Dienstag, 14. November 2017

Notizen zur Poetik (3)

Noch mehr Notizen zu (meist absichtlich komischen) Gedichten, Fragmente, aufgegebene Aufsätze, Listen, Gedichte übers Dichten usw.

//

Klaus Cäsar Zehrer ist dank Das Genie, einem Blauwal von Roman, nun medial endlich so omnipräsent, wie er es schon lange zuvor mit seinem lyrischen und theoretischen Werk hätte sein sollen: Er gab mit Robert Gernhardt die »Hell und schnell«-Anthologie und die gleichlautende Reihe bei S. Fischer heraus, er verfasste eine Dissertation über die Dialektik der Satire, er klärte über die Affinität der Neuen Frankfurter Schule zum Meer auf, und er schrieb auch selbst komische Gedichte, von denen bisher nur die für Kinder veröffentlicht wurden.
Andererseits: Was heißt hier »nur«, denn da wäre nämlich etwa das von F. W. Bernstein illustrierte veritable Versepos Knut Großmut der Raubtierbändiger, das (und der) es leicht mit diversen komisch gemeinten Gedichtbänden anderer Autoren für Erwachsene aufnehmen kann. In mehrheitlich kreuzgereimten Strophen breitet Zehrer eine »Zirkusgeschichte für Kinder mit starken Nerven« aus, in der der wahnsinnige Knut Großmut erst einen investigativen Reporter (der interessanterweise wie Peter Rühmkorf aussieht) und alsbald sämtliche Menschen und Tiere des »Zirkus Schienbein« seinen Großkatzen zum Abendbrot serviert. Das wirft gewisse Probleme auf:
»Es kann so ein Betrieb nun mal
nicht richtig funktionieren,
steckt das gesamte Personal
im Bauch von wilden Tieren.«

Ein verlustreiches Happy End gibt es natürlich trotzdem, und wenn der Diogenes Verlag jetzt auch noch Zehrers gesammelte Reime unter die Leute bringen könnte, wäre die Welt um eine weitere glückliche Fügung reicher.

//

Die englische Sprache ist zwar wesentlich reimfreundlicher als die deutsche, hält aber keinesfalls plenty Reime auf twenty bereit, was sich am eindrücklichsten wohl am Ende des 1. Aktes von Gilbert & Sullivans komischer Feenoper »Iolanthe« zeigt: Der junge Hirte Strephon wird von seiner Verlobten Phyllis und Mitgliedern des House of Peers, die sich wiederum nach Phyllis verzehren, dabei beobachtet, wie er von seiner Mutter getröstet wird. Weil diese jedoch eine Fee ist und Feen bekanntlich nicht altern, wird die Szenerie von den Zuschauern gründlich falsch eingeschätzt. Strephon versucht noch abzuwiegeln (»This lady's my mother!«), doch zu spät, die Politiker glauben ihm nicht und singen also:
»This gentleman is seen,
With a maid of seventeen,
A-taking of his dolce far niente;
And wonders he'd achieve,
For he asks us to believe
She's his mother — and he's nearly five-and-twenty!

Recollect yourself, I pray,
And be careful what you say —
As the ancient Romans said, festina lente.
For I really do not see
How so young a girl could be
The mother of a man of five-and-twenty.«
Die Fremdwortreime muten schon hier eigenartig an, im finalen Song des Aktes lässt Gilbert die Sänger (Peers) und Sängerinnen (Fairies) dann noch deutlicher auf den komischen Gehalt nicht-englischer Reimworte hinweisen:
Peers:
»Your powers we dauntlessly pooh-pooh:
A dire revenge will fall on you.
If you besiege
Our high prestige —«

Fairies:
»(The word »prestige« is French,
The word »prestige« is French).«

Peers:
»Your powers we dauntlessly pooh-pooh:
A dire revenge will fall on you.
Young Strephon is the kind of lout
We do not care a fig about!
We cannot say
What evils may
Result in consequence!
Our lordly style
You shall not quench
With base canaille

Fairies:
»(That word is French.)«

Peers:
»Distinction ebbs
Before a herd
Of vulgar plebs

Fairies:
»(A Latin word.)«

Peers:
»'Twould fill with joy,
And madness stark
The oι πoλλoί

Fairies:
»(A Greek remark.)«

Peers:
»One Latin word, one Greek remark,
And one that's French.«
Apropos William Schwenck Gilbert und Fremdwortreime: In »The Mountebanks«, einer seiner Opern, die er ohne den kongenialen Arthur Sullivan schrieb, finden sich diese zeitlos schönen Verse:
»Those 'days of old'
     How mad were we
          To banish!
 Thy love was told,
     Querido mi,
           In Spanish
 And timid I,
     A-flush with shame
          Elysian,
 Could only sigh,
     Dieu, comme je t'aime?
          (Parisian.)
 No matter, e'en
     Hadst thou been coined
          A Merman,
 Thou wouldst have been
     Mein lieber freund
          (That's German.)
 Thy face, a-blaze
     With loving pats,
          Felt tinglish,
 For in those days
     I loved thee— that's
          Plain English!«
//

Unvollständige Liste mit unreinen Reimen von Walter Mehring:

geschultert / gepoltert
Erpresserwelt / Messerheld
München / wünschen
Schottenband / Kokottenstand
Schürzen / vierzehn
Musterung / Pappkarton
falls dir / Malzbier
Pst / Christ
Spießer / Tausendfüßler

//

Julia Engelmann = Friederike Kempner + Zeit

//

Der Lyrik-Boom
Variationen

I

Ich hab euch ein Gedicht
verfasst.
Das hat euch leider nicht
gepasst.


II

Umsonst ist mein Gedicht
gewesen:
Ihr habt es leider nicht
gelesen.


III

Ich werd euch kein Gedicht
mehr schmieren.
Ihr würdet's ja doch nicht
kapieren. :-(

//

Throwback: Parallel zur Titanic-Humorkritik im Juli verfasste ich eine zweite Rezension zu Dorothy Parker: Denn mein Herz ist frisch gebrochen, vergaß aber, sie hier zu posten. Hiermit sei sie nachgereicht.

Jüngst und rechtzeitig zu ihrem 50. Todestag erschien im Dörlemann-Verlag der zweisprachige Band Denn mein Herz ist frisch gebrochen mit Dorothy Parkers Gedichten. Zunächst wäre positiv anzumerken, dass Parkers lyrisches Werk dadurch hierzulande leicht (wiewohl teuer) zugänglich geworden ist, nachdem in den letzten Jahrzehnten fast ausschließlich ihre Erzählungen übersetzt wurden. Die günstigere und vollständigere Alternative sind die bei Penguin Classics erschienenen Complete Poems, die naturgemäß ohne deutsche Verständnishilfe auskommen, – und viel mehr als »Verständnishilfen« sind Ulrich Blumenbachs Nachdichtungen leider nur in Ausnahmefällen (etwa in der dt. Version von »Verse for a certain dog«): Seine Versionen halten sich zwar zumeist an die strenge Form des Originals und bieten Rat bei mancher Unverständlichkeit in englischer Zunge, doch stellen den Leser bisweilen vor ganz neue Probleme: Wer ist ein Reff (as in »Da kam ein Reff gelaufen«)? Und was muss man sich vorstellen unter »Blumen, die glosen«?
Parkers Vers »And why with you, my love, my lord« (Hervorhebung von mir) wird zu »Und warum nur, mein Schatz, mein Scheich«, damit er sich auf »Gähn ich bei dir vor Stumpfsinn gleich« reimt. Aus »Will he see me fair?« macht Blumenbach »Bin ich noch sein Star?«, »Once the skies were a cloudless blue« heißt in der dt. Fassung »Früher warn Himmel blau, stabil« und »Love is a game that two can play at« bekommt bei Blumenbach eine homoerotische Azubi-Grundierung: »Und das Liebesspiel spielen zwei Gesellen.« Besonders unglücklich: »I'm one of the glamorous ladies / At whose beckoning history shook« wird zu »Ich zähl zu den glanzvollen Damen, / Die umweht der Geschichte Geruch.« Oll und modernd, oder wie?

Fast auf jeder zweiten Seite (denn links steht jeweils Parker, rechts Blumenbach) stolpere ich über irgendeine nicht ganz ideale Passage, was ich jedoch nicht allein auf den Übersetzer schieben möchte, denn Parkers bzw. komische englischsprachige Gedichte im Allgemeinen sind durch die oft ungleich kürzeren Sätze und vielfältigere Reimauswahl kaum adäquat ins Deutsche zu »schmuggeln« (Enzensberger). Und manchmal gelingen ihm auch durchaus glückliche Neuschöpfungen, »damned tomorrow« überträgt er zum Beispiel mit »Scheißmorgen«, »melancholy night« mit »mollgestimmte Nacht«.
Dass er aber u. a. »seh« auf »nie« reimt, »bin« auf »Italien« und »Vergehen« auf »Spanien«, verzeihe ich ihm nicht, zumal er sich damit auch weit von Parker entfernt, die sich in ihren Gedichten auf reine Reime beschränkt.

//

Reim für schwer erziehbare Kinder

Sonntag, 22. Oktober 2017

Harry Graham (52 und Schluss)

Ein Jahr lang gab es hier jeden Sonntag ein Gedicht des großen vergessenen Dichters Harry Graham zu lesen, vielleicht hat er dadurch ja ein paar neue Freunde gefunden. Den Abschluss der Reihe bildet »Envoi« aus »Misrepresentative Men«:
Harry Graham: Envoi

Behold how tenderly I treat
   Each victim of my pen and brain,
And should I tread upon your feet,
   How lightly I leap off again;
Observe with what an airy grace
I fling my inkpot in your face!

To those whose intellect is small,
   This work should prove a priceless treasure;
To persons who have none at all,
   A never-ending fount of pleasure;
A mental stimulus or tonic
To all whose idiocy is chronic.

And you, my Readers (never mind
   Which category you come under),
Will, after due reflection, find
   My verse a constant source of wonder.
'Twill make you think, I dare to swear–
But what you think I do not care!

Montag, 16. Oktober 2017

Sonntag, 15. Oktober 2017

Harry Graham (51)

Weil es so schön ist und zwar bereits hier gepostet wurde, nicht jedoch in der Harry-Graham-Reihe, sei nun erneut »Love's Handicap« aus »The World We Laugh In« zitiert:
Harry Graham: Love's Handicap
From the earliest days,
Ev'ry writer of lays
   Has delighted to sing about Passion;
But of rhymes there's a dearth
For the Briton by birth
   Who would follow this popular fashion.
For though Love is a theme
That we poets esteem
   As unrivalled, immortal, sublime too,
'Tis a word that the bard
Finds it daily more hard
   To discover a suitable rhyme to!
For one can't always mention the »stars up above,«
Ev'ry time that one talks about Love!

When the French troubadour
Wants to sing of l'amour
   No such lyrical fetters restrain him;
And when making la cour
To his mistress, chaqu' jour,
   There's no famine of rhyme to detain him.
He'll describe, sans détours,
How as soft as velours
   Is her hand, and her voice like a fiddle;
How they ate petits fours
Till she cried: »Au secours
   When his arm went autour of her middle!
And there's no need for him to refer to her »glove,«
Just because he's discoursing on Love!

The Venetian signor
Who discusses l'amor'
   To his lady-love's balcony climbing,
As he presses her fior'
To his bosom (al' cuor')
   Has no trouble at all about rhyming!
When with frenzied furor'
And such fervent calor'
   He suggests her becoming his sposa,
What for him does the trick
Is that rhymes are as thick
   As the leaves upon fair Vallombrosa;
And he never need liken his dear to a »dove,«
Ev'ry time that he sings about Love!

'Tis the absence of rhymes
That inclines me, at times,
   To renounce any mention of Cupid,
And, instead, to write odes
To (say) skylarks or toads,
   Though it may seem faint-hearted or stupid.
For it's easy to sing
Of the sunshine or Spring,
   And of Pan (or some mythical person),
But to find a fresh rhyme
For the Passion sublime
   That we bards are supposed to write verse on –
Well, I'm tempted to give the whole question »the shove«
And to sing no more songs about Love!

Sonntag, 8. Oktober 2017

Harry Graham (50)

Wichtige Hinweise zur korrekten Nutzung von Badezimmern aus »The World We Laugh In«:
Harry Graham: The Bath

Broad is the Gate and wide the Path
That leads man to his daily bath;
But ere you spend the shining hour
With plunge and spray, with sluice and show'r–
With all that teaches you to dread
The bath as little as your bed–
Remember, wheresoe'er you be,
To shut the door and turn the key!

I had a friend – my friend no more!–
Who failed to bolt his bath-room door;
A maiden aunt of his, one day,
Walked in, as half-submerged he lay!
She did not notice nephew John,
And turned the boiling water on!

He had no time, nor even scope,
To camouflage himself with soap,
But gave a yell and flung aside
The sponge 'neath which he sought to hide!
It fell to earth I know not where!
He beat his breast in his despair,
And then, like Venus from the foam,
Sprang into view, and made for home!

His aunt fell fainting to the ground!
Alas! they never brought her round!
She died, intestate, in her prime,
The victim of another's crime;
And John can never quite forget
How, by a breach of etiquette,
He lost, at one fell swoop (or plunge),
His aunt, his honour, and his sponge!

Mittwoch, 4. Oktober 2017

Am Meer

Am Meer

Der Tag beginnt,
das Kind entwischt.
Der Küstenwind
erfrischt und zischt.

Bald treibt das Kind
blass in der Gischt.
Ein Fischer find-
et es und fischt.

Die Mutter sinnt,
der Vater drischt.
(Der Vater spinnt.)
Das Licht erlischt.

Sonntag, 1. Oktober 2017

Harry Graham (49)

Da aktuell die beiden Reizthemen Lyrik und Kolonialismus dank Boris Johnson und Rudyard Kipling in aller Munde sind: Hier ein satirisches Gedicht aus »Familiar Faces« (1907), in dem Harry Graham über die Kongogräuel schreibt, für die der damalige belgische König Leopold II. maßgeblich verantwortlich war. Editorischer Hinweis: Ich habe mir erlaubt, das n-word in S4V1 unkenntlich zu machen.
Harry Graham: King Leopold

(»In dealing with a race that has been composed of cannibals for thousands of years, it is necessary to use methods that best can shake their idleness and make them realise the sanctity of labour.«—King Leopold of Belgium on the Congo scandal.)

People call him »knave« and »ogre« and a lot of kindred names,  
   Or they label him as »tyrant« and »oppressor«;  
The majority must wilfully misunderstand his aims
   To regard him in the light of a transgressor.  
For, to tell the honest truth, he's a benevolent old man
   Who attempts to do his »duty to his neighbour«
By endeavouring to formulate a philanthropic plan  
   Which shall demonstrate the »sanctity of labour.«

There were natives on the Congo not a score of years ago,  
   Whose existence was a constant round of pleasure;  
Whose imperfect education had not ever let them know 
   The pernicious immorality of leisure.
They were merry little people, in their simple savage way,  
   Not a thought to moral obligations giving;  
Quite unconscious of their duties, wholly ignorant were they  
   Of the blessedness of working for a living.
 
But a fond paternal Government (in Belgium, need I add?)  
   Heard their story, and, with admirable kindness,  
Deemed it utterly improper, not to say a trifle sad,  
   That the heathen should continue in his blindness.  
»Let us civilise the children of this most productive soil,«
   Said their agents, who proceeded to invade them; 
»Let us show these foolish savages the dignity of toil—  
   If we have to use a hatchet to persuade them!«
 
So they taught these happy ners how unwise it was to shirk; 
   They implored them not to idle or malinger;  
And they showed them there was nothing that encouraged honest work 
   Like the loss of sev'ral toes or half a finger.  
When they fancied that their womenfolk were lonely or depress'd,  
   They would chain them nice and close to one another,  
And they thoughtfully abducted ev'ry baby at the breast,  
   To facilitate the labours of its mother.
So they made a point of parting ev'ry husband from his wife  
   And dividing ev'ry maiden from her lover; 
If a workman drooped or sickened they would jab him with a knife, 
   And then leave him by the roadside to recover. 
If he grumbled or grew restive they would amputate a hand,  
   Just to show him how unsafe it was to blubber,  
Till with infinite solicitude they made him understand  
   The necessity of cultivating »rubber.«
 
Thus the merry work progresses, as it must progress forsooth, 
   While these pioneers are sharp and firm and wary,—  
And the Congo is reluctantly compelled to own the truth  
   Of that motto »Laborare est orare.«
Though the Belgians sometimes wonder, on their tenderhearted days, 
   (When the little children scream as they abduct them), 
If the natives CAN supply sufficient rubber to erase 
   The effect of such endeavours to instruct them.
 
Tho' within the royal bosom a suspicion there may lurk  
   That these practices offend the sister-nations,  
That one cannot safely advocate »the sanctity of work,«
   By a policy of theft and mutilations,—  
Yet wherever on the Congo Belgium's banner is unfurled,  
   Where the atmosphere is redolent and sunny, 
I am sure the Monarch's methods must be giving to the world 
   Some ideas upon the »sanctity of money!«
 
And, if so, I am not boasting when I mention once again  
That the Ruler of the Congo has not surely ruled in vain!

Sonntag, 24. September 2017

Harry Graham (48)

Ein Gedicht zum Ende des Wahlkampfs aus »Canned Classics«:
Harry Graham: The Craven (With Apologies to Edgar Allen Poe)

(At the last General Election the Unionist and Liberal candidates for Chelsea both enjoyed the name of Hoare.)

Ah! distinctly I remember, 'twas an evening in November,
   When I canvassed for the Member whose rosette I proudly wore,
Rousing voters to reflection on the Veto and Protection,
   Handing tracts in each direction, thrusting bills through ev'ry door,
   Till I reached the Chelsea section, where each rival's name is Hoare,
                 Simply that and nothing more!

There I argued with each zany, and cajoled the bright and brainy,
   In the district labelled Cheyné (where Carlyle abode of yore),
Till I found a man, a craven, with his feeble chin unshaven,
   Ev'ry window of whose haven a perplexing placard bore,
   'Twas a poster neatly graven with the motto: »Vote for Hoare!«
                 Only that and nothing more!

»Tell me which,« I asked him, snorting, »of the two you are supporting;
   On your window-sills the sporting of such posters I deplore;
Be you dunderhead or scholar« (here I seized him by the collar),
   »Will you brook the Yankee Dollar being dumped on Britain's shore?
   Do you fancy, in your squalor, that your food will cost you more?«
                 Quoth the craven: »Vote for Hoare!«

My acquaintance thus I rallied, till I grew fatigued and pallid,
   But my arguments (though valid) he continued to ignore;
»Shall an alien contribution help to wreck the Constitution?«
   I inquired, in consecution, till my throat was dry and sore.
   »Are you keen on Devolution? Tell me frankly, I implore!«
                 Quoth the craven: »Vote for Hoare!«

Sonntag, 17. September 2017

Harry Graham (47)

Eine Ballade aus »Adam's Apples«:
Harry Graham: Chance

Though most of us may disbelieve in fairies,
   And label Luck a superstitious myth,
If we'd had an experience like Mary's
   (I mean, of course, my cousin Mary Smith)
We certainly should realize, like her,
How oft the Unexpected does occur.

An aunt of hers, old Mrs Smith (of Barnet),
   Had given her a bracelet, subtly chased –
Two aluminium snakes with eyes of garnet
   Whose bodies were adroitly interlaced –
A bangle which poor Mary couldn't bear
But felt herself in duty bound to wear.

Last year she took her aunt off to the Lido,
   And there upon the sunny sands reclined
Or scudded through the waves like a torpedo –
   She looked so like one, too, from just behind –
While Mrs Smith sat by and viewed the scene
Or read the Barnet Parish Magazine.

One day, as Mary sported in the ocean,
   A shadow loomed beside her, slim and dark;
She heard a boatman cry, with deep emotion:
   »Guardati! Pesce cane!« (»Mind the shark!«)
And, making headlong for the shore forthwith,
She sprang into the arms of Mrs Smith!

»Thank God you're safe!« said Auntie, fondly kissing
   Her niece's pallid cheek and anguished brow;
»But what is this, my child? Your bracelet's missing!
   You must have dropped it in the sea just now!
We can't allow that heirloom to be lost.
It must be found at once, whate'er the cost!«

»Perhaps the shark has swallowed it,« said Mary.
   »If so,« said Auntie, »he should be ashamed!
Send for the Doge! Where are the Bersaglierei?
   What are the coastguards doing?« she exclaimed.
»With such a danger is there none to cope?
What's Mussolini there for, and the Pope?«

In vain did they employ the local diver
   And get the Doge to issue a decree
In which he offered anyone a fiver
   That bracelet to unearth – or to unsea!
Conscious at last that failure was complete,
They shook the spray of Venice off their feet.

This summer, Mrs Smith and cousin Mary
   Selected Westgate as a health-resort
Where bathing holds no risks for the unwary
   And shrimping is a well-protected sport,
And here they built their castles in the sand
And listened to the Borough Council Band.

One morning, on the pier where they were sitting,
   Said Mary: »What's the tune they've just encored?«
»That,« said her aunt, »is the Refrain from Spitting
   At least, it says so on the notice-board.
It's not an opera that I know well;
My favourite, of course, is William Tell

Then, as she spoke, there came the sound of cheering,
   And see! along the asphalt esplanade
A noble army from the beach appearing
   Of man and boy, of matron and of maid,
And in their midst a giant fish they bore:
»A shark,« they cried, »has just been washed ashore!«

At Mary's feet they laid the dead cetacean.*
   Her thoughts flew back to a Venetian bay
And, as they planned the beast's evisceration –
   I'll spare the lurid details, if I may –
She and her aunt exchanged a meaning glance
And prayed in secret to the god of Chance.

*: Sharks are not cetaceous. – Pub.
     This one was. – H. G.

Poor Mrs Smith's excitement rose to fever,
   And Mary too grew anxious, I confess,
As someone slit the fish up with a cleaver
   And found within its vitals – can you guess?
You're wrong, alas! They didn't find a thing
Except two buttons and a piece of string!

Yes. Providence, performing many wonders,
   May move in a mysterious way, no doubt,
Yet will not always rectify our blunders,
   As Mrs Smith and Mary have found out.
The long arm of coincidence grows weak;
The skirts of happy chance are far to seek;
And Jonah's shark was probably unique.

Sonntag, 10. September 2017

Harry Graham (46)

Aus »Strained Relations«:
Harry Graham: In-Laws

It seems to me a crying shame
   That humorists should all disparage
Those worthy persons whom we claim
   As relatives by marriage,
Who have been pilloried so long
In ev'ry so-called »comic« song
   That audiences never pause
   To think, but greet with loud guffaws
   All ribald jokes about »in-laws.«

I always view with deep distress
   The rude and vulgar illustrations
In which the minor comic press
   Makes fun of those relations
Who stimulate the married life
Of many a happy man and wife,
   Whose constant presence should invest
   Existence with an added zest
   And make each union doubly blest.

I recollect, in days gone by,
   When courting my inamorata,
A backward, timid swain was I
   Who needed a self-starter:
And yet her people were so kind
They wouldn't let me change my mind;
   And though they knew I was no »catch«
   'Twas they who kept me to the scratch
   And practically made the match.

The mother of my fiancée
   (Who had six daughters then unmarried)
Would lightly laugh my qualms away,
   And all objections parried.
She pushed us in each other's arms,
And raved about her darling's charms,
   Making a comprehensive list
   (Including sev'ral that I'd missed)
   Till I no longer could resist.

As for my dear one's father, he
   Was just as tactful as her mother;
He'd always leave us, after tea,
   Alone with one another.
Locking the door, with some remark
About how »lovers love the dark,«
   He'd turn the gas off at the main;
   And I would sit for hours with Jane
   Trying to light the stove again.

My loved one's sisters (she had five)
   Behaved in as discreet a fashion,
And did their best to keep alive
   Our oft-times waning passion.
Before they entered any room
In which, amid sepulchral gloom,
   The chilly pair of lovers sat,
   They'd knock their loudest rat-a-tat
   Or cough outside upon the mat.

When first I set up house with Jane
   Her parents were of great assistance;
They'd never viewed me with disdain
   Or kept me at a distance.
Her father came, without a fuss,
Three nights a week, to dine with us;
   Her mother, with maternal zeal,
   Appeared at ev'ry other meal,
   And quite at home they made us feel.

They chose the carpets and the chintz,
   They bought the curtains (with our savings),
Replaced my set of Baxter prints
   With Marcus Stone engravings;
And ev'ry day, when we were out,
They'd move the furniture about
   And rearrange our little nest,
   And though at times we might protest,
   We knew, of course, that they knew best.

And when our tiny firstborn came
   Their loving-kindness quite nonplussed us
We'd chosen »Henry« as his name,
   But they preferred »Augustus«:
And, later, though we'd wished to call
His sister »Mary« – not at all!
   In this we were allowed no voice,
   For they'd already made their choice,
   And she was duly christened »Joyce.«

My wife has brothers, charming men,
   Who never seem to need inviting;
They know they're welcome in my den,
   And when I'm busy writing
They very often condescend
To sit with me for hours on end,
   Explaining how I'd make it pay
   By doing what I do to-day
   In some completely diff'rent way.

Their sisters, whom I love so well,
   Delight me with their girlish chatt'ring
They use my house as an hotel,
   Which is extremely flatt'ring.
It's really very nice to feel,
If one pops in to snatch a meal,
   Another's on the telephone;
   My wife and I are bound to own
   We're never lonely, or alone.

Sonntag, 3. September 2017

Harry Graham (45)

Aus »Canned Classics«:
Harry Graham: The Postman and the Lift

»›Most of our tenants pay rents of from £350 a year upward,‹ says Mr. Goddard, of Messrs. Goddard and Smith, the well-known Piccadilly house agents, ›and would strongly resent having to ride up and down in lifts with postmen.« – Daily Mail.

I used to live in Jermyn Street,
   Upon the seventh floor.
I occupied a charming suite,
Bed, bath, and boudoir, all complete;
   That flat is mine no more!
For in my lute appeared a rift:
They let the postman use the lift!

Was it for this I had to pay
   Three hundred pounds a year?
I never shall forget the day
A relative arrived to stay
   (First cousin to a peer);
My word! How Aunt Eliza sniff'd!
She met a postman in the lift!

»What!« she demanded, »must I ride
   With common men like him?«
She drew her scornful skirts aside,
Her smelling-bottle she applied,
   She shook in ev'ry limb.
»Be good enough,« she said, »to sift
The lower orders from the lift!«

»Good Goddard! Fellow,« I exclaimed,
   »Is there no public stair?
Are there no regulations framed
To make a working-man ashamed
   To breathe his betters' air?
To anarchy we surely drift
When common postmen use the lift!«

In vain I claim my legal rights,
   My landlord won't give way.
He says his pity he excites
To see men scaling seven flights
   So many times a day.
To other chambers I must shift,
Where postmen never use the lift!

Sonntag, 27. August 2017

Harry Graham (44)

Aus »Deportmental Ditties and Other Verses«:
Harry Graham: The Trucks of Truro. A Ballad for the Boudoir
A writer in Punch declares that the saddest sight he ever saw was a row of dispirited trucks standing in a siding, on each of which was painted the bitter words, »This truck not to go East of Truro.«

When the waters of the Douro
   Flow up-country from the sea;
When these trucks go East of Truro,
   Then my heart will faithless be!
Sparkling like some rich liqueur, oh!
Tender, delicate and pure, oh!
As Bellini's chiaroscuro,
   Is the love that kindles me!
When these trucks go East of Truro,
   Then will I be false to thee!

Though the clerk forget his bureau,
   I will not forgetful be!
Though these trucks go East of Truro,
   Thou shalt not go East of me!
Though each celebrated Euro-
Pean oculist or neuro-
Path, when he effects a cure, o-
   Mit to take his patient's fee!
Though these trucks go East of Truro,
   I will still have truck with thee!

Sonntag, 20. August 2017

Harry Graham (43)

Das Sonntagsgedicht aus »The Motley Muse«:
Harry Graham: Perspective

[»It is sad and humiliating, but true, that our humanity is a matter
of geography.« — The Pall Mall Gazette.]


When told that twenty thousand Japs
   Are drowned in a typhoon,
We feel a trifle shocked, perhaps,
   But neither faint nor swoon.
»Dear me! How tragic!« we repeat;
   »Ah, well! Such things must be!«
Our ordinary lunch we eat
   And make a hearty tea;
Such loss of life (with shame I write)
Creates no loss of appetite!

When on a Rocky Mountain ranch
   Two hundred souls, all told,
Are buried in an avalanche.
   The tidings leave us cold.
»Poor fellows!« we remark. »Poor things!«
   »All crushed to little bits!«
Then go to Bunty Pulls the Strings,
   Have supper at the Ritz,
And never even think again
Of land-slides in the State of Maine!

But when the paper we take in
   Describes how Mr. Jones
Has slipped on a banana-skin
   And broken sev'ral bones,
»Good Heavens! What a world!« we shout
   »Disasters never cease!«
»What is the Government about?«
   »And where are the Police?«
Distraught by such appalling news
All creature comforts we refuse!

Though plagues exterminate the Lapp,
   And famines ravage Spain,
They move us not like some mishap
   To a suburban train.
Each foreign tale of fire or flood,
   How trumpery it grows
Beside a broken collar-stud,
   A smut upon the nose!
For Charity (Alas! how true!)
Begins At Home — and ends there, too!

Sonntag, 13. August 2017

Harry Graham (42)

Aus »Baby's Baedeker«:
Harry Graham: Portugal

You are requested, if you please,
   To note that here a people lives
Referred to as the Portuguese;
   A fact which naturally gives
The funny man a good excuse
To call his friend a Portugoose.

Moral:
Avoid the obvious, if you can,
And never be a funny man.

Sonntag, 6. August 2017

Harry Graham (41)

Heute ein Vierzeiler aus »Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes« + meine Übersetzung:

Harry Graham: Appreciation

Auntie, did you feel no pain
   Falling from that apple tree?
Will you do it, please, again?
   'Cos my friend here didn't see.

-

Würdigung

Tantchen, fühlst du keine Qual
   nach dem Sturz vom Apfelbaum?
Fall doch bitte noch einmal,
   denn mein Freund hier sah es kaum.

Sonntag, 30. Juli 2017

Harry Graham (40)

Aus den Anfangstagen des Radios berichtet das folgende Gedicht aus »Adam's Apples« (1930):
Harry Graham: The Home Breaker

There was a time – for ever past! –
   When, as the shades of night descended,
My troubles to the wind I cast
And, freed from worldly cares at last,
   My daily labours ended,
I hied me home, at evening's close,
To sweet repast and calm repose.

Beside the fire I loved to sit,
   Enjoying well-earned peace and solace,
And, as I smoked, my wife would knit,
Or else she'd read aloud a bit
   From Proust or Edgar Wallace,
Or we'd exchange our artless views
Upon the last Divorce-Court news.

Sweet moments (I recall them yet!)
   Before our conjugal estrangement,
Ere that well-meaning friend she met
Who gave my wife a wireless set,
   A portable arrangement,
Has made this home of ours a hell
Where peace and rest can never dwell.

A tireless wireless devotee
   With knitting now upon the floor cast,
My spouse no longer reads to me,
But listens-in to 5GB,
   To Shipping News and Forecast,
To talks on »British Fungi« or
»The Insect Life of Ecuador.«

And though I've caught her complex too,
   It strains our intimate relations,
And bitter quarrels must ensue
When both are trying to »get through«
   To diff'rent wireless stations;
For when I long to listen in
To Aberdeen, she wants Berlin!

In vain I grumble: »Darling, come!
   You make existence double hard if,
Each time I pick up Hilversum,
You move the tuner with your thumb
   And switch me back to Cardiff!
I know that you prefer Dundee,
But there's no place like Rome for me!«

          *          *          *          *

Wife of my bosom, cease to frown;
   If you have smiles to wear, please wear one!
We're still the happiest pair in town!
The battery has just run down,
   And so, as we've no spare one,
We'll read and gossip as of yore,
And home will be a home once more!

Sonntag, 23. Juli 2017

Harry Graham (39)

Aus »Deportmental Ditties and Other Verses«:
Harry Graham: The Mombasa Massacre
(Ex-President Roosevelt, who has been shooting big game in South Africa, accompanied by a cinematograph operator, has included two fine giraffes in his bag.)

O Theodore, in days of yore,
   Your courage I admired!
What fame you won, with rod and gun,
   What laurels you acquired!
The grizzly bear, within his lair,
   You bravely would pursue,
And goodness knows what buffaloes
   And other things you slew,
Ere, on the cinematograph,
I saw you slaughter a giraffe!

That kindly beast (alas! deceased!)
   Is harmless as a cat;
It seems a shame you shouldn't aim
   At higher game than that!
Go forth and track the savage yak,
   Go seek the tiger's gore;
Pursue the gnu, the kangaroo,
   The lion and the boar!
Go rob the bison of her calf,
But oh! don't murder the giraffe!

For if, in short, your views of sport
   Such massacres allow,
You'd better stay at home and slay
   The cart-horse and the cow;
Or men will doubt those tales about
   Your sportsmanship and grit,
Who read with gloom, upon your tomb,
   In blood-red letters writ:
»Here Lies – (a fearful epitaph!) –
The Man Who Murdered a Giraffe!«

Sonntag, 16. Juli 2017

Harry Graham (38)

Das Eröffnungsgedicht aus einer späteren Ausgabe von »Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes«. Was auch immer P. P. bedeuten mag (und ob es sich wohl um eine tatsächliche, Graham bekannte Person handelte?); mir gefällt der Gedanke, dass es eine heute ungebräuchliche, nicht mehr recherchierbare Abkürzung ist, die sich an jeden Leser richtet:
Harry Graham: Dedicated to P. P.
(»Qui connait son sourire a connu le parfait.«)

I need no Comments of the Press,
No critic's cursory caress,
No paragraphs my book to bless
With praise, or ban with curses,
So long as You, for whom I write,
Whose single notice I invite,
Are still sufficiently polite
To smile upon my verses.

If You should seek for Ruthless Rhymes
(In memory of Western climes),
And, for the sake of olden times,
Obtain this new edition,
You must not be surprised a bit,
Nor even deem the act unfit,
That I have dedicated it
To You, without permission.


And if You chance to ask me why,
It is sufficient, I reply,
That You are You, and I am I,—
To put the matter briefly.
That I should dedicate to You
Can only interest us two;
The fact remains, then, that I do,
Because I want to—chiefly.

And if these verses can beguile
From those grey eyes of yours a smile,
You will have made it well worth while
To seek your approbation;
No further meed
Of praise they need,
But must succeed,
And do indeed,
If they but lead
You on to read
Beyond the Dedication.

Montag, 10. Juli 2017

Klage des Schlachters

Klage des Schlachters an seine Frau
Schmerzhafte Reime

Du machtest mich vor Jahren glücklich,
als du zum Rind sprachst: »Dich zerstückl ich!«

Du lecktest Blut und legtest gut los,
doch heute wirkst du lust- und mutlos:

Du solltest Haut von Hühnern ziehen,
stattdessen streicheltest du die Henn'!

Du solltest Schweine liquidieren, –
du ließt sie frei und brülltest: »Vieh, renn!«

Du eiltest voller Freude (ja!) mit
und schadetest dem Business damit.

Du trafst mich dann besonders schwer, denn
nun wolltest du Veganer werden...

Ich widersprach! Du meintest: »Nee, Ben.« –
Ich will dir trotzdem gern vergeben!

Ach, fang jetzt bitte kein Gezänk an,
und nimm als Zeichen mein Geschenk an:
Ich hab dir diese Wurst gewidmet! – –

Hey, freu dich doch und wirf nicht mit Mett!

Sonntag, 9. Juli 2017

Harry Graham (37)

Ein verdrehtes Sprichwort-Gedicht aus "Perverted Proverbs. A Manual of Immorals for the Many" (1903):
Harry Graham: »Learn to Take Things Easily.«
To these few words, it seems to me,  
   A wealth of sound instruction clings;  
O learn to take things easily— 
   Espeshly other people's things;  
And time will make your fingers deft  
At what is known as petty theft.
 
Your precious moments do not waste;  
   Take ev'rything that isn't tied!  
Who knows but you may have a taste,  
   A gift perhaps, for homicide,—  
(A mania which, encouraged, thrives 
On taking other people's lives).
 
»Fools and Their Money soon must part!«
   And you can help this on, may be, 
 If, in the kindness of your heart,  
   You learn to take things easily; 
And be, with little education,  
A prince of misappropriation.

Sonntag, 2. Juli 2017

Harry Graham (36)

Ein Gedicht passend zur Ferienzeit aus »Rhymes For Riper Years« (1917):
Harry Graham: Slush

Describing the scene at a railway station when schoolboys return home for the holidays, the Daily Mail says: »One small boy there was who had no mother to meet him. He stood, a lonely figure, till a big chauffeur came up and touched his cap... He would rather have had a mother than a motor to meet him. You could read that in his pathetic little eyes.«

Dowered with the wealth of Ophir,
   Reared on costly caviare,
Driven by a foreign chauffeur
   In a spacious Siddeley car,
Luckless little Thompson minor
   Would have paid a handsome cheque
For a mother to entwine her
   Loving arms about his neck!
Though the motor's speed is greater,
Thompson much prefers »the mater!«

Long ago, with eyes all shiny,
   She had asked, in tender tone:
»Would you like a little tiny
   Baby-sister of your own?«
Now it stung him like a blister
   That he'd answered: »I should like,
Not a tiny baby-sister,
   But a full-sized motor-bike!«
That was why no fair relation
Welcomed Thompson at the station!

Other fellows had a mother;
   Sisters met them at the train.
As he watched them kiss each other,
   Thompson's heart was racked with pain.
Not a single fond, devoted
   Female waited for him there,
And with bitterness he quoted:
   »Can a motor's tender care...?«
(This, you must admit, was crim'nal;
Boys should never quote the Hymnal.)

See, his friends, in cabs and taxis,
   Hold maternal fingers tight,
While poor Thompson minor waxes
   Sad and sadder at the sight!
For although, perhaps, he'd rather,
   At the hour of his return,
Have a motor than a father
   (Fathers can be harsh and stern!);
Can he hope his sobs to smother,
With a motor for a mother?

Sonntag, 25. Juni 2017

Harry Graham (35)

Ein Gedicht aus »Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes« (1902) über die kindliche Freude an Brennnesseln und Disteln:
Harry Graham: Inconsiderate Hannah
Naughty little Hannah said
   She could make her Grandma whistle,
So, that night, inside her bed
   Placed some nettles and a thistle.

Though dear Grandma quite infirm is,
   Heartless Hannah watched her settle,
With her poor old epidermis
   Resting up against a nettle.

Suddenly she reached the thistle!
My! you should have heard her whistle!
       *       *       *
A successful plan was Hannah's,
But I cannot praise her manners.

Sonntag, 18. Juni 2017

Harry Graham (34)

Das Sonntagsgedicht über einen uns bereits flüchtig bekannten Hund aus »The Motley Muse«:
Harry Graham: A Plea for Ponto

[Sir Frederick Banbury moved in the House of Commons:— »That in the opinion of this House no operation for the purpose of vivisection should be performed upon dogs.«]

When you're studying the habits
   Of the germ of German measles,
      When you're searching out a cure for indigestion,
You may practise upon rabbits,
   Upon guinea-pigs, or weasels,
      If you think that they throw light upon the question;
You may note how bad the bite is
Of the microbe of bronchitis,
   By performing operations upon frogs,
But I've yet to hear the mention
Of a surgical invention
   That can justify experiments on dogs.

I would sooner people perished
   Of lumbago or swine-fever
      (Or, at any rate, I'd rather they should chance it!)
Than that any hound I cherished
   From a »pom« to a retriever,
      Should be subject to the vivisector's lancet.
I know nought of theoretics,
But in spite of anæsthetics
   —Ether, chloroform or other soothing drug—
(Though perhaps I argue wrongly)
I should disapprove most strongly,
   If I found a person puncturing my pug!

If we wish to make a bee-line
   For the chicken-pox bacillus,
      From the hen-house there is nothing to debar us;
We may learn from creatures feline
   What the causes are that kill us
      When we suffer from infirmities catarrhous!
But when dogs' insides we study,
Then our hands and hearts grow bloody,
   And we needn't be a crank or partisan
To display a strong objection
To the so-called vivisection
   Of that animal we style the Friend of Man!

Donnerstag, 15. Juni 2017

Notizen zur Poetik (2)

Noch mehr Notizen zu (meist absichtlich komischen) Gedichten, Fragmente, aufgegebene Aufsätze, Listen, poetologische Gedichte. Weiter geht's!

//

Dass immer noch kein Rühmkorf-Auswahlband mit dem unheimlich eingängigen Titel »Wahrheit – Wahnsinn – Vanitas« (Vers aus dem Gedicht »Kleines Totentänzchen«) existiert, muss empören.

//

Erich Mühsam reimte Europa auf faux pas.

//

So erfreulich poetische »Smash-Hits« bzw. »Lyrik-Hämmer der Saison« (Robert Gernhardt) für Verlag und Publikum auch sein mögen, dem Poeten können sie zum Nachteil gereichen; dann nämlich, wenn er den erfolgreichen Versen nichts Gleichrangiges hinterherschicken kann und in der Folge auf das eine Gedicht reduziert wird.
Ein veritabler Lyrik-Hit jedenfalls gelang dem amerikanischen Schriftsteller Gelett Burgess, der zu Beginn seiner Karriere im Jahre 1895 die Zeitschrift The Lark ins Leben rief, die immerhin 25 Ausgaben lang hielt. In der ersten Nummer erschien sein Vierzeiler »The Purple Cow«, dem er den hübschen ausführlicheren Titel »The Purple Cow's Projected Feast: / Reflections on a Mythic Beast, / Who's quite Remarkable at least« gab. Das einleuchtende Gedicht leuchtet lautet folgendermaßen:
The Purple Cow
I never saw a purple cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one.

Wem spricht dieser Paarhuferskeptizismus nicht aus dem Herzen? Das Gedicht erfreute sich entsprechend rasch großer Beliebtheit und wurde in zeitgenössische und spätere Anthologien (etwa in The Faber Book of Nonsense Verse von 1986) aufgenommen, doch alas!, dem Dichter fielen in den folgenden Jahren keine Zeilen ein, die »The Purple Cow« in Sachen Eingängigkeit übertreffen konnten. Das führte zu der etwas seltsamen Entscheidung von Burgess, die Merkverse nicht in seine erste Sammlung A gage of youth. Lyrics from The Lark and other poems (1901) aufzunehmen. Viel wichtiger ist aber seine lyrische Reaktion auf die anhaltende Popularität des Vierzeilers. In der vorletzten The Lark-Ausgabe (1897) kokettierte er:
Confession
Ah, yes, I wrote the »Purple Cow« —
I'm sorry, now, I wrote it;
But I can tell you anyhow
I'll kill you if you quote it.

Ich kann zwar die gewiss interessante Frage, ob sich die Farbe der Milka-Kuh dem Gedicht von Gelett Burgess verdankt, nicht beantworten, möchte aber noch knapp und verkürzt auf die Wirkungsgeschichte des Vierzeilers hinweisen: Carolyn Wells nämlich, die ebenfalls für The Lark schrieb und u. a. als Autorin und Herausgeberin von komischer Lyrik fungierte, konnte in ihrer Anthologie Such Nonsense! (1918) auf die Popularität des Gedichts zählen, also veröffentlichte sie nicht weniger als achtzehn Parodien der »Purple Cow« im Stile der großen englischsprachigen Dichter. Ob sie die Tonfälle von Milton, Shelley, Wordsworth usw. wirklich traf, vermag ich nicht zu beurteilen. Weil aber Edgar Allan Poes »The Raven« bekannt sein dürfte, sei hier die titellose Wiederkäuer-Version zitiert:
Open then I flung a shutter,
And, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a Purple Cow which gayly tripped around my floor.
Not the least obeisance made she,
Not a moment stopped or stayed she,
But with mien of chorus lady perched herself above my door.
On a dusty bust of Dante perched and sat above my door.

And that Purple Cow unflitting
Still is sitting – still is sitting
On that dusty bust of Dante just above my chamber door,
And her horns have all the seeming
Of a demon's that is screaming,
And the arc-light o'er her streaming
Casts her shadow on the floor.
And my soul from out that pool of Purple shadow on the floor,
Shall be lifted Nevermore!
//

Zwei unsinnige, aber wohlklingende Zeilen:

Der Uzi-Verein
lud Luzifer ein.

//

Der Nationalsozialist Hanns Johst (1890-1978) amtierte als Präsident der Reichsschrifttumskammer und wurde als Dichter bekannt für sein von der Nazi-Presse begeistert aufgenommenes Drama Schlageter. Seine Karriere endete 1945 verdientermaßen abrupt, Wikipedia gibt Auskunft über seinen weiteren Werdegang: »In der Bundesrepublik konnte Johst schriftstellerisch nicht mehr Fuß fassen, schrieb aber seit 1952 unter dem Pseudonym ›Odemar Oderich‹ Gedichte für die Edeka-Kundenzeitschrift Die kluge Hausfrau

//

Die Reimschemata der einzelnen Strophen in Rühmkorfs Gedicht »Auf Sommers Grill« wirken wie zum Teil umgedrehtes Grillgut: abxb cddc effe ghhg ijxi. (Ist das schon Synästhesie?)

//

Zwar fehlt mir ein Faible für ländliche Gotteshäuser, und Außentemperaturen über 10° sind mir grundsätzlich verhasst, doch das folgende Gedicht Detlev von Liliencrons übt mit seiner letzten Strophe einen unerklärlichen Reiz auf mich aus:
Dorfkirche im Sommer

Schläfrig singt der Küster vor,
Schläfrig singt auch die Gemeinde,
Auf der Kanzel der Pastor
Betet still für seine Feinde.

Dann die Predigt, wunderbar,
Eine Predigt ohne Gleichen.
Die Baronin weint sogar
Im Gestühl, dem wappenreichen.

Amen, Segen, Thüren weit,
Orgelton und letzter Psalter.
Durch die Sommerherrlichkeit
Schwirren Schwalben, flattern Falter.
//

Noch mehr Poetry-Slam-Reime:

Mit Augenringen / von (oder zu) Tauben singen
Kattegatt / hatte satt
Boßeln / mit Friedrich dem Großen
Staubschicht / glaub's nicht
Anschein / pansch Wein
Raubzug / Ausdruck
Vielfraß / Spielspaß
Sichtschutz / Nichtsnutz

Sonntag, 11. Juni 2017

Harry Graham (33)

Aus aktuellem Anlass ein zugegebenermaßen nicht allzu aktuelles Gedicht: Einige erläuternde Strophen zu Großbritannien aus »Baby's Baedeker« (1902):
Harry Graham: Great Britain

The British are a chilly race. 
   The Englishman is thin and tall;  
He screws an eyeglass in his face,  
   And talks with a reluctant drawl. 
›Good Gwacious! This is doosid slow!  
By Jove! Haw demmy! Don't-cher-know!
 
The Englishwoman ev'rywhere  
   A meed of admiration wins; 
She has a crown of silken hair,  
   And quite the loveliest of skins. 
(Go forth and seek an English maid,  
Your trouble will be well repaid.)
 
Where Britain's banner is unfurled  
   There's room for nothing else beside,  
She owns one-quarter of the world,  
   And still she is not satisfied.  
The Briton thinks himself, by birth,  
To be the lord of all the earth.
 
Some call his manners wanting, or  
   His sense of humour poor, and yet  
Whatever he is striving for 
   He as a rule contrives to get;  
His methods may be much to blame,  
But he arrives there just the same.
 
MORAL
If you can get your wish, you bet it  
Doesn't much matter how you get it!

Dienstag, 6. Juni 2017

Notizen zur Poetik (1)

Notizen zu (meist absichtlich komischen) Gedichten, Fragmente, aufgegebene Aufsätze, Listen, poetologische Gedichte. Los geht's!

//

In F. W. Bernsteins neuem Band »Frische Gedichte« sind auf Seite 98 folgende Verse zu lesen: »Er wacht auf, und was ist er? / Professor. Doch Goethe: Minister!« Wie bemerkenswert ist das? Ein bisschen schon. Wer nämlich gespaltenen Reimen in der komischen deutschsprachigen Lyrik nachspüren möchte, wird insgesamt nicht vielen Reimpaaren begegnen, dafür einem immer wieder, und zwar eben: »ist er / Minister«. Allein in Bernsteins Sammlung »Die Gedichte« von 2003 ist es gleich zweifach anzutreffen: »Der Vierte – Obacht, Herr Minister! / Direkt vor Ihnen! Ganz vorn! Da ist er!« sowie etwas versteckter: »Senator Radunski, der Doppelminister, / ein zwiefaches Verhängnis ist er.«

Erich Mühsam benutzte das Reimpaar doppelt, und zwar in den Varianten »ist er / Wehrminister« und »Minister / ist er«; Ringelnatz einmal (»Sehr ernste Vize, seht: da ist er! / Das ist der Unterrichtsminister«), Eugen Roth (»Jetzt endlich, an der Reihe ist er – / Da heißts: ›Der Herr muss zum Minister!‹«) und Ror Wolf dito (»Etwa beispielsweise der Minister, / der Justizminister, na, wo ist er?«); und bei Kurt Tucholsky finden sich gar drei Beispiele (die der geneigte Leser sich selbst zusammensuchen darf).
Warum? Wozu? Was finden die Dichter an diesem Reimpaar? Ist das alles nur ein Ausweichmanöver angesichts der Tatsache, dass auf Kanzler nichts reimt, dass sich auf die auf der letzten Silbe betonte Kanzlerin wenig mehr als Gewinn oder ist in reimt und dass sich Präsidenten nur unrein beschimpfen bzw. dann aber auch immerhin schänden lassen? Oder reizt sie das vorsichtige Infragestellen von Autorität, das bei »Ist er / Minister« am Zeilenende ohnehin mitschwingt und manchmal, wie von Walter Mehring, auch explizit formuliert wird: »Und kann er nichts, dann ist er / Zum mindesten Minister«?

//

Gutes Zitat von Peter Rühmkorf (aus »Einfallskunde«): »Die gähnende Leere in manchen modernen Gedichten – zumal der neuen Zimperlichkeit. Lyriker, die einfach nicht kapieren wollen, dass auf so eng begrenztem Raum an jeder Stelle was los sein muss.«

//

Der schönste, nein: der einzige schöne rührende Reim gelang gewiss der amerikanischen Band The Magnetic Fields in ihrem Song »The Death of Ferdinand de Saussure«:
»I met Ferdinand de Saussure
On a night like this.
On love he said, »I'm not so sure
I even know what it is.«
//

Literaturkritik

Manchmal weiß der Mensch noch nicht von
Dummheit, Elend, Not und Leid.
Doch dann liest er ein Gedicht von
Erich Fried. Und weiß Bescheid.

//

Ein trochäischer Satz findet sich im Wikipedia-Artikel zum Europäischen Aal: »Aale schlüpfen im Atlantik, in der Saragossasee (in der Nähe der Bahamas).« Bzw.:
»Aale schlüpfen im Atlantik,
in der Saragossasee
(in der Nähe der Bahamas).«
//

Poetry-Slam-Reime:

Schau mal: / Blauwal!
wohlfeil / Lo-fi
Leitstern / streit gern
versehentlich / auf Zehen schlich
Schlachtgewimmel / lacht der Himmel
Fafnir / Schaffner
Eiklar / Fighter
Allahu Akbar / Nachbar
Weiberheld / Cyberwelt
Hinterkaifeck / Scheißdreck

//

Ich erstand auf einem Bücherflohmarkt vor mehreren Jahren aus Versehen für einen Euro das Buch »Nachts unter Sternen« (1962), das nachgelassene Texte von Ernst Emanuel Krauss versammelt (über den Wikipedia weiß, dass seine Sprüche »1935 u. a. in den Arbeitszimmern von Adolf Hitler und seinem Stellvertreter« hingen). Die Gedichte und Aphorismen sind erwartbar öde (»O goldnes Dämmerblinken / hier unter meinem Baum!«), und so haben mich nur zwei Namen bei der Lektüre wachhalten können: Krauss schrieb unter dem passenden Pseudonym Georg Stammler, das Buch wurde herausgegeben von der Wilhelm Kotzde-Kottenrodt Gemeinde (nur echt mit einem Bindestrich). Na ja, für eine Kaufempfehlung reicht das nicht.

//

3 Fremdwortreime von Kurt Tucholsky:

kosten / Boston
Hotels / health
Herrentoiletten / Manhattan

Sonntag, 4. Juni 2017

Harry Graham (32)

Aus »More Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes«:
Harry Graham: Grandpapa

Grandpapa fell down a drain;
Couldn't scramble out again.
Now he's floating down the sewer
There's one grandpapa the fewer.

Donnerstag, 1. Juni 2017

Juni-Sonett

Juni-Sonett

Mir fällt nicht furchtbar viel zum Juni ein:
Ich weiß, dass er durchaus nicht wie der Mai ist,
und dass, sobald er nicht mehr an der Reih ist,
der Juli folgt. War das erschöpfend? Nein?

Na gut, dann diese Fakten hinterdrein:
Es stimmt, dass man im Juni schwitzt und high ist,
und grillend warmes Bier erbricht, das frei ist
von Alkohol. Dann greift man kühn zum Wein,

und bald zum Wodka, den man rasch bereut.
Man ist sich schließlich selbst so wenig wert,
dass man den fetten Wurstsalat mit Ei isst.

Man kotzt vor Scham und Salmonelln erneut,
kurz: Klasse, wenn der Juni uns beehrt,
doch umso schöner, wenn der Scheiß vorbei ist.

Sonntag, 28. Mai 2017

Harry Graham (31)

Das Sonntagsgedicht aus »Canned Classics«:
Harry Graham: Sounding the Toxin

(Milk from excited or irritated cows is, according to the latest scientific opinion, more harmful than that which contains disease germs. The blood of an excited animal throws out poisonous toxins that are most insalubrious.)


O Milkman, be candid and tell me, I pray,
   If your wares are with toxins infected;
If Clara the cow, when you milked her to-day,
   Was unruffled, sedate and collected.
Did she wake in a temper and scornfully laugh
   At the short-horn who came from Strathpeffer?
Did she spurn the advances of Clarence the calf?
   Did she quarrel with Hannah the heifer?
If so, to her produce no time I'll devote,
But rely for my tea upon Gilbert the goat.

O my Butcher, please that if Susannah the sow,
   Whom you recently turned into bacon,
Wore a look of ineffable peace on her brow,
   If her nerves were unstrung or were shaken.
Oh, had Oswald the ox, when you severed his tail,
   Been a martyr to mental disquiet?
Was there anything known about Constance the quail
   Which would make her unfit for my diet?
Pray explain, ere his ham on my platter I pile,
Whether Patrick the pig met his death with a smile.

O, my Dairyman, tell me, I earnestly beg,
   Lest my prospects of breakfast be blighted,
Whether Hetty the hen, on evolving her egg,
   Was upset, overwrought or excited.
O my Grocer, bring news about Sam the sardine,
   When he swam as a child in the ocean,
Was his character tranquil, his outlook serene?
   Was he swayed by blind gusts of emotion?
For, if so, with a grief that is deep and acute,
I must really confine my attentions to fruit!

While the heart of Louisa the lettuce is dead,
   And can harbour no poisonous acid,
Clementina the cabbage, though losing her head,
   Is by nature proverbially placid,
And though Bill the banana (whose coat one must strip)
   Provides suitable food for the glutton,
And Orlando the orange, though prone to »the pip,«
   Is more wholesome than Mildred the mutton,
Without fear of bacilli my tastes I may glut
Upon Percy the pumpkin and Norah the nut!

Sonntag, 21. Mai 2017

Harry Graham (30)

Hundefreundliche Zeilen aus »The Motley Muse«:
Harry Graham: Egregious Eastbourne

[A recent by-law of the Eastbourne Town Council renders the owner of any dog who barks upon the beach liable to a fine of forty shillings.]

Never more shall I and Ponto
Traverse the Marine Parade,
Pass the Pier and wander onto
Eastbourne's Esplanade;
Never more, with lungs like leather,
And a heart as light as feather,
Shall we stray and play together
Where we strayed and played!
On the cruel Council's shingle
Man and beast no more may mingle!

With what never-ending rapture
Ponto would retrieve a stone,
Leap into the sea and capture
Sticks, wherever thrown;
Issue dripping from the ocean,
With his tail in constant motion,
And express his true devotion
In a strident tone,
Till the Judge, his license marking,
Fined him forty bob for barking!

Still, upon the sands, sopranos
Topmost notes in anguish reach,
Masked musicians thump pianos,
Negro minstrels screech;
German bandsmen blare and bellow,
But my Ponto, poor old fellow,
May not raise his loud but mellow
Bark upon the beach!
»Dumb,« indeed, is every beast born
In the neighbourhood of Eastbourne!

Sonntag, 14. Mai 2017

Harry Graham (29)

Sonntag ist Harry-Graham-Tag! Heute gibt es Tischtennisverse aus »Verse and Worse«:
Harry Graham: The Ballad of Ping-Pong
(After Swinburne)
The murmurous moments of May-time,
   What bountiful blessings they bring!
As dew to the dawn of the day-time,
   Suspicions of Summer to Spring!

Let others imagine the time light,
   With maidens or books on their knee,
Or live in the languorous limelight
   That tinges the trunk of the tree.

Let the timorous turn to their tennis,
   Or the bowls to which bumpkins belong,
But the thing for grown women and men is
   The pastime of ping and of pong.

The game of the glorious glamour!
   The feeling to fight till you fall!
The hurricane hail and the hammer!
   The batter and bruise of the ball!

The glory of getting behind it!
   The brief but bewildering bliss!
The fear of the failure to find it!
   The madness at making a miss!

The sound of the sphere as you smack it,
   Derisive, decisive, divine!
The riotous rush of your racket,
   To mix and to mingle with mine!

The diadem dear to the King is,
   How sweet to the singer his song;
To me so the plea of the ping is,
   And the passionate plaint of the pong.

I live for it, love for it, like it;
   Delight of my dearest of dreams!
To stand and to strive and to strike it,
   So certain, so simple it seems!

Then give me the game of the gay time,
   The ball on its wandering wing,
The pastime for night or for day-time,
   The Pong, not to mention the Ping!

Montag, 8. Mai 2017

Mailied

Mailied (feat. Ludwig Uhland)

Die linden Lüfte sind erwacht,
die Welt vergeht vor Blumenpracht,
und Frühlings-Hashtags trenden.
Auf Wolfsmilchwiesen stirbt Gequak:
Man weiß nicht, was noch werden mag,
das Blühen will nicht enden.

Die Gräser wachsen hoch und dicht.
Der Mohn glüht rot. Die Birke nicht,
sie sorgt bloß für Geflenn, denn
man niest dank ihr den ganzen Tag
und weiß nicht, was noch werden mag,
das Blühen will nicht enden.

Auf all-, auf all-, – Moment, ich hab's:
Auf allen Feldern strahlt der Raps,
so möchte Gott uns blenden,
weshalb ich nun rhetorisch klag:
Man weiß nicht, was noch werden mag,
das Blühen will nicht enden.

Die Algenblüte trübt das Meer.
Es grünt und knospt und sprießt so sehr,
dass Bäume Schatten spenden,
wo noch im März ein Gleisbett lag:
Man weiß nicht, was noch werden mag,
das Blühen will nicht enden.

Der Klee bricht durch Asphalt und Stein:
Das Land zerfällt. Der DAX stürzt ein.
Quo vadis, Dividenden?
Verzeihung, dass ich weiter frag:
Wer weiß bloß, was noch werden mag?,
wann will das Blühen enden?

Vergisst man das florale Leid,
und will man dennoch seine Zeit
in der Natur verschwenden,
dann machen Nesseln Hautausschlag,
was ich zu kritisieren wag,
indem ich es noch einmal sag:
Man weiß nicht, was noch werden mag,
das Blühen will nicht enden!

(Man sollte einen Strafantrag
an die Gerichte in Den Haag,
auf dass es ende, senden.)

Sonntag, 7. Mai 2017

Harry Graham (28)

Aus »Baby's Baedeker«:
Harry Graham: France

The natives here remark »Mon Dieu!« 
   »Que voulez-vous?« »Comment ça va?« 
»Sapristi! Par exemple! Un peu!«
   »Tiens donc! Mais qu'est-ce que c'est que ça?«
They shave one portion of their dogs,  
And live exclusively on frogs.
 
They get excited very quick,  
   And crowds will gather before long  
If you should stand and wave your stick  
   And shout, »À bas le Presidong!« 
Still more amusing would it be  
To say, »Conspuez la Patrie!«
The French are so polite, you know, 
   They take their hats off very well,  
And, should they tread upon your toe, 
   Remark, »Pardon, Mademoiselle!« 
And you would gladly bear the pain  
To see them make that bow again.
 
Their ladies too have got a way 
    Which even curates can't resist;  
'Twould make an Alderman feel gay  
   Or soothe a yellow journalist;  
And then the things they say are so  
Extremely—well, in fact,—you know!
 
MORAL
The closest scrutiny can find  
No morals here of any kind.

Sonntag, 30. April 2017

Harry Graham (27)

Aus »Misrepresentative Women« (1906):
Harry Graham: Mrs. Christopher Columbus

The bride grows pale beneath her veil,
   The matron, for the nonce, is dumb,
Who listens to the tragic tale
   Of Mrs. Christopher Columb:
Who lived and died (so says report)
A widow of the herbal sort.
Her husband upon canvas wings
   Would brave the Ocean, tempest-tost;
He had a cult for finding things
   Which nobody had ever lost,
And Mrs. C. grew almost frantic
When he discovered the Atlantic.
But nothing she could do or say
   Would keep her Christopher at home;
Without delay he sailed away
   Across what poets call »the foam,«
While neighbors murmured, »What a shame!«
And wished their husbands did the same.
He ventured on the highest C’s
   That reared their heads above the bar,
Knowing the compass and the quays
   Like any operatic star;
And funny friends who watched him do so
Would call him »Robinson Caruso.«
But Mrs. C. remained indoors,
   And poked the fire and wound the clocks,
Amused the children, scrubbed the floors,
   Or darned her absent husband’s socks.
(For she was far too sweet and wise
To darn the great explorer’s eyes.)
And when she chanced to look around
   At all the couples she had known,
And realized how few had found
   A home as peaceful as her own,
She saw how pleasant it may be
To wed a chronic absentee.
Her husband’s absence she enjoyed,
   Nor ever asked him where he went,
Thinking him harmlessly employed
   Discovering some Continent.
Had he been always in, no doubt,
Some day she would have found him out.
And so he daily left her side
   To travel o’er the ocean far,
And she who, like the bard, had tried
   To »hitch her wagon to a star,«
Though she was harnessed to a comet,
Got lots of satisfaction from it.
To him returning from the West
   She proved a perfect anti-dote,
Who loosed his Armour (beef compress’d)
   And sprayed his »automobile throat«;
His health she kept a jealous eye on,
And played PerUna to his lion!
And when she got him home again,
   And so could wear the jewels rare
Which Isabella, Queen of Spain,
   Entrusted to her husband’s care,
Her monetary wealth was »far
Beyond the dreams of caviar!«
 ·  ·  ·  ·  · 
A melancholy thing it is
   How few have known or understood
The manifold advantages
   Of such herbaceous widowhood!
(What is it ruins married lives
But husbands... not to mention wives?)
O wedded couples of to-day,
   Pray take these principles to heart,
And copy the Columbian way
   Of living happily apart.
And so, to you, at any rate,
Shall marriage be a »blessèd state.«

Sonntag, 23. April 2017

Harry Graham (26)

Aus »Canned Classics« (aus dem Jahre 1911, als der Begriff holocaust bekanntlich noch anders besetzt war):
Harry Graham: The Battue of Berlin

During the Tsar's visit to Berlin last year the German Emperor entertained his Royal suite at a battue, at which, »in favourable weather,« says the Daily Mail, »492 stags were killed during an hour's shooting.«

It was a winter's morning,
   The Kaiser's sport was done;
From far and near the driven deer
   Had faced the Royal »gun,«*
And all around, in grim array,
Five hundred rotting corpses lay.

*: »Rifle« does not rhyme. 

From near and far, to King and Tsar
   The startled herds had fled;
And many a stag had swelled the bag,
   And many a hind lay dead.
Suchs things must be and will in short,
After a famous hour of sport!

It was the German Emperor
   Who slew five hundred deer;
But what he killed so many for
   Is not completely clear.
But all the journalists report
That 'twas a famous morning's sport.

From left and right, in furious flight,
   The stags to slaughter came;
Each beast, deceased, by death increased
   This holocaust of game.
And, after all (you may retort),
It was a famous morning's sport.

Let sportsmen raise their hymns of praise
   To those who made suchs bags,
Who in an hour evinced the pow'r
   To slay five hundred stags,
While I repeat (how dare you snort?)
That 'twas a famous morning's sport!