordon Brown.

His ministers had walked out on him.

Disgusted with his inner circle

Of soccer-fans

And other fads.

Manchester is United,

Labour isn’t.

Was he walking by a rule?

Mr. Brown ruled with two circles:

His soccer-crazy inner circle

With Ed Balls,

An outer one with grey mice.

He was walking down a lonely road,

It seemed.

When he walked in,

He walked into Blairites.

Gordon was walking into his political savings.

Could he steer Britain’s economy

Out of the big recession?

He walked his legs off,

Pleading to Labourites to stay.

It wasn’t a walk over

For Brown’s pride,

When ministers refuse to walk

Together with him,

After the debacle at the Euro polls.

He racked his brains,

Came up with a belated inquiry

Into the Iraq war,

To save his skin.

In a last bid he reshuffled

His cabinet cards:

Darling, Miliband and Balls

Held their jobs.

Gordon promoted:

Johnson, Jowell, Mandelson,

Cooper, Burham, Ham.

Eh, was it worth to promote Ainsworth?

A soap-opera supper,

Where guests prefer

To sit and walk out at will.

Gordon is certainly walking on air.

It’s become more a walk

On a razor’s edge.

If this silly Labour circus goes on

In Downing No. 10,

He is most likely to walk

On all fours.

The battle is lost,

Er steht auf verlorene Posten.

The rats have sprung overboard.

Councils like Lancashire, Derbyshire,

Stafford, Nottinghamshire

Have become Tory counties.

Labour lost 250,

Conservatives gained 217 seats.

Captain Brown remains adamant,

And runs his ship.

I’m afraid it’s not Trafalgar.

Perhaps Cap’n Bleigh?

He clutches his crutches

And mutters:

‘I will not walk away.’

Brown has a strategy:

He hopes to limp towards autumn,

Defying the wind against him.

Can he bend it like Beckham?

Captain Brown, still at the helm,

Insists: ‘I will not waver,

Or walk away.’

Britain doesn’t know:

Whether to be awed

Or amused.

And thereby hangs

A tale.

Drinking Darjeeling Tea in England 2008 (Satis Shroff, Freiburg)

Beware the Ides of March

Manchester will be a milestone

In Gordon Brown’s polit-life.

Your economic ‘competence’

Has become an Achilles heel,

Your weak point.

The people’s party of New Labour

Wants to get rid of you.

These are the rumours

Heard in the trendy streets of London.

Twelve months ago Gordon Brown

Was the Messiah of Brit politics,

After Blair’s disastrous role in the Labour.

Alas, the new Messiah

Lost his face,

Within a short time.

His weakness: decision making.

England is nervous, fidgety,

For Labour fears a possible loss,

Of its 353 Under House seats.

Above the English cabinet

Looms a Damocles sword.

Will Labour watch,

Drink Darjeeling,

Till a debacle develops?

Labour is in a dilemma.

Hush, help is near.

David Miliband is going vitriolic.

A silly season indeed,

Drinking Darjeeling tea in England.

About the Author:

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 at the ZfS Uni Freiburg). Satis Shroff was awarded the German Academic Exchange Prize.

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.

Copyright © 2009, Satis Shroff. You may republish this article online provided you keep the byline, the author’s note, and the active hyperlinks.

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Goethe: A Writer of the First Rank (Satis Shroff, Freiburg)

 

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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