Language Tangle

Post script:

After arriving back from Berlin, I’ve been left with many warm memories.

While over there, I wrote down some quick impressions as I went. These may become something more in due course, maybe not. They may simply remain just as they are. Travel jottings.

So far only one poem has come from that visit.


foxes or squirrels 

Foxes; Fuchs; 

On your dress, little girl; Madchen; or are they

Red squirrels; rotes  Eichhornchen?

Such queries and aspects,

viewpoints and debate,

as her family and I sit in a broiling sun

by the Baltic

eating herring; silver and black and grey

as a storm in the sky.

I am eating the language of silver sky

and sea on this last day of summer; Sommer;

eating the language

my granddaughter speaks.

She does not care

what they are; foxes or squirrels; Fuchs or Eichhornchen;

it is simply her favourite dress,

for now anyway, as she eats her potato cake

with apple sauce and hardly ever looks at me

as I drink her in with my eyes.

I am her ‘English’ grandmother

the one she needs to think twice

before speaking to in that language, English,

that does not flow as fast for her as Deutsch.

She loves me.

One day she will know this.

Later, her uncle settles it.

They are squirrels on her dress,

see the little acorns; die kleinen Eicheln;

each squirrel holds?

Kay McKenzie Cooke


Writer from Dunedin, New Zealand.

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