Freitag, 7. August 2015

French Assences

No, France,
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 over,
it was the one and only time, then never again.
And, France,
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 strikes
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 police-station,
after some experiences of trickery,
helpful people were present.
But I feel easier, France,
not to understand the endless advertisings in the media
and the many schmaltzy songs.
By the way, in Germany I am in the same situation
when mainly English popsongs
don’t reach the brain so intensely as the
newly increasing German “pseudo-philosophies”.

Your politicians, France, from Paris
evade  my detailed interests as the German ones from Berlin.
But I appreciate the seal on the friendship between
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 anthem
and not at all with your Foreign Legion.
But the realisation of the Enlightenment, France,
is our joint project
for a humanity
which could take the Franco-German reconciliation
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 architecture.

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 be forgiven
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 Saint-Remy,
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 destination
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 magnets
seem to me like a second home.
I am enjoying here southern lifestyle and I relax
at the thundering sea surf or at quiet water surface
when I swim towards the rising sun.

I paid a visit to the ancient “human” of Tautavel,
once again I met Pablo Picasso in Ceret,
I was inspired by Carcasson and, totally up to date,
I had a picnic at the solar furnace in Font-Romeu.
I bathed in the River Tarn under steep canyon walls,
was impressed by Pont d’Arc in the Ardeche-Gorges,
and I went sightseeing along the terrific Verdon Canyon.

Your markets, France, your brocantes everywhere
as well as the international audiences
are offering a permanent flair à la perfume from Grasse
or better: an aroma of the mediteranian ocean of fruit.
There is one bitter pill: The bloody bullfight in Arles
touched me intensely and made me doubt reason of mankind.
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 suitable answers
as I don’t only verify “living it out” with you
but I recognize much of conflict,
thinking of your suburbs, of your nationalism, militarism
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 relations
which are not perceived by most of the Germans
and also of the other Europeans.
Your way through history to the present seems to me
somewhat straighter than the German odysseys.
But concerning your petty burgeois identity,
there might be many international similarities and,
in cosmonomic sense, also insufficiencies.

Your advantage for me:
I am not living there every day, I am always a traveller,
a straying caravan vagabond
who values the uncomplicated contacts with all sorts of people,
but also, with some exceptions, appreciates the certain
non-binding nature of a maintaining distance at any time.

At all times I like to come back to Germany,
just for engaging myself with you, France, again,
and be it only via the German-French TV channel “arte”.

No, France,
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, oligarchies,
monarchies and theocraties,
it consists of a republican individual authenticity
of which previously modest but serious easiness
is wearing particularly your colours, France.

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