Sonntag, 22. Januar 2017

Harry Graham (13)

Aus »The World We Laugh In«:


I went to Murren (Switzerland)
For winter sports, you'll understand.
(I'm very fond of snow and ice,
Of alpenstocks and edelweiss.)
I booked my rooms at the hotel,
Unpacked, and, having rung the bell,
I asked the waiter would he please
To oil my skates and air my skis.
»Alas!« said he, »I greatly fear
You'll neither skate nor ski this year!
The thaw has melted ice and snow!
Now, if you'd come a year ago...!«

The sunny South of France I sought;
Blue goggles and a helmet bought;
Prepared to loiter, book in hand,
In sunshine, on a silver strand.
A blizzard blew, with rain and sleet;
The central heating wouldn't heat.
No form of fuel could I scrounge;
I sat and shivered in the lounge.
The natives all were forced to own
Such weather never had been known.
»It's quite exceptional,« they said.
»Had you been here last year instead...!«

I went to Holland (Amsterdam),
For that's the sort of man I am,
To see the tulips in full bloom.
(They charged a fiver for my room!)
I met a p'liceman on the square,
And asked him could he tell me where
The flowers in serried masses grew
Of ev'ry size and shape and hue.
The fellow shook his head and sighed:
»The bulbs this season mostly died!
The frost,« said he, »was so severe.
Now, if you'd only come last year...!«

I hastened off to far Japan,
Undaunted (I'm that type of man!),
For folks had told me how sublime
It was in cherry-blossom time.
But I had chosen, it appears,
The leanest, barrenest of years.
The cherry-crop had, if you please,
Been devastated by disease
And by – I can't recall the term –
Some strange exotic kind of worm!
'Twas quite abnormal, people swore;
Had I but come twelve months before...!

I hurried swiftly home and went
To see a maiden aunt in Kent.
She welcomed me, and led me round
Her garden which is world-renowned.
We reached a border bleak and bare:
»I had such lovely larkspur there,
Less than a month ago!« she said.
»It's sad to think they're mostly dead.
And my delphiniums, too, I vow
Were wonderful! They're over now.
My columbines were quite unique!
If only you'd been here last week...!«

I fled – it seemed a kind of Fate –
To Worthing, to recuperate.
'Twas rumored that at moments there
(Occasions happily most rare)
A pungent smell assailed the nose.
Like Aphrodite it arose
From out the sea, at change of tide:
A smell of sea-weed being fried,
Of rotting shell-fish and of slime –
I got it! I was just in time!

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