Satis Shroff in Lyrik Zeitschrift Berlin

Lyrik Zeitschrift Berlin:
Gedichte Nepals

Wenn man an die Gedichte Nepals des 20. Jahrhunderts denkt, fallen einem Dichter wie: Lekhnath Paudyal, Bhanu Bhakta Acharya, Balkrishna Sama und Lakshmiprasad Devkota in den Sinn. Nepals vielfältige und anspruchsvolle Literatur ist reich an Gedichten, da fast jeder Schriftsteller auch Gedichte schreibt. Das Gedicht hat immer eine besondere Rolle gespielt, weil es als Mittel benutzt wurde, um sozialkritische und politische Fragen in einer Gesellschaft zu postulieren, in der Regierungen Medien zensierten. Zensusfreie Literatur gibt es in Nepal erst seit November 1990 mit der Umwandlung der absoluten Monarchie in eine konstitutionelle Hindu-Monarchie mit demokratischen Grundprinzipien.

Die Zeit wird uns zeigen, ob in Nepal eine tatsächliche Meinungsfreiheit unter der Maoisten geben wird, da Nepal eine republikanische Staat geworden ist.

Die nepalesische Literatur beschreibt auch die Situation in anderen Himalayastaaten. Die Hochburg der Nepali Literatur findet man in Kathmandu aber auch in Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong, Assam, Nagaland und Gangtok (Sikkim). Hier gibt es literarische Gesellschaften und jährliche Auszeichnungen für Nepali Schriftsteller und Dichter. Die bekanntesten Preise sind: Royal Nepal Akademie Preis, Tribhuvan Puraskar, Madan Puraskar, Sajha Preis, Nepali Literatur Gesellschaft Preis (Darjeeling), Nepali Akademie Preis (West Bengalen) und Nationale Literatur Akademie Preis (Delhi). Budathoki’s Best Nepalese On-line Writer Preis (International Nepali Literature Society, USA). / Satis Shroff, American Chronicle 14.11.

Satis Shroff has also written political poetry, about the war in Nepal, the sad fate of the Nepalese people, the emergence of neo-fascism in Germany. His anthology of poems has been published by'Katmandu, Katmandu.'

His bicultural perspective makes his poems rich, full of awe, and at the same time heartbreakingly sad. He carries the fate of his people to readers in the West, and his task of writing is a very important one. His true gift is to invent Nepalese metaphors and make them accessible to the West through his poetry.

Satis Shroff is the published author of three books on Im Schatten des Himalaya (book of poems in German), Through Nepalese Eyes (travelogue), Katmandu, Katmandu (poetry and prose anthology by Nepalese authors, edited by Satis Shroff). His lyrical works have been published in literary poetry sites: Slow Trains, International Zeitschrift, World Poetry Society (WPS), New Writing North, Muses Review, The Megaphone, The Megaphone, Pen Himalaya, Interpoetry. Satis Shroff is a member of “Writers of Peace”, poets, essayists, novelists (PEN), World Poetry Society (WPS) and The Asian Writer. Satis Shroff was Poet of the Week on February 18,2007 and again on June 22, 2008.
Poetry Hearings, Berlin Mitte

In Berlin gibt es ein englischsprachiges Lyrikfestival, die Poetry Hearings, von manchen mit einer Spur Übertreibung "das beste Lyrikfestival der Welt" genannt haben. Denn in der Stadt leben mehr englischsprachige Dichter als jemals zuvor. Vielleicht ist es zu früh, Berlin das Paris der Nullerjahre zu nennen, sagt der Veranstalter Alistair Noon. Aber die Stadt zieht Dichter, Künstler und Musiker an, ebenso aber ein Publikum für sie. Jetzt findet es wieder statt, Freitag 16. bin Sonntag 18.11. Außer in Berlin lebenden Autoren kommen inzwischen auch Dichter aus Europa und Übersee. Expatica

Poetry Hearings stellt Lyriker englischer Sprache vor, besonders solche aus Kontinentaleuropa. Quer zu allen Einteilungen versammelt das Festival Autoren, die in verschiedenen Traditionen stehen: Mainstream, Experimentelle, Formale, Freilaufende ("free-ranging"), Performance- und Prosagedichte. Lesenswerte, gute Arbeiten gibt es in allen diesen Formen; das Festival will ihnen ein Forum bieten.


To lie in bed
And listen to the birds sing.
I peer at the pine trees above,
Heavily laden with fluffy snow,
Like sentinels of the Black Forest.

I espy something moving:
Three deer with moist black noses,
Sniffing the Kappler air,
Strut among the low bushes
In all their elegance,
Only to vanish silently,
Into the recesses of the Foret Noir.

I hear the robin,
With its clear, loud, pearly tone,
As it greets the day.
Just before sunrise the black bird,
Which flies high on the tree tops,
Delivers its early arias.
The great titmouse stretches its wings
And starts to sing.

The brown sparrows turn up
With their repertoire,
Rap in the garden,
Twitter and chirp aloud.
All this noise makes the bullfinch alert,
For it also wants to be heard.
It starts its high pitched melody
With gusto in the early hours.

The starling clears its throat:
What comes is whistles,
Mingled with smacking sounds.
The woodpecker,
Isn’t an early bird,
Starts its day late.
Pecks with its beak,
At a hurried tempo.

If that doesn’t get you out of your bed,
I’m sure you’re on holiday,
Or thank God it’s Sunday.
Other feathered friends
Who frequent our Black Forest house,
Are the green finch, the jay,
Goldfinch which we call ‘Stieglitz,’
Larks, thrush and the oriole,
The Bird of the Year,
On rare occasions.

English, German, Latin names
Robin (Rotkehlchen): Erithacus rubecula
Black bird (Amsel): Turdus merula
Titmouse (Kohlmeise): Parus major
Bullfinch (Rotfinke):
Greenfinch (jay): Chloris chloris
Starling: Sturnus vulgaris
Woodpecker (Specht):
Stieglitz: Carduelis carduelis
Oriole: Oriolus oriolus

* * *


I sat in the garden
With Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure
On my lap,
And saw a small butterfly
With dark spots on its frail wings,
Violet patterns on its tail.
It was Aglais utricae
Flattering lightly
Between the marigolds
And chrysanthemums.

The Potentilla nepalensis
Was growing well
Under the shade of the rhododendrons.
The great pumpkin was spreading
Its leafy tentacles everywhere.
The tomatoes were fighting for light
Hiding beneath its gigantic green leaves.

A Papilio machaon with its swallow-tail
Came from nowehere.
The laughter of the children,
As they swung in the garden’s two swings
Were a delight to one’s soul.

Little Florentin’s fear of the bees,
Natasha’s morbid fear of spiders,
Elena’s garden gymnastics
And Julian’s delight in discovering
New insects, snails and snakes.

Holding hands
We strolled in our garden.
You watered the flowers and trees,
I removed long, brown snails,
A hobby-gardener of Nepalese descent,
In a lovely white house
With character in Freiburg-Kappel,
An Allemanic stronghold.

Once the subject of dispute
Between Austria and France,
Now a sleepy residential area
Of Freiburg im Breisgau.

* * *


A pair of heavy scissors fly
In a dark Hauptschule classroom,
Thrown by an Aussiedler school-kid,
Near Freiburg’s Japanese Garden.

The scissors can slash your face,
Or mine.
You can be maimed for life,
Like Scarface,
If the sharp ends
Bury in your eyes,
Or mine.

Let there be light.
Vitaly, a boy from the former east Bloc
Comes to the West,
In search of ancestors and heritage.
What he gets is rejection but freedom.
Freedom to do as he pleases,
With pleasant negative sanctions.
‘Even in jail they have TV,’
He says with a laugh.

He grows up in a ghetto,
And his anger burns.
Anger at his ageing parents,
Who forced him to come to the West,
But who are themselves
Lost in this new world
Of democratic, liberal values,
Luxurious and electronic consumer delights,
Where everyone cares for himself
Or herself,
Where the old structures of the society
They clung to in the East Bloc days
Don’t exist anymore.

A brave new world,
A Schlaraffenland,
Where economy and commerce flourishes,
Where the individual’s view is important,
To himself,
To herself
And to others.

The East Bloc boy learns
To assert himself in the West,
Not with solid arguments and rhetoric
But with his two fists.
He fancies cars and their contents,
Breaks open the windows,
Takes all he wants.
Brushes with the police
At an early age.

English, Latin and French at school,
Irritate him,
He prefers to play the clown:
To dance on the table,
Make suggestive moves with his groin,
High on designer drugs,
High all the time.
Opens the classroom door,
Sees a girl from the seventh grade,
And yells at her:
‘Screw you after school.’

His behaviour brings laughter
But he turns off the girls he admires.
He grins and insults his peers.
Rejected by youngsters,
Admonished by grown-ups.
He watches the society.

Chic clothes, streamlined cars, plastic money,
But he forgets that there’s personal performance
Behind these worldly riches.
‘The rich German drives his BMW
With his head in the air.
What does he care?
What does he care?’
Thinks Vitaly.

A pair of scissors fly
In a dark classroom.
His pent-up emotions,
Let loose in a German Hauptschool,
Near the Japanese Garden.

His classmate from Croatia
Throws chairs at the another.
‘Aus Spass’ he says.
Just for fun.
He shouts at the Putzfrau,
Who cleans the classrooms:
‘Sie Geistesgestörte!’
You mad woman.
‚My French-cap is XXX’ he sings
And jerks his pelvis at her.

Is the school-system to blame?
Are western culture, tradition
Social, liberal values and norms to blame?
Are his parents
Who speak a conserved Deutsch to blame?
Is his Russian mother-tongue
And his great Russian soul to blame?

Nobody answers his questions,
Nobody cares,
Out in the West.
“Verdammt, I want to be heard!”
Screams Vitaly.
The people shake their heads,
Mutters, ‘Ein Spinner!’
And walk away.

A pair of sharp, long scissors
Fly in a dark classroom.
The scissors can slash your face,
Or mine.

THE SEA SWELLS (Satis Shroff)

The sea shells on the sea shore
Suddenly the sea swells.
Ring the church and temple bells.
All is not well.
The sea has gone back.

Brown-burnt Tarzans and Janes
From different continents,
Wonder what’s going on.
A man from Sweden
Is immersed in his thriller under the palms.
A mother and daughter from Germany
Frolic on the white sunny beach.

Even the sea-gulls stop and listen
To the foreboding silence.

The sea swells,
Comes back
And brings an apocalyptic destruction:
Sweeping humans, huts and hotels,
Boats, billboards and debris.
Cries for help are stifled by the roaring waves.

The sea goes back.
Leaving behind lost souls,
Caught in suspended animation.
I close my eyes.
Everything dies.

Tsunami. Tsunami.
Om Shanti. Om shanti.


The young man and his double-clicks
In a cyberworld
Of bits and bytes,
Full of elves, tough turtles, dementors,
Warriors, monsters, evil beings,
Who destroy hamlets, towns,
At the command of a few clicks.

An unreal world
Where the fantasy stories
Are pre-programmed.
The elimination of farmers, slaves,
Knaves and enemy warriors,
But a click away.

You are the creator,
The maker and destroyer,
You are Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma.
Thumbs up or down,
Death to you,
You’re short of amphetamines.
It’s a long way
To the apothecary.
More clicks,
More tiredness,
You’re falling asleep.
Drowsy bits and bytes,
You haven’t taken a bite.
Your inner man is growling,
But you have no time,
For bodily needs.
You’re hooked
To your bits and bytes.
Oh, it bites.
Groggy in the Afternoon (Satis Shroff)

Groggy from the Cyberworld at home,
Fritz goes to school.
He’s tired of school,
And is restless.
Retalin doesn’t seem to work today.
The lessons are irrelevant,
He sees not the classmates.
He sees the goblins, ghouls,
Zombies, Power Rangers,
Sword-fighting Ninjas ,
Scores of other figures
With terrifying grimaces.
Fritz also makes a grimace.
He is now a monster in his thoughts,
Has to strike the others
With his laser-sword.

The enemy surrounds him,
Laser-blades flash like lightning.
A gash and Fritz falls on the floor.
He’s wounded,
But rotates his prostrate torso
With his fast working legs,
Lashes out with his sword.
He’s almost killed them all.
He’s a hero who never gives up.

Suddenly he hears his teacher
Frau Hess’s voice:
’Fritz, steh auf!’
He becomes calm,
Gets up.
Gone are the warriors, Power Rangers,
And super heroes and mighty enemies.
Fritz recognises his classmates,
Hans, Joachim, Cassandra, Brunhild,
As they shake their heads.

Was it a dream?
Oh je! Frau Hess will certainly call Mom.
And tell it all.
‘Scheiss ADS!’ mutters Kevin.

ADS: Allgemeine Deficiency Syndrome

The Japanese Garden (Satis Shroff)

Nine Hauptschule kids in their teens,
Sit on benches in the Japanese Garden,
Near the placid, turquoise lake.

The homework is done sloppily.
Who cares?
The boys are bursting with hormones,
As they tease the only blonde from Siberia.

A fat guy named Heino likes the blonde,
But she doesn’t fancy him.
Annäherung, Vermeidung:
A conflict develops.

The teacher tells him in no uncertain terms:
“Lass Sie bitte in Ruhe!”
But Heino with the MP3 doesn’t care
And carries on:
Grasping her breasts,
Caressing her groin.
She puts up a fight to no avail.

Heino is stronger, impertinent,
And full of street rhetoric.
Meanwhile, the other teenies
Are climbing, kicking the Japanese pavilion,
Spitting, cursing shouting
At all and sundry in German.

The grey-haired gardener-in-charge comes,
Tells the boys to behave
And goes.
Boredom in the afternoon.
The boys don’t want to play soccer,
Handball or basketball.
Sitting around, criticising, irritating each other,
Is cool.

Creative workshops: music, songs,
Essays, own movies?
Nothing interests them.
Killing time together,
Cursing at each other,
Getting a kick provoking passersby,
This is the Hauptschule
In Germany today.

The clever kids go to the Gymnasium,
After the fourth class.
The trouble-makers,
Aggressive alpha-wolves
And clowns remain in the Hauptschule.
An ironical name for a school,
For Haupt means the ‘main’
Comprising the lower class of the society:
Kids of foreigners, ethnic Germans from the East Bloc,
Who hope to make it somehow,
As apprentices for hair salons, car repair garages,
Kebab shops, Italian restaurants, Balkan kitchens,
Roofers and masons.

The Japanese Garden, a present from Matsuyama
To the people of Freiburg,
With truncated shrubs and rounded trees.
A waterfall and quiet niches,
A place for contemplation and solitude.

For the Hauptschule kids,
A place to get together,
Be loud, grunt, fight with fists, shove, scratch,
Slap, spit, kick everywhere,
And play the gangsta.
“At night they throw empty alcohol bottles
Where ever they like,” says an elderly lady
From the neighbourhood.
Wonder how the kids are in Matsuyama?

* * *


Wenn ein Kind kritisiert wird,
lernt es zu verurteilen.

Wenn ein Kind angefeindet wird,
lernt es zu kämpfen.

Wenn ein Kind verspottet wird,
lernt es schüchtern zu sein.

Wenn ein Kind beschämt wird,
lernt es sich schuldig zu sein.

Wenn ein Kind verstanden und toleriert wird,
lernt es geduldig zu sein.

Wenn ein Kind ermutigt wird,
lernt es sich selbst zu vertrauen.

Wenn ein Kind gelobt wird,
lernt es sich selbst zu schätzen.

Wenn ein Kind gerecht behandelt wird,
lernt es sich gerecht zu sein.

Wenn ein Kind geborgen lebt,
lernt es zu vertrauen.

Wenn ein Kind anerkannt wird,
lernt es sich selbst zu mögen.

Wenn ein Kind in Freundschaft angenommen wird,
lernt es in der Welt Liebe zu finden.

(Text über dem Eingang einer tibetischen Schule)
On Her Majesty’s Lyrical Service:

Poet Laureate (Satis Shroff)

A person who writes in lyrical form,
Composes verses for occasions,
Good stanzas in favour of kings and queens,
Princes and Princesses,
For the price of 5000 Sterling pounds
And, of course, 650 bottles
Of Sherry,
To inspire the poet.
And the title of Poet Laureate.

A court poet is a smith of verses,
Not a bass-guitarist
Of the royal band
Based in Buckingham.
Beginners need not apply.
Candidates should be
A professor of English Literature.

The last Poet Laureate penned
Verses in praise of Edward
And his beautiful Sophie,
A hundred years of the Queen Mother
And the latter’s sad demise.
The Queen’s diamond wedding anniversary,
A rap-rhyme for rosy-cheeked Prince William,
When he turned twenty-one.
Yeah! ‘Better stand back
Here’s a age attack.’
He even congratulated Charles and Camilla
On their belated marriage.
The Prince was overwhelmed
When he heard Motion’s
‘Spring Wedding.’
But all verses weren’t,
As we say in Germany:
Friede, Freude, Eierkuchen.
Motion’s ‘Cost of Life’ on Paddington,
‘Causa belli’ emphasised
Elections, money, empire,
Oil and Dad.
Themes and lyrics that bother us,
Day in and day out.
The rulers and battles won are expected
To be praised to Heaven,
Like Master Henry,
Ben Jonson et al have done

In 1668 John Dryden was sacked
Not for his bad verses,
But for changing his confession.
Sir Walter Raleigh and William Morris
Didn’t relinquish their freedom
And said politely: No thank you, Ma’am.
And with it a keg of wine
From the Canary Isles,
That could have been theirs.

Free literary productivity and court-poetry
Are strange bedfellows indeed.
In these times of gender-studies,l
Women’s quotes and emancipation,
It wouldn’t be far-fetched
If Carol Ann Duffy,
A Scottish poetess,
Became the next Poetess Laureate.
What a lass!
She’s openly gay,
Didn’t you say?
Has fire anyway.

What a thankless job:
A royal lyrical whisperer,
Striving for public relations
In poetry prize panels,
In the name of poetry.
A thankless job:
Take it
Or leave it.

* * *

Poet Laureate Shortlist

Carol Ann Duffy
Ian McMillan
Geoffrey Hill
Rowan Williams
Tony Harrison
John Betjeman
Simon Armitage
Michael Rosen
Stephen Frey
Lynne Trusse
Don Paterson

(Ed.: You are free to add some more of your own prospective poet laureate candidates).

The Lure of the Himalayas (Satis Shroff)

Once upon a time,
Near the town of Kashgar,
I, a blue-eyed stranger in local clothes was captured
By the sturdy riders of Vali Khan.
On August 26, 1857
I, Adolph Schlagintweit,
a German traveller, an adventurer,
Was beheaded as a spy without a trial.

I was a German who set out on the footsteps
Of the illustrious Alexander von Humboldt.
With my two brothers Hermann and Robert,
From Southhampton on September 20,1854
To see India, the Himalayas and Higher Asia.
Sans invitation, I must admit.

A Persian traveller, a Muslim with a heart
Found my headless body.
He brought my remains all the way to India,
And handed it to a British colonial officer.

It was a fatal fascination,
But had I the chance,
I’d do it again.


What others have said about the author:

'Brilliant, I enjoyed your poems thoroughly. I can hear the underlying German and Nepali thoughts within your English language. The strictness of the German form mixed with the vividness of your Nepalese mother tongue. An interesting mix. Nepal is a jewel on the Earth’s surface, her majesty and charm should be protected, and yet exposed with dignity through words. You do your country justice and I find your bicultural understanding so unique and a marvel to read.' Reviewed by Heide Poudel in 6/4/2007.

Satis Shroff writes with intelligence, wit and grace. (Bruce Dobler, Associate Professor in Creative Writing MFA, University of Iowa).

‘Satis Shroff writes political poetry, about the war in Nepal, the sad fate of the Nepalese people, the emergence of neo-fascism in Germany. His bicultural perspective makes his poems rich, full of awe and at the same time heartbreakingly sad. I writing ‘home,’ he not only returns to his country of origin time and again, he also carries the fate of his people to readers in the West, and his task of writing thus is also a very important one in political terms. His true gift is to invent Nepalese metaphors and make them accessible to the West through his poetry.’ (Sandra Sigel, Writer, Germany).

'The manner in which Satis Shroff writes takes the reader right along with him. Extremely vivid and just enough and the irony of the music. Beautiful prosaic thought and astounding writing.

'Your muscles flex, the nerves flatter, the heart gallops,
As you feel how puny you are,
Among all those incessant and powerful waves.'

“Satis Shroff's writing is refined – pure undistilled.” (Susan Marie,

“I was extremely delighted with Satis Shroff’s work. Many people write poetry for years and never obtain the level of artistry that is present in his work. He is an elite poet with an undying passion for poetry.” Nigel Hillary, Publisher, Poetry Division - Noble House U.K.

Author Bio:

Satis Shroff is a prolific writer and teaches Creative Writing at the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg. He is a lecturer, poet and writer and the published author of three books: Im Schatten des Himalaya (book of poems in German), Through Nepalese Eyes (travelogue), Katmandu, Katmandu (poetry and prose anthology by Nepalese authors, edited by Satis Shroff). His lyrical works have been published in literary poetry sites: Slow Trains, International Zeitschrift, World Poetry Society (WPS), New Writing North, Muses Review, The Megaphone, Pen Himalaya, Interpoetry. He is a member of “Writers of Peace,” poets, essayists, novelists (PEN), World Poetry Society (WPS) and The Asian Writer.

Satis Shroff is based in Freiburg (poems, fiction, non-fiction) and also writes on ecological, ethno-medical, culture-ethnological themes. He has studied Zoology and Botany in Nepal, Medicine and Social Sciences in Germany and Creative Writing in Freiburg and the United Kingdom. He describes himself as a mediator between western and eastern cultures and sees his future as a writer and poet. Since literature is one of the most important means of cross-cultural learning, he is dedicated to promoting and creating awareness for Creative Writing and transcultural togetherness in his writings, and in preserving an attitude of Miteinander in this world. He lectures in Basle (Switzerland) and in Germany at the Akademie für medizinische Berufe (University Klinikum Freiburg) and the Zentrum für Schlüsselqualifikationen (University of Freiburg where he is a Lehrbeauftragter for Creative Writing). Satis Shroff was awarded the German Academic Exchange Prize.

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Comment by Jordan Vargas on December 2, 2009 at 11:54am
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