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!

Sonntag, 16. April 2017

Harry Graham (25)

Ein historisches Gedicht aus »Baby's Baedeker« (1902):
Harry Graham: Russia
The Russian Empire, as you see, 
    Is governed by an Autocrat,  
A sort of human target he  
   For anarchists to practise at;  
And much relieved most people are  
Not to be lodging with the Czar.
 
The Russian lets his whiskers grow,  
   Smokes cigarettes at meal-times, and  
Imbibes more ›vodki‹ than ›il faut‹; 
   A habit which (I understand)  
Enables him with ease to tell  
His name, which nobody could spell.
The climate here is cold, with snow,  
   And you go driving in a sleigh,  
With bells and all the rest, you know,  
   Just like a Henry Irving play;  
While, all around you, glare the eyes 
Of secret officers and spies!
 
The Russian prisons have no drains,  
   No windows or such things as that;  
You have no playthings there but chains, 
   And no companion but a rat;  
When once behind the dungeon door,  
Your friends don't see you any more.
 
I further could enlarge, 'tis true,  
   But fear my trembling pen confines; 
I have no wish to travel to  
   Siberia and work the mines. 
(In Russia you must write with care, 
Or the police will take you there.)
 
Moral:
If you hold morbid views about
   A monarch's premature decease,  
You only need a — Hi! Look out!  
   Here comes an agent of police!
      *        *       *       *                      
(In future my address will be
Siberia, Cell 63.‹)

Dienstag, 11. April 2017

Zwischenbilanz

Zwischenbilanz

Ich habe Nietzsche leider nie verstanden,
und jeder Satz von Kant dünkt mir zu klug.
Von Platon hatte ich schon früh genug,
und Žižek kann erst recht nicht bei mir landen.

Bloch schrieb ein Deutsch, das ich nie ganz ertrug.
Marcuses Schriften kamen mir abhanden.
An Marx und Engels trau ich mich nicht ran, denn
ich läs ihr Werk wohl kaum in einem Zug.

Von Weber will ich weiter nichts berichten.
Die Bücher Butlers sind zu voll und leer.
Adorno harmoniert nicht mit Gedichten.

Mein Kopf wird mir bei Schopenhauer schwer.
Auf Heidegger kann ich sehr gut verzichten.
Jetzt weiß ich keine Philosophen mehr.

Sonntag, 9. April 2017

Harry Graham (24)

 Aus »Adam's Apples«:
Harry Graham: Wine

The Connoisseur may laud liqueur
   (As made by monks in cloisters)
Or rave about the velvet stout
   That's used to wash down oysters;
Such drinks are not for me or mine,
The only drink I need is WINE!

The haggis-ridden Scot may bid
  For whiskey (with a kilt on);
The men of Wales baptize with ales
   Each mute but glorious Stilton;
But when off cheese or tripe I dine
My single beverage is WINE!
 

Though 'twould appear that Lager beer
   Possesses far more finesse
(And much more gas) than, say, a Bass,
   A Worthington or Guinness,
The only product of the Rhine
That I am keen about is WINE.

Though brandy may, so people say,
   Be termed the drink for heroes,
And for one's aunt a Crême de Menthe
   Seems popular at Ciro's,
At peppermint I draw the line,
The nectar of the gods was WINE!

The old sea-dog must have his grog,
   When on the briny ocean,
And dukes on yachts use rum in tots
   As a laryngean lotion;
But when I sail across the brine
I never touch a thing but WINE.

In cocktail bars the sons of Mars
   Call loudly for a Cointreau,
To stand their pals (or Chorus Gals
   Selected from the frointreau!).
I hate the taste of turpentine,
And so I call instead for WINE.

Yes, give me port (the vintage sort),
   Champagne and hock and claret
And e'en Moselle, and I shall dwell
   Contented in a garret.
In exile I would never pine
If I were well supplied with WINE.

I would not grudge a ten-mile trudge
   From Palma to Tampico
If at the end I found a blend
   Brewed by the widowed Clicquot.
(But Mexico, so I opine,
Has never been renowned for WINE.)

I'd walk from Dan to Askalan,
   From Beershaba to Shechem,
Could I be sure I'd thus procure
   A flask of Château-Yquem.
(But I'm afraid that Palestine
Is not the home of vintage WINE.)

Then bring me wine, blest anodyne
   That makes men care-forgetful
Till human swine grow quite benign,
    Than porcupines less fretful.
No pow'r divine can so refine
The Phillistine as that of WINE.

So let's combine before its shrine
   To sing with vinous unction,
Ere we recline upon the spine,
   And wits decline to function,
While still, in fine, we can design
Some eight or nine new rhymes to WINE!

Sonntag, 2. April 2017

Harry Graham (23)

Noch ein Wintersportgedicht aus »More Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes«:
Harry Graham: Patience

When skiing in the Engadine
My hat blew off down a ravine.
My son, who went to fetch it back,
Slipped through an icy glacier's crack
And then got permanently stuck.
It really was infernal luck:
My hat was practically new –
I loved my little Henry too –
And I may have to wait for years
Till either of them reappears.