Sonntag, 20. August 2017

Harry Graham (43)

Das Sonntagsgedicht aus »The Motley Muse«:
Harry Graham: Perspective

[»It is sad and humiliating, but true, that our humanity is a matter
of geography.« — The Pall Mall Gazette.]


When told that twenty thousand Japs
   Are drowned in a typhoon,
We feel a trifle shocked, perhaps,
   But neither faint nor swoon.
»Dear me! How tragic!« we repeat;
   »Ah, well! Such things must be!«
Our ordinary lunch we eat
   And make a hearty tea;
Such loss of life (with shame I write)
Creates no loss of appetite!

When on a Rocky Mountain ranch
   Two hundred souls, all told,
Are buried in an avalanche.
   The tidings leave us cold.
»Poor fellows!« we remark. »Poor things!«
   »All crushed to little bits!«
Then go to Bunty Pulls the Strings,
   Have supper at the Ritz,
And never even think again
Of land-slides in the State of Maine!

But when the paper we take in
   Describes how Mr. Jones
Has slipped on a banana-skin
   And broken sev'ral bones,
»Good Heavens! What a world!« we shout
   »Disasters never cease!«
»What is the Government about?«
   »And where are the Police?«
Distraught by such appalling news
All creature comforts we refuse!

Though plagues exterminate the Lapp,
   And famines ravage Spain,
They move us not like some mishap
   To a suburban train.
Each foreign tale of fire or flood,
   How trumpery it grows
Beside a broken collar-stud,
   A smut upon the nose!
For Charity (Alas! how true!)
Begins At Home — and ends there, too!

Sonntag, 13. August 2017

Harry Graham (42)

Aus »Baby's Baedeker«:
Harry Graham: Portugal

You are requested, if you please,
   To note that here a people lives
Referred to as the Portuguese;
   A fact which naturally gives
The funny man a good excuse
To call his friend a Portugoose.

Moral:
Avoid the obvious, if you can,
And never be a funny man.

Sonntag, 6. August 2017

Harry Graham (41)

Heute ein Vierzeiler aus »Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes« + meine Übersetzung:

Harry Graham: Appreciation

Auntie, did you feel no pain
   Falling from that apple tree?
Will you do it, please, again?
   'Cos my friend here didn't see.

-

Würdigung

Tantchen, fühlst du keine Qual
   nach dem Sturz vom Apfelbaum?
Fall doch bitte noch einmal,
   denn mein Freund hier sah es kaum.

Sonntag, 30. Juli 2017

Harry Graham (40)

Aus den Anfangstagen des Radios berichtet das folgende Gedicht aus »Adam's Apples« (1930):
Harry Graham: The Home Breaker

There was a time – for ever past! –
   When, as the shades of night descended,
My troubles to the wind I cast
And, freed from worldly cares at last,
   My daily labours ended,
I hied me home, at evening's close,
To sweet repast and calm repose.

Beside the fire I loved to sit,
   Enjoying well-earned peace and solace,
And, as I smoked, my wife would knit,
Or else she'd read aloud a bit
   From Proust or Edgar Wallace,
Or we'd exchange our artless views
Upon the last Divorce-Court news.

Sweet moments (I recall them yet!)
   Before our conjugal estrangement,
Ere that well-meaning friend she met
Who gave my wife a wireless set,
   A portable arrangement,
Has made this home of ours a hell
Where peace and rest can never dwell.

A tireless wireless devotee
   With knitting now upon the floor cast,
My spouse no longer reads to me,
But listens-in to 5GB,
   To Shipping News and Forecast,
To talks on »British Fungi« or
»The Insect Life of Ecuador.«

And though I've caught her complex too,
   It strains our intimate relations,
And bitter quarrels must ensue
When both are trying to »get through«
   To diff'rent wireless stations;
For when I long to listen in
To Aberdeen, she wants Berlin!

In vain I grumble: »Darling, come!
   You make existence double hard if,
Each time I pick up Hilversum,
You move the tuner with your thumb
   And switch me back to Cardiff!
I know that you prefer Dundee,
But there's no place like Rome for me!«

          *          *          *          *

Wife of my bosom, cease to frown;
   If you have smiles to wear, please wear one!
We're still the happiest pair in town!
The battery has just run down,
   And so, as we've no spare one,
We'll read and gossip as of yore,
And home will be a home once more!

Sonntag, 23. Juli 2017

Harry Graham (39)

Aus »Deportmental Ditties and Other Verses«:
Harry Graham: The Mombasa Massacre
(Ex-President Roosevelt, who has been shooting big game in South Africa, accompanied by a cinematograph operator, has included two fine giraffes in his bag.)

O Theodore, in days of yore,
   Your courage I admired!
What fame you won, with rod and gun,
   What laurels you acquired!
The grizzly bear, within his lair,
   You bravely would pursue,
And goodness knows what buffaloes
   And other things you slew,
Ere, on the cinematograph,
I saw you slaughter a giraffe!

That kindly beast (alas! deceased!)
   Is harmless as a cat;
It seems a shame you shouldn't aim
   At higher game than that!
Go forth and track the savage yak,
   Go seek the tiger's gore;
Pursue the gnu, the kangaroo,
   The lion and the boar!
Go rob the bison of her calf,
But oh! don't murder the giraffe!

For if, in short, your views of sport
   Such massacres allow,
You'd better stay at home and slay
   The cart-horse and the cow;
Or men will doubt those tales about
   Your sportsmanship and grit,
Who read with gloom, upon your tomb,
   In blood-red letters writ:
»Here Lies – (a fearful epitaph!) –
The Man Who Murdered a Giraffe!«

Mittwoch, 19. Juli 2017

Der Radfahrer

Der Radfahrer

Der Berg ist steil. Die Abfahrt kurz.
Dann kommt er auf die Grade.
Nun naht das Ziel. Beginn des Spurts.
Es regnete. Das ist ihm schnurz.
Er tritt und tritt und tritt und Sturz.
Tja, schade.

Sonntag, 16. Juli 2017

Harry Graham (38)

Das Eröffnungsgedicht aus einer späteren Ausgabe von »Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes«. Was auch immer P. P. bedeuten mag (und ob es sich wohl um eine tatsächliche, Graham bekannte Person handelte?); mir gefällt der Gedanke, dass es eine heute ungebräuchliche, nicht mehr recherchierbare Abkürzung ist, die sich an jeden Leser richtet:
Harry Graham: Dedicated to P. P.
(»Qui connait son sourire a connu le parfait.«)

I need no Comments of the Press,
No critic's cursory caress,
No paragraphs my book to bless
With praise, or ban with curses,
So long as You, for whom I write,
Whose single notice I invite,
Are still sufficiently polite
To smile upon my verses.

If You should seek for Ruthless Rhymes
(In memory of Western climes),
And, for the sake of olden times,
Obtain this new edition,
You must not be surprised a bit,
Nor even deem the act unfit,
That I have dedicated it
To You, without permission.


And if You chance to ask me why,
It is sufficient, I reply,
That You are You, and I am I,—
To put the matter briefly.
That I should dedicate to You
Can only interest us two;
The fact remains, then, that I do,
Because I want to—chiefly.

And if these verses can beguile
From those grey eyes of yours a smile,
You will have made it well worth while
To seek your approbation;
No further meed
Of praise they need,
But must succeed,
And do indeed,
If they but lead
You on to read
Beyond the Dedication.