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?