Poetry: Summer Delights of The Schwarzwald (Satis Shroff)

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To lie in bed

And listen to the birds sing.

I peer at the pine trees above,

Heavily laden with fluffy snow,

Like sentinels of the Black Forest.

I espy something moving:

Three deer with moist black noses,

Sniffing the Kappler air,

Strut among the low bushes

In all their elegance,

Only to vanish silently,

Into the recesses of the Foret Noir.

I hear the robin, 


With its clear, loud, pearly tone,

As it greets the day.

Just before sunrise the black bird, 


Which flies high on the tree tops,

Delivers its early arias.

The great titmouse stretches its wings

And starts to sing.

The brown sparrows turn up

With their repertoire,

Rap in the garden,

Twitter and chirp aloud.

All this noise makes the bullfinch alert,

For it also wants to be heard.

It starts its high pitched melody

With gusto in the early hours.

The starling clears its throat:

What comes is whistles,

Mingled with smacking sounds.

The woodpecker, 


Isn’t an early bird,

Starts its day late.

Pecks with its beak,

At a hurried tempo.

If that doesn’t get you out of your bed,

I’m sure you’re on holiday,

Or thank God it’s Sunday.

Other feathered friends

Who frequent our Black Forest house,

Are the green finch, the jay,

Goldfinch which we call ‘Stieglitz,’

Larks, thrush and the oriole,

The Bird of the Year,

On rare occasions.


English, German, Latin names

Robin (Rotkehlchen): Erithacus rubecula

Black bird (Amsel): Turdus merula

Titmouse (Kohlmeise): Parus major

Bullfinch (Rotfinke): 

Greenfinch (jay): Chloris chloris

Starling: Sturnus vulgaris

Woodpecker (Specht): 

Stieglitz: Carduelis carduelis

Oriole: Oriolus oriolus

* * *

Summer Delights of the Schwarzwald (Satis Shroff)

I sat in the garden

With Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure

On my lap,

And saw a small butterfly

With dark spots on its frail wings,

Violet patterns on its tail.

It was Aglais utricae

Flattering lightly

Between the marigolds

And chrysanthemums.

The Potentilla nepalensis

Was growing well

Under the shade of the rhododendrons.

The great pumpkin was spreading

Its leafy tentacles everywhere.

The tomatoes were fighting for light

Hiding beneath its gigantic green leaves.

A Papilio machaon with its swallow-tail

Came from nowehere.

The laughter of the children,

As they swung in the garden’s two swings

Were a delight to one’s soul.

Little Florentin’s fear of the bees,

Natasha’s morbid fear of spiders,

Elena’s garden gymnastics

And Julian’s delight in discovering

New insects, snails and snakes.

Holding hands

 We strolled in our garden.

You watered the flowers and trees,

I removed long, brown snails,

A hobby-gardener of Nepalese descent,

In a lovely white house

 With character in Freiburg-Kappel,

An Allemanic stronghold.

Once the subject of dispute

Between Austria and France,

Now a sleepy residential area

Of Freiburg im Breisgau.


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