this was not love at first glance.
We met at the time in 1959,
your tricolour flew over the garrison in
Donaueschingen, southern Germany
and I lived opposite in a refugee home.
Till then I had been acquainted with Russians
only as occupying power.
Ten years later, France,
a study-trip took me to you,
to your richness of culture and nature.
In Paris a word of anti-German contempt came
it was the one and only time, then never again.
it took but quite a few years,
then we met again and again.
You were friendly, charming, open-minded,
perhaps a little careless, yet full of civilization,
so skillfully living, although ever prepared for
and full of social burdens.
I am ashamed, France,
having not learned your language.
You made it quite easy for me
to succeed in English, recently in German, too.
And when serious difficulties came along,
at the doctor’s, for example, or at the
after some experiences of trickery,
helpful people were present.
But I feel easier, France,
not to understand the endless advertisings in
and the many schmaltzy songs.
By the way, in Germany I am in the same
when mainly English popsongs
don’t reach the brain so intensely as the
newly increasing German “pseudo-philosophies”.
Your politicians, France, from Paris
detailed interests as the German ones from Berlin.
But I appreciate the seal on the friendship
Germany and France as the greatest issue
that politics achieved ever.
Let us, France, never doubt on that.
Your historical heritage, France,
Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité,
was drenched in blood after the revolution,
it also is not convenient with your national
and not at all with your Foreign Legion.
But the realisation of the Enlightenment,
is our joint project
for a humanity
which could take the Franco-German
as an example to follow.
Verdun is a reminder.
Your big cathedrals, France,
like the small mouldy and poor churches prove,
as the German minsters and the state-funded
churches of this country,
the unsuitability for preventing wars.
They are museums with partially fascinating
What is significant about the different names of
the Alsation “Sauerkraut” or “choucroute”?
The River Rhine is connecting and is passing by
as a frontier of yesterday.
Your way-laying, France, on your motorways can
as you offer clear infrastructures and free
relaxing quality of travelling.
I cannot claim, France,
that I am really knowing you.
Again and again I felt drawn to your coasts,
I climbed up your huge dune of Le Pilat,
the beaches of St. Tropéz are familiar to me.
From Mont Ventoux I peered into the Provence,
many places there I have visited not only once.
I walked in Vincent van Gogh’s tracks in
Paul Cesanne’s in Aix-en-Provence,
Pierre-August Renoir’s in Cagnes sur Mer.
On Nietzsche’s Path I ascended to Èze,
and often on long journeys, my stopover
is Denis Diderot’s morbid rock town of Langres.
The Roussillon with its Cathare castles, the
Pre-Pyrenees and the
coasts around Argeles sur Mer with their famous tourist
seem to me like a second home.
I am enjoying here southern lifestyle and I
at the thundering sea surf or at quiet water
when I swim towards the rising sun.
I paid a visit to the ancient “human” of
once again I met Pablo Picasso in Ceret,
I was inspired by Carcasson and, totally up to
I had a picnic at the solar furnace in
I bathed in the River Tarn under steep canyon
was impressed by Pont d’Arc in the
and I went sightseeing along the terrific Verdon
Your markets, France, your brocantes everywhere
as well as the international audiences
are offering a permanent flair à la perfume from
or better: an aroma of the mediteranian ocean of
There is one bitter pill: The bloody bullfight
touched me intensely and made me doubt reason of
But even your contradictions, France, don’t
reduce your attractiveness.
You should be lenient because
I have appropriated you simply by thought.
When I come along inconsistencies in Germany,
I look at you, but in no way I am finding
as I don’t only verify “living it out” with you
but I recognize much of conflict,
thinking of your suburbs, of your nationalism,
and some esoteric aberration or of the exemplary
decadence at the Cote d’Azur.
To me you are important as a European root,
different from Germany in her American vassal
which are not perceived by most of the Germans
and also of the other Europeans.
Your way through history to the present seems to
somewhat straighter than the German odysseys.
But concerning your petty burgeois identity,
there might be many international similarities
in cosmonomic sense, also insufficiencies.
Your advantage for me:
I am not living there every day, I am always a
a straying caravan vagabond
who values the uncomplicated contacts with all
sorts of people,
but also, with some exceptions, appreciates the
non-binding nature of a maintaining distance at
At all times I like to come back to Germany,
just for engaging myself with you, France,
and be it only via the German-French TV channel
I am not addicted to you,
therefor I’ve visited many other countries also.
I am concerned for a true identity of values.
This doesn’t exist in dictatorships,
monarchies and theocraties,
it consists of a republican individual
of which previously modest but serious easiness
is wearing particularly your colours, France.
Labels: Enlightenment, Franco-German reconciliation, French attractiveness