… verwandlungen – transformations …

Bilder des Vaters – Wörter der Tochter                                                                                   A Father’s Images – A Daughter’s Words 

Auf dem wilden Kaiser

My father, now in his 90s, recently recovered from the shock of a fall. Brought to the fore, mortality reshuffles experiences – a mysterious process, different for everyone, young or old. Whether relationships are supportive or troubled by frustrated expectations, in the deep cavern of the psyche experiences assume fresh meaning when endings are contemplated, or happen suddenly. The unconscious speaks a surreal language.

A few years ago, my father took photos of a phenomenon on the island of Fuerteventura, where, in some places, when the tides recede, the white shingle derived from bleached shells and sea creatures mingles with the black sand of volcanic rock. The bizarre sand drawings my father came upon inspired me to write short lines in German, here with English translations. The alliance of images and words surprised us both, hinting at an underlying creative connection between us that could not have been otherwise expressed.

Im Sand träumt das Angesicht der Zeit … The Face of Time Dreams in Sands

Sand - no1


Ich seh Dich, du siehst mich noch nicht.

Meine Stimme klingt von der Ferne

In deinem Muschelraum

Geheimnisvoll im Werden.

Manche glauben ich sei nur Sand,

Die irren sich gewaltig.

Ich bin ein Traum wie Du.


I see you – you don’t see me yet

My voice sounds from far away

In your snail chamber, secretly becoming

Some think I’m only sand

They’re mistaken

I am a dream – like you

Sand - no22

Tränen waschen mich rein von der Macht

Das war mir eine Last.

Ich will ich mich nun auflösen

Im Gesang von schönen Symphonien.


Tears cleanse me of power

Which burdened me

Now I will dissolve

In tunes of beautiful symphonies

Sand - no 3



Ich bin ein komischer Vogel – mit Hörnern und Brüsten

Wie Du trag ich das schweigende Anglitz der fliessenden Zeit


I am a strange bird – with horns and breasts

Like you I wear the silent face of fluid time




Sand - no 44

Die blassen Gestalten um mich wollen mich beschützen

Als ob ich zu klein bin fur die Welt – vielleicht ahnen Sie

Dass ich ein Drache werden will der die Welt erschüttert


The pale figures surrounding me mean to protect

As if I was too small for the world – maybe they suspect

That I want to become a dragon to shake the world


Sand - no 5



Mein kleiner Tanz ist ansteckened – bald wird der ganze Strand

Bevölkert sein mit Kindern die Hände fassen in Ringelreihen


My little dance is catching – soon the whole beach

Will fill with children who hold hands in Ring a Ring o’ Roses



Sand - no6



Vom Wind verwischt und verwandelt bin ich

Das restlose Gemüt einer schlafenden Seele


Blurred by the wind and transformed

I’m the restless mind of a sleeping soul



Sand - no 77

Meine Flügel sind mir ans Hirn gewachsen

Wer weiss who ich dahin mit segeln werde

Mein Herz blickt schon längst ins Unbekannte


My wings have grown to my brain

Who knows whereto I shall sail with them

My heart has long been gazing into the unknown


Images: Ludwig Weiss – Words: HMA Venema

And then there is ‘The Story of the Sands,’ one of my favourite Sufi stories. Here told by Terence Stamp: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNasXE5_OTI


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15 responses to “… verwandlungen – transformations …

  1. Reblogged this on philipparees and commented:
    So much encapsulated in these poems by a very good friend. Do enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful for all kinds of reasons, some stated, some not. The reading was a fitting ribbon to tie up what these imply. Lovely. Have reblogged

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I fell last year, pulling a futon down the stairs, visitors coming; luckily, I fell on to the futon. A short story with a happy ending. Later, I tried to reconstruct the fall, and realized that falling is itself a kind of deconstruction of a moment. … Like very much the beach scene, the children, and the whole idea of paring the words with the abstract sand scenes. Good work.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Jo. My father grumbled that people lacked imagination. He was curious what I’d see. That was a first. So the words arrived as in a mirror.

      You had a lucky day. Falling is a peculiar sensation, deconststruction indeed, when we’re unable to catch the moment before we hit the ground. To start with, it takes us the best part of a year to rise. No wonder we long for wings.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh Ashen, I can relate on SO many different levels. My husband is recovering from a serious surgery. However, he also has extremely low blood pressure so he passes out very easily. The doctors are working to rectify that problem, however his passing out has terrified me and his children. The end of life stage can be a shock, unexpected, and we are so ill prepared.

    But your poetry matches your dad’s sand pictures so magically. I loved every word. What a wonderful connection for you to share with your father. I’m applauding you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • So difficult for you, with worry ricocheting in your family. How not to be gripped by the anxiety and frustration that comes with lack of control? It’s also a challenge to change gear, to reduce speed. The reward is a kind of reframing. You touch on this in your last blog post. I, too, catch myself smiling at small incidents that I’d otherwise miss.
      I’m happy the sand dialogue speaks to you. It’s never a given with images that arise from the dark.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautiful photographs on which to ponder and reflect Ashen thank you. Shifting sands, shifting lives …a universe in a grain of sand. I wish your father well, and recovery from his fall …

    Liked by 2 people

  6. It’s hard not to imagine that there is a message in those pictures so graciously donated by the tide. Lovely poems you got out of them.


  7. Thankyou Ashen.
    I have been struggling to cross the sands, relying on tried and true methodology. I know the wind exists, however individuality precludes me broadening my resources.
    As mortality confronts us, survival becomes paramount. The recent death of a friend leaves me with a sense of inertia, becalmed by the an in-willingness to trust the wind.
    Joe’s futon episode inspires me to perhaps seek out the wind while constructing a soft landing should it be necessary.B

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Wow.. Beautiful photo, images and words. Thank you! It has reminded me of my dad on his skis, a photo taken by my mom before they were married in 1949. A lovely memory evoked on this snowy day. Will put on my skis now and join him in spirit in nature 🎿

    Liked by 1 person

    • Join your dad in spirit … maybe do some snow painting …
      Lucky you, to be skiing. I used to, decades ago, when the Alps were close and it snowed several feet, every winter. In the UK we had only a few lonely flakes sinking into the green grass this year.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What a beautiful combination.

    Liked by 1 person

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