CHIRPS IN MY GARDEN (Satis Shroff)
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.
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
Greenfinch (jay): Chloris chloris
Starling: Sturnus vulgaris
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
Between the marigolds
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.
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.