mandag den 6. april 2020

Poetry Monday :: Not Afraid

  Diane of On the Border and Jenny of Procrastinating Donkey are taking turns hosting Poetry Monday.
   This week
Diane had said, we'll talk of Things that Scare Us now

 A repeat post from Tuesday February 17, 2015

One of my favourite poets, Halfdan Rasmussen is famous for his playful and equilibristic poems for children. But he had a serious side too; he wrote poems filled with social indignation and courage. The above was translated into English (by Mary McGovern?);  Roger Waters used it as the first verse of his Each Small Candle
Not the torturer will scare me
Nor the body's final fall
Nor the barrels of death's rifles
Nor the shadows on the wall
Nor the night when to the ground
The last dim star of pain, is held
But the blind indifference
Of a merciless unfeeling world.

For next Monday Jenny has given us: Your Favourite Lunch.
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Gentagelse fra tirsdag den 17. februar 2015

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Halfdan Rasmussen er nok mest kendt for sine vidunderlige og sprogligt legende børnerim, men han var også en alvorlig digter med et stort samfundsmæssigt engagement. I dag er det på sin plads med et af hans mere alvorlige digte:

Ikke bødlen gør mig bange.
ikke hadet og torturen,
ikke dødens riffelgange 
eller skyggerne på muren.
Ikke nætterne, når smertens sidste stjerne styrter ned,
men den nådesløse verdens blinde ligegyldighed.
 - Halfdan Rasmussen (1915-2002)

søndag den 5. april 2020

F is for Familiar

  Once again the apprentices were gathered in the barn for education on magical animals.   "Today we're going to hear about cats," Thora said. "Almost everyone, wizards and non-wizards alike agree that cats are an aloof species. In many cultures black cats were associated with witches or wizards and thought to be familiars."
  Heidi put up her hand. "Yes, Heidi," Thora said.
  "When the wizards and witches from the Hungarian Academy of the Arcane were visiting, I noticed that many of them had either cats, owls, toads or other familiars with them. I'm even sure one of them had a bat. Then why don't we have familiars?" Heidi sat down again.
  "The answer is at least partly in what I already have said." Thora answered. "Cats, especially the black cat is associated with witches, the same goes for toads and partly owls. And as many of you Nordic witches and wizards come from non-wizarding families, we decided to not complicate the matter by adding familiars. Some of us do in fact have familiars, but we are all better off if they are not taken notice of. I agree with Cassandra, your dear mother, on this. There's no reason to tempt a further investigation in this school."
  Thora went over to the open window and made a peculiar sound, something between a meow and a hoot. A smallish owl flew through the window and landed on the table in front of her. It hooted softly and folded its wings.
  "This is my familiar," Thora said in a soft voice. "Her name is Brúnleit, she is a Short eared owl, in Icelandic a cat-owl, kattugla. Normally you cannot see the ears, as they only stand up when she feels threatened." The owl turned around, facing the apprentices, Its claws mad clicking noises against the table as she turned.
  Susan sat looking at the small owl. It was maybe half as big as the owls from her grandma's clothes line. But the coloration was much the same. Only the eyes were brighter yellow instead of orange and surrounded by black rings, which looked as if she was wearing a mask. She was beautiful. Susan wanted to stroke the owl.  The owl slowly turned its head back at Thora and then around at the apprentices again. The owl locked eyes with Susan and clicked her beak. Susan smiled.
  Then Thora made the strange sound once again, fed Brúnleit a small biscuit from her pocket and carried her to the window and let her fly into the beautiful Autumn afternoon.

lørdag den 4. april 2020

D is for Delay

  MotherOwl's health is not at its best right now. The A-Z stories I have already written, will be published on the relevant day, But I'm not sure how many new ones I will get written.
  Now is not a good time to come down with anything but Corona - which it is not.

fredag den 3. april 2020

C is for Clogs

  Susan hated clogs. Her mother insisted that they were good for the feet. Every time she said that, Susan replied: "Not for my feet, I always kick myself on that knobbly bone at my ankle. It hurts! a lot!"
  "You'll get used to it!" Mum answered.
  "Get used to it," Susan mumbled, almost slamming the door on her way out, The weather was lovely, it was Saturday, and the street slowly filled with children. At first Susan sat in her garden, reading last week's Mickey Mouse, Linda went to the neighbours, who had just gotten a new guinea pig. But then the girl from across the street and her brothers came out. The girl had long, black hair, braided in a long, long braid. She did not use any hairband.
  "How is it, that your hair never ever unravels itself?" Susan asked, "I would like my hair to do the same, then I could maybe keep Mum happy by not losing my hairbands every day."
  The girl said: "Well my hair has never ever been cut. My Mum says it helps it not to unravel. And then it's curly." Susan sighed. Her hair was straight and boring blonde, and Mum inisted on having it cut at regular intervals at hhirdressers next to the grocery store. She so loved Fatima's long black braid.
  "Do you want to skip a rope with me," Fatima asked, "I just learned how to do double swings, my biggest brother's wife showed me how to."
  "I'd love to," Susan answered with yet another sigh, but I can't jump with these clogs on, the rope often as not snatches underneath them. It''s no fun."
  "Take them off," Fatima said. "Or can't you skip barefoot!"
  "Genius!" Susan exclaimed, hugged the smaller girl, and hurried in after her rope and some other playthings.
  All the long morning they jumped, skipped, played wall ball, keep away, and sevensies. Just before lunch Susan put her feet in the clogs. and had them on when Mum came out and called them in for eating. Susan looked at her socks, they were dirty and not in one piece any more. Quickly she washed hands and feet and hid the socks in the laundry basket.
  After lunch she found a new pair of socks and went playing. This time they played in Susan's garden. They played freeze tag, hide and seek and more rope skipping, this time with a long rope and everybody taking turns. Susan was not very good at this, Linda was better, and Fatima too, even Fatima's younger brother was better actually. But they had loads of fun. Much more fun than in school, where Susan's class mate always made her swing the rope forever, because she was not good at jumping.
  Two of her class mates, Fatima's elder brother and his friend Jens, came and joined in the jumping as well. Susan's clogs stood forgotten in the driveway. Jens had a Pogo-stick. It was a new craze, and they all took turns trying it. It was fun, heaps of fun.
  "Wonderful!" Susan said as she returned from her trip to the corner of the street and back and gave the Pogo-stick back to the waiting Jens. "My birthday is soon, I'd like a Pogo-stick. It is really fun."
  "You did very well," Jens said, his surprise showing. I did not think you were good at jumping, you always fumble at the rope skipping, but you were the one doing best on the Pogo!" Susan went a bit red, but she was happy.  Soon, far too soon the sun sunk behind the houses, and the mothers came put, calling their children home for dinner. "See you tomorrow!" they called, as they drifted off in twos or threes.
  Once again Susan put her holey and dirty socks deep inside the laundry basket. But laundry baskets are not good at keeping secrets, and  mummies are not stupid.
  Some days later, Susan's Mum caught Susan in the door as she returned home from school. "Susan. What on earth is happening to your socks?"
  "My socks?" Susan asked innocently. "Why?"
  Mum sighed: "You know perfectly well what I mean. Your socks!" She pulled a dirty, holey sock from her pocket. "How did it, and all the rest of your socks, end up like this?"
  "Oh!" Susan said. "It just happened. Fatima asked me if I wanted to skip together with her, but I could not skip with those, those ... idiotic cogs on." Susan knew better than to swear around her mother. "I fell over the rope. Then I tried without them, and it was just perfect, wonderful to be skipping again."
  "Susan!" Mum said, "If you pull off your clogs, then please pull off your socks as well. But I think I won't buy you any more clogs after this."
  Mom saw Susan's smile and added. "Don't be too happy. I'm going to buy you a pair of those natural shoes, they should be healthy for your feet as well!"
  This time Susan was careful to hide her smile. She loved running barefoot, and "duckfeet" as those shoes were jokingly called after their ugly looks was almost as good - at least according to the two flower power girls in her class.
  No more clogs!

 Note: Now we're really back in time. We are in the Spring before the first summer at Unicorn Farm. Susan will have a Pogo-stick, a red one, for her birthday. And she loved the "duckfeet" shoes. 

torsdag den 2. april 2020

B is for Bestiary

After the Lion dancers and all the other Christmas guests from near and far had gone home again, the Unicorn Farm was a quiet place. Many of the apprentices stayed i the guest rooms, Susan stayed with Heidi and her family, enjoying the few days left of the Christmas holidays before normal school was supposed to begin again.
  As they lay in their beds in Heidi's room, Heidi asked Susan. "I saw Ella, Teiko and Kensuke slipping you a book, what was that?" 
  "Oh, haven't I told you about it already. The book, I bought in Paris together with my parents, Ella's Granny borrowed it to copy it. They promised to bring it to me. I intend to give it to Thora or Tähti and Taavi. It is mostly a bestiary with some wild ideas about some the animals. I remember reading through a chapter on black roosters being immortal while driving home."
  Can I see it," Heidi asked, "and is there anything on transformation in it?"
  "Of course you can see it, but it had better wait until tomorrow in the dayligth."
  "Is it that scary?" Heidi asked.
  "No, it's not that, it's the print. It is hard to read even in good light. It's an old German book, it's printed mostly in Blackletters and blurred too. And here and there some notes are added in handwriting. I can't read that very well."
  "I'll wait, then."

They slept. Next morning after an ample breakfast they studied the Bestiary before going off for Unicorn Farm. "You're right," Heidi said" I cannot read this print at all, except for the names of animals and such. Those letters there look more like the ones I know."
  "It's because Latin, French and Italian and  so on are printed using another type. My Auntie G taught me how to read Blackletters and Deutshce Schrift, that's the crazy handwriting there," Susan said pointing to an almost illegible scrawl in the book. "She told me that there existed two different types of letters side by side. Blackletters and our normal letters, Antiqua. And they fought for supremacy, and in the end Antiqua won everywhere, last of all in Germany, where some old people still use Deutshce Schrift."
  "Maybe Lis could help us, she's a handwriting nerd, as you might remember from last Christmas." Heidi said,  nodding  her head at the book.
  "Oh yes, I do remember," Susan said. "I think I'll wait a couple of days to hand over this book. Let's try and get Lis help us after school today. Now I think we should be off to The Farm."

Note: This happens in the second Christmas holiday on Unicorn Farm. Wizards and witches from other schools and academies have been visiting, and the Lion dancers from Germany were among them. We will probably hear more of their visit under L for Lion Dancers; and maybe even more about what Susan and the magician's children discover in the old Bestiary.