Monthly Archives: August 2012

… village poem …

 My father’s recent move away from the village I grew up in meant another goodbye, though my impressions of the place live on in me, and my writing. I like to share an old, bitter-sweet lyrical poem, which recalls an aspect of my experience growing up in a village. It leaves out the lake,  the mountains, and the church-bells – their marking of time could make an epic- their melodic ring still sounds once every quarter of the hour, and every hour in full from morning to midnight, so that people should not lose themselves in relative time.



The Village Poem

Through the veil of time I drop to the heart of my village,

child again, inhaling dust and summer-heat.

Drawn to the bright blue tiles in the dairy, I suck cool air,

watch the jet of buttermilk spool from pump to cup like silk.


The milkmaid frowns at the antics of our pianist, whose mass

of silver hair trails dangerously close to a display of camembert,

while her left hand swings a crystal pendulum, her daily rite

in search of resonance. I hold an image of her fine hands

striking keys on a white grand, giving air to Bach and Brahms

below the star-lit night, painted on her study’s cupola.


She is my link to otherness, the unseen in me, the odd child,

who rejects the cream for the undercurrent of her dream.


Crisp greens at the grocer, white roots, red fruit and purple aubergines.

The woman flicks brown paper to a cone, scoops pickled kraut:

‘Take it, to nibble on your way.’ Warm wafts of steam rise up

from the cellar of the bakery, a scent of cinnamon lingers in the street.

Taming and bonding takes place; it’s easy to love and be loved

when food is bait and the tongue’s code for paradise is taste.


In shops, daily gossip thrives, turning the fate of familiar faces.

Sweet tongues do sour talk – the time it takes to pay – a hero is made

or falls from grace. Spells are cast: ‘No good will come of it,’

and refrained, ‘Just as I said, I knew it form the start.’

Confused, I veil my face and seek the last shop in the street.

Here my village becomes the village and its many tales can be read.


I inhale the vast promise of virgin books

and a smell of print more exciting than bread.

*     *     *    Ashen

An areal photo of my village, taken by my father.

Then there is me with my mum at the lake …





And a class picture, taken around that time, from primary school. You can click on the images here to enlarge them.



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… my father …

My father, a painter, photographer, recorder of village life, and dedicated outsider, has finally, at 94, surrendered a big chunk of his independence and moved into a smaller, protected environment, at the foot of his beloved Alps, of which he knows the name of every peak. He now lives in a small apartment, crowded by furniture and his memorabilia.

He never showed much interest in me. I should have been a boy, and I’m still trying to let go of this traditionally embedded rejection.

Due to my dad’s poor communication, the past returned like a big wave that threatened to drown me, because, whether we like it or not, we all emulate qualities of our parents. His image here is interesting as emblematic turning point. Unbeknownst to my dad, his skying skills were exploited. He was groomed by the army for Russia. While on a special training he saved the life of a girl, which is why he did not end up in the nightmarish march to Russia and instead worked as an engineer testing aeroplanes.

Thanks to a remarkable woman in the village (thank you Micha) who supported my dad with the logistics of the move during the last few weeks, all went smoothly.

Together with my son and his partner (without them I would have faltered) we sorted the chaos left behind, enduring a few days in the stirred up dust of my dad’s two relationships, the one with my mother, who died much too early, in 1987, and that with another woman, who my dad also lost to illness.

Thanks to marvellous hot sunshine, which allowed us to swim in the lakes and ponds of Bavaria, and thanks to the help of some wonderful friends in Munich and Aalen, the task was made lighter. A leaf I found (below) sums up my sentiments.










*     *     *


The leaf, like my life

Grows from green-sprung verve

Towards brittle glowing gold

Weathered into definition

By burning days

And moist nights

Worn veins gnarl back

To imagined beginnings

While futures curl forward

To the ever-expanding

Where every ending appears

As a glitch in time …


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… The English Goat …

Can’t resist to share this image with you – received as a birthday present yesterday. Natasha was inspired by a recent camping trip and my story ‘Goats are Goats,’ which I posted in three instalments here.

The drawing not only hilariously fits the rainy atmosphere of my story, which happened in the Bavarian Alps, it is also strikingly emblematic for dwellers on the Green Isle. Irrespective of whether such dweller were born here, the character formed by the climate in England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland ripples into the psyche of everyone who can endure what it takes to live on a Green Isle – THE RAIN.

However, it’s the English, in the good old sense, who  talk most about the weather while stoically putting a brave face to it, after all, rain is good for the garden.

Watch the page of this animation artist. Her humour is delicately subversive.




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Course of Mirrors

Magic or what? According to the Hindus everything is food, including sounds and visual vibrations – all kinds of impressions: stories, architectural proportions, union of forms and colours, harmonics and rhythms, dissonance, conflict and all the ideas with which we come in contact. All this, absorbed mechanically and mostly without awareness throughout the day, has made up our being and continues to do so, unless we wake up to this process and adjust our rituals.

*    *    *    *

Psychological laws: excerpt from ‘The Act of Will’ by Roberto Assagioli M.D.

*    *    *    *

1   Images or mental pictures and ideas tend to produce the physical conditions and the external acts that correspond to them. Every image has in itself a motor element.

2   Attitudes, movements, and actions tend to evoke corresponding images and ideas; these, in turn evoke or…

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