the simplest, poorest words
as if they had never been said.
We were saying
sun, light, grass
as people pronounce
life, love, strength.
Remembered how we cleared
that eternal, accursed glacier
from the city streets – and an old man
stamped his foot against the pavement,
shouting, ‘Asphalt, friends, asphault!’
As if he were a sailor long ago,
calling out ‘Land, land!’
Ольга Фёдоровна Берггольц (Olga Fyodorovna Berggolts)
a.k.a. Olga Fyodorovna Bergholz
translated by Robert Chandler
Additional information: A Soviet poet, writer, playwright and journalist. She is most famous for her work on the Leningrad radio during the city’s blockade, when she became the symbol of the city’s strength and determination.
There was an old man of Blackheath
Who sat on his set of false teeth.
Said he, with a start,
‘O, Lord, bless my heart!
I have bitten myself underneath!’
– by Anon.
Brap, Brap, Brap
‘Brap, brap, brap’ said the youth to the old man gesturing with pointed index and middle finger.
‘Brap?’ asked the old man.
‘Yeh, you get me old timer?’ replied the youth.
‘Oh’, began the old man, ‘it’s just I think you are mispronouncing it. My friend could help you if you like. Shall I introduce her?’
‘Yeh, whatever’ spat the youth.
So it was the old man reached into his coat and gently pulled out his beloved from her folded linen sheathe. Her silver lips formed a circle in awe at the sight of the boy and spoke that word but once: ‘brap’.
Before the syllable had even echoed upon the walls the youth fell in supplication, grasping his bosom, so struck was he by her utterance. His heart spilt forth and he laid down his weary brow upon the floor in silence.
Looking down at the youth, smiling paternally, the old timer uttered quietly ‘I got you…’ And just to be sure the youth had learnt his lesson, before he departed, the old man’s dearest uttered the word three more times: ‘Brap, brap, brap’.
So today a very short and unpolished vignette I wrote 19 November 2014 just to have a different kind of post on here. To be honest I could have probably done a second one with the same set up but the ‘beloved’ having a ‘sharp tongue’ with ‘piercing words’ or something similar.
Hopefully soon I will do something a bit different yet again in a few days like a review of a book/television programme/film or write one of the ‘In My Hometown Strange Things Happen…’ quasi-fictional pieces I have been intending to do just to experiment and see what feels enjoyable and a potential focus for this blog if I decide to go down a particular route.
Feedback, comments or any advice about blogging are welcome.