larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (wanderweg)
The souvenirs I collect while touristing are the informative brick-a-brack -- the disposable maps and pamphlets and the like. For some reason I also hold on to tickets long after they're useful, apparently on the off chance they'll help me remember the journeys, even though I always throw them away when I return. I mean, every single tram fare bopping around a city? Not needed, norwise the train ticket for Munich to Basel via Ulm. But the stuff that marks where I've been and seen, rather than how I've gone, yes.

On the table in front of me, in a roughly chronological line I have:
  • Concert playbill for the 20th anniversary concert of Cembalomusik in der Stadt Basel (German)
  • Small tourist map of downtown Freiburg (ads in German and English)
  • Guide pamphlet to the choir and chapels of Freiburg cathedral (slightly fractured English)
  • Map of a network of German backpacker hostels (English)
  • Tourist map of downtown Prague (English) *
  • Panoramic map of the Black Forest, indexed with day trips (English)
  • Guidebook of day-hikes in the Schwarzwald (German)
  • Topographic trail map (1:25.000) of the area around Feldberg (German)
  • City map of Munich (English)
  • Guide pamphlet to the Deutsches Museum (one each in English and Japanese) **
  • Small city map of Zug (German)
  • Pamphlet about the towers of the old city walls of Zug (English)
  • Booklet of the exhibit "Hermes statt SMS", on Hermes as a means of communication in the ancient world, from the Antiquities Museum Basel (German)
  • Booklet of selected works of art in the Antiquities Museum Basel (English)
  • Map of the Basel Zoo (German, with French and English)

* No, we didn't go there -- I picked it up in a hostel lobby for its stylish design.

** Imagine a version of the Metropolitan Museum of Art that's devoted to science and technology. Geek. Out. Heaven. And in two visits, we managed to take in only glass, ceramics, papermaking, printing, sundials, and musical instruments, plus about half the sailing ships hall, complete with a cutaway two-masted trawler and, lurking appropriately in the basement, the first U1 boat.

Eventually, I'll figure out how to use these to tell a coherent story, instead of simply spatially organizing chronology. No point in poeticizing the lot -- how to select out the telling details?

Or maybe they'll just stay a way of sequencing memories.

---L.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (wanderweg)
The souvenirs I collect while touristing are the informative brick-a-brack -- the disposable maps and pamphlets and the like. For some reason I also hold on to tickets long after they're useful, apparently on the off chance they'll help me remember the journeys, even though I always throw them away when I return. I mean, every single tram fare bopping around a city? Not needed, norwise the train ticket for Munich to Basel via Ulm. But the stuff that marks where I've been and seen, rather than how I've gone, yes.

On the table in front of me, in a roughly chronological line I have:
  • Concert playbill for the 20th anniversary concert of Cembalomusik in der Stadt Basel (German)
  • Small tourist map of downtown Freiburg (ads in German and English)
  • Guide pamphlet to the choir and chapels of Freiburg cathedral (slightly fractured English)
  • Map of a network of German backpacker hostels (English)
  • Tourist map of downtown Prague (English) *
  • Panoramic map of the Black Forest, indexed with day trips (English)
  • Guidebook of day-hikes in the Schwarzwald (German)
  • Topographic trail map (1:25.000) of the area around Feldberg (German)
  • City map of Munich (English)
  • Guide pamphlet to the Deutsches Museum (one each in English and Japanese) **
  • Small city map of Zug (German)
  • Pamphlet about the towers of the old city walls of Zug (English)
  • Booklet of the exhibit "Hermes statt SMS", on Hermes as a means of communication in the ancient world, from the Antiquities Museum Basel (German)
  • Booklet of selected works of art in the Antiquities Museum Basel (English)
  • Map of the Basel Zoo (German, with French and English)

* No, we didn't go there -- I picked it up in a hostel lobby for its stylish design.

** Imagine a version of the Metropolitan Museum of Art that's devoted to science and technology. Geek. Out. Heaven. And in two visits, we managed to take in only glass, ceramics, papermaking, printing, sundials, and musical instruments, plus about half the sailing ships hall, complete with a cutaway two-masted trawler and, lurking appropriately in the basement, the first U1 boat.

Eventually, I'll figure out how to use these to tell a coherent story, instead of simply spatially organizing chronology. No point in poeticizing the lot -- how to select out the telling details?

Or maybe they'll just stay a way of sequencing memories.

---L.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (wanderweg)
Back late last night (over 25 hours of travel) from two weeks in Switzerland and Germany for tourism and meeting the new nephew. Both parts were good: Basel, hiking in the Black Forest, a couple days in Freiburg and Munich, and a day-trip to Zug (*waves to [livejournal.com profile] mummo74*). Trip reading was Don Juan (I had Milton, but he wasn't ... Continental enough) plus Tim Powers' Declare. Language observation: it took a full week for the German-processing part of my brain to fully engage gears, at which point the clutch for Japanese slipped, and now needs a new pad.

No photos (we accidentally erased our camera near the end) and no trip poetry.

Or maybe I lie about that last. I did write down scattered details that may be the raw material for one. Or may be an early draft of a prose poem. Hard to tell.

Cut for arty pretentiousness )

So has anything been happening in the greater world? Or on LJ?

(previous posts about the trip, which had been f-locked, are now public.)
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (wanderweg)
Back late last night (over 25 hours of travel) from two weeks in Switzerland and Germany for tourism and meeting the new nephew. Both parts were good: Basel, hiking in the Black Forest, a couple days in Freiburg and Munich, and a day-trip to Zug (*waves to [livejournal.com profile] mummo74*). Trip reading was Don Juan (I had Milton, but he wasn't ... Continental enough) plus Tim Powers' Declare. Language observation: it took a full week for the German-processing part of my brain to fully engage gears, at which point the clutch for Japanese slipped, and now needs a new pad.

No photos (we accidentally erased our camera near the end) and no trip poetry.

Or maybe I lie about that last. I did write down scattered details that may be the raw material for one. Or may be an early draft of a prose poem. Hard to tell.

Cut for arty pretentiousness )

So has anything been happening in the greater world? Or on LJ?

(previous posts about the trip, which had been f-locked, are now public.)
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (wanderweg)
A gray and drippy day in Freiburg, Germany, in an internet ETA: juice bar cafe while we wait for a train to a small town in the hills of the Black Forest, where we will be staying at a youth hostel catering to Germans. The German-speaking part of my brain is only reluctantly coming on-line -- I´ve been allowing myself a dose of Japanese only after reviewing more German.

This should get interesting.

---L.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (wanderweg)
A gray and drippy day in Freiburg, Germany, in an internet ETA: juice bar cafe while we wait for a train to a small town in the hills of the Black Forest, where we will be staying at a youth hostel catering to Germans. The German-speaking part of my brain is only reluctantly coming on-line -- I´ve been allowing myself a dose of Japanese only after reviewing more German.

This should get interesting.

---L.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (wanderweg)
Off to Switzerland next week, to meet the new nephew and others. I'm f-locking this and posts made on the road until our return.

Books: Even though this is a low-luggage trip, I'm allowing myself three reading volumes instead of two, because the Japanese grammar I want to review is a slim paperback (All About Particles, Naoko Chino). For poetry, I plan to risk Paradise Lost on the theory that if I can finally finish Aeneid, maybe I'll find PL readable if it's all I have on hand -- especially among the Alps. But I reserve the right to dither at the last minute and swap it for Don Juan plus a third-round draft pick. For fiction, I'm leaning towards Declare by Tim Powers. Plus of course my journal. And Lonely Planet, natch. Especially since part of our itinerary will be worked out upon arrival.

I'm a lot less panicked about preparations than I possibly ought to be, given that. And that I still need new walking shoes and a haircut.

At the moment, ash looks okay for the flight out, but the return is during one of BA's scheduled strikes. We'll see how long it takes us to get back home.

---L.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (wanderweg)
Off to Switzerland next week, to meet the new nephew and others. I'm f-locking this and posts made on the road until our return.

Books: Even though this is a low-luggage trip, I'm allowing myself three reading volumes instead of two, because the Japanese grammar I want to review is a slim paperback (All About Particles, Naoko Chino). For poetry, I plan to risk Paradise Lost on the theory that if I can finally finish Aeneid, maybe I'll find PL readable if it's all I have on hand -- especially among the Alps. But I reserve the right to dither at the last minute and swap it for Don Juan plus a third-round draft pick. For fiction, I'm leaning towards Declare by Tim Powers. Plus of course my journal. And Lonely Planet, natch. Especially since part of our itinerary will be worked out upon arrival.

I'm a lot less panicked about preparations than I possibly ought to be, given that. And that I still need new walking shoes and a haircut.

At the moment, ash looks okay for the flight out, but the return is during one of BA's scheduled strikes. We'll see how long it takes us to get back home.

---L.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (wanderweg)
Posting it now for the heck of it -- and it is definitely the last installment. I have, btw, gone back to the first two and added links to relevant photographs.


23 November 2008


It's been three weeks and more since we returned,
    And long past time I finished this report --
And by your patience certainly you've earned
    A splended resolution, of the sort
    That doesn't make you think I wrote too short.
Switzerland is majestic, even grand;
It wouldn't do to end up sounding bland.

It's Sunday in a Tucson coffee shop;
    I sit amid some mid-terms being graded,
Staring north at our craggy mountain tops.
    The peaks look dusty, air seems somewhat faded,
    And overall the desert rocks feel jaded.
Have real Alps wrecked me for another range?
Of course not -- but they made my vision change.

The Catalinas may look dusty, true --
    But dust is how we decorate down here:
Our landscape always paints a desert hue.
    Sonoran pallets may not be as clear
    As those the Swiss naturally engineer,
But if they were, adobe wouldn't fit --
And so to local architecture I submit.

And thus our journeys mark us for the going,
    Reframing what we see when we come back.
But here, my message misled the foregoing --
    I'd meant to start this on another tack
    And talk about the objects in my pack.
I'll start again: an afternoon cafe
And I have souveniers to share today.

Spread out before me on the table's
    A spray of pamphlets: museum guides,
City and hiking maps, and train timetables --
    The usual detritus touristing provides.
    More than pictures, my memory resides
In words -- and stunning photos merely please.
We take a camera; what I keep is these.

That's not to say I don't buy postcards too --
    A stack of them is sitting to my left --
And other knick-knacks I will soon review,
    But I find telling phrases fill the cleft
    Between the present mind and time's theft
Of memory the best -- and thus this verse --
A loss that, over forty, is getting worse.

I'd thought to pick from these a couple that
    Embody my fragments of experience:
Perhaps the cog-rail guide to Schynige Platte,
    That plateau where air's clarity's immense,
    Or flyer from the dark cathedral whence
We sat through mid-day service -- but allow,
Instead, just one -- not memory, but now:

This water bottle by my coffee cup.
    I bought it in a local grocery store,
And all throughout our trip I filled it up
    At sinks and water fountains, as my hoard
    Carried on trails, through cities, by (one) lake shore --
A typical desert survival strategy,
Which I still practice here at home, you see:

I used a part of here in Switzerland,
    And brought a bit of Switzerland back here.
As insights, not the world, but understand,
    It's just a symbol of the larger sphere.
    With this, then, I'll no longer bend your ear,
But sip my coffee, and watch the mountain light
Slant westward till the desert slips to night.


---L.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (wanderweg)
Posting it now for the heck of it -- and it is definitely the last installment. I have, btw, gone back to the first two and added links to relevant photographs.


23 November 2008


It's been three weeks and more since we returned,
    And long past time I finished this report --
And by your patience certainly you've earned
    A splended resolution, of the sort
    That doesn't make you think I wrote too short.
Switzerland is majestic, even grand;
It wouldn't do to end up sounding bland.

It's Sunday in a Tucson coffee shop;
    I sit amid some mid-terms being graded,
Staring north at our craggy mountain tops.
    The peaks look dusty, air seems somewhat faded,
    And overall the desert rocks feel jaded.
Have real Alps wrecked me for another range?
Of course not -- but they made my vision change.

The Catalinas may look dusty, true --
    But dust is how we decorate down here:
Our landscape always paints a desert hue.
    Sonoran pallets may not be as clear
    As those the Swiss naturally engineer,
But if they were, adobe wouldn't fit --
And so to local architecture I submit.

And thus our journeys mark us for the going,
    Reframing what we see when we come back.
But here, my message misled the foregoing --
    I'd meant to start this on another tack
    And talk about the objects in my pack.
I'll start again: an afternoon cafe
And I have souveniers to share today.

Spread out before me on the table's
    A spray of pamphlets: museum guides,
City and hiking maps, and train timetables --
    The usual detritus touristing provides.
    More than pictures, my memory resides
In words -- and stunning photos merely please.
We take a camera; what I keep is these.

That's not to say I don't buy postcards too --
    A stack of them is sitting to my left --
And other knick-knacks I will soon review,
    But I find telling phrases fill the cleft
    Between the present mind and time's theft
Of memory the best -- and thus this verse --
A loss that, over forty, is getting worse.

I'd thought to pick from these a couple that
    Embody my fragments of experience:
Perhaps the cog-rail guide to Schynige Platte,
    That plateau where air's clarity's immense,
    Or flyer from the dark cathedral whence
We sat through mid-day service -- but allow,
Instead, just one -- not memory, but now:

This water bottle by my coffee cup.
    I bought it in a local grocery store,
And all throughout our trip I filled it up
    At sinks and water fountains, as my hoard
    Carried on trails, through cities, by (one) lake shore --
A typical desert survival strategy,
Which I still practice here at home, you see:

I used a part of here in Switzerland,
    And brought a bit of Switzerland back here.
As insights, not the world, but understand,
    It's just a symbol of the larger sphere.
    With this, then, I'll no longer bend your ear,
But sip my coffee, and watch the mountain light
Slant westward till the desert slips to night.


---L.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (La!)
A break-room conversation with Coworker1, whose son who is a big fan of the dinosaur origami she's taken home:
Coworker1: So when I brought my son in to work, a few weeks ago, he wanted to meet you, but you were on vacation.

Me: Um, sorry.

Coworker1: He said, "Can I see Laaaarry?"

Me: But, well, my brother-in-law was getting married.

Coworker2 (who'd been listening in): Oh, but he's just a brother-in-law.

Me: In Switzerland.

*pause*

Coworker1 & 2: (together) Oh, well, in that case ...
---L.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (La!)
A break-room conversation with Coworker1, whose son who is a big fan of the dinosaur origami she's taken home:
Coworker1: So when I brought my son in to work, a few weeks ago, he wanted to meet you, but you were on vacation.

Me: Um, sorry.

Coworker1: He said, "Can I see Laaaarry?"

Me: But, well, my brother-in-law was getting married.

Coworker2 (who'd been listening in): Oh, but he's just a brother-in-law.

Me: In Switzerland.

*pause*

Coworker1 & 2: (together) Oh, well, in that case ...
---L.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (wanderweg)
An experiment* with Spencerian stanzas, because I was finding descriptions a little cramped in rhyme royal:

    Imagine a trail that winds up a steep hill,
    Deep moss beneath dark firs on either side
    Whose knobby roots reach underfoot to spill
    Hikers intent on what the next turn hides:
    A gated fence. Beyond these woods, light glides
    Across an autumn meadow with a golden glow,
    Dropping to glacial valley, above which rides
    The Jungfrau: craggy granite cliff and snow --
Imagine that, you might grasp how it hit just so.

    We step into the alpine field and stare.
    Here autumn glorifies with browns, instead of scours,
    And dots the scrub with rose-hip red -- no, there,
    Beside the outcrop where a lone fir towers.
    The path continues on, perhaps for hours,
    Drawing us past what details catch our eyes:
    Next to the path, a few late purple flowers --
    Yonder, glaciers capped by cloudy skies.
What could we do but find out what's beyond the rise?

According to Janni, this more-or-less matches her memories as well. So, yeah, it was like that.


* Not entirely successful, given the number of times I use the not-quite-right word to get the rhyme. At least I have the meter doing what I want it to.


---L.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (wanderweg)
An experiment* with Spencerian stanzas, because I was finding descriptions a little cramped in rhyme royal:

    Imagine a trail that winds up a steep hill,
    Deep moss beneath dark firs on either side
    Whose knobby roots reach underfoot to spill
    Hikers intent on what the next turn hides:
    A gated fence. Beyond these woods, light glides
    Across an autumn meadow with a golden glow,
    Dropping to glacial valley, above which rides
    The Jungfrau: craggy granite cliff and snow --
Imagine that, you might grasp how it hit just so.

    We step into the alpine field and stare.
    Here autumn glorifies with browns, instead of scours,
    And dots the scrub with rose-hip red -- no, there,
    Beside the outcrop where a lone fir towers.
    The path continues on, perhaps for hours,
    Drawing us past what details catch our eyes:
    Next to the path, a few late purple flowers --
    Yonder, glaciers capped by cloudy skies.
What could we do but find out what's beyond the rise?

According to Janni, this more-or-less matches her memories as well. So, yeah, it was like that.


* Not entirely successful, given the number of times I use the not-quite-right word to get the rhyme. At least I have the meter doing what I want it to.


---L.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (wanderweg)
This doesn't easily fall into verse, so I'll do the next best thing and turn it into a numbered list. Things I bought in the Basel Art Museum's gift shop:
  1. Picture of Erasmus of Rotterdam, Hans Holbein the Younger (postcard print). One of the museum's two main focuses is 15th–16th century Germanic painters. They especially have a lot of Holbein, who lived in the city for 15 years, including three paintings of the University's most eminent professor, Erasmus. Judging by them, I think I would have liked the guy in person. The print is of my favorite of the three, a miniature a few inches across, in three-quarters profile, with a five-o'clock shadow and sly smile.

  2. The Isle of the Dead, Arnold Böcklin (print). The other main focus of the museum is and mid-19th–20th century art, including a fair amount of Böcklin, and since I'd been looking at one of his paintings on the cover of my volume of Byron, I was particularly interested in checking him out. Halfway down a long gallery of frequently mythological paintings, suddenly, there was a remarkable familiar work: craggy rocks, dark cypresses, and a white-shrouded boatman. The Penguin designer had cropped it oddly, but it was recognizably the same painting. As in, woah. And in the museum shop, I found the postcard reproduction. Ha!

    But when I got back to our hostel to compare, I discovered that card and cover weren't the same. It wasn't just that the latter was cropped and flipped left-to-right, but they were different paintings. Careful scrutiny of credits gave the answer: the cover is a painting in the Berlin National Gallery, while the Basel painting is the "first version" -- something not noted in the gallery itself. And it turns out, there's more than those two.

    Ah well.

  3. Hokusai: One Hundred Poets, Peter Morse. One of Hokusai's last projects, unfinished at his death, was woodblock illustrations for the classic Japanese anthology One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets. This book reproduces the prints and all the available drawings for the rest, leaving only 11 poems unillustrated. The commentary includes the poems with translation and explication. Yes, a heavy thing to lug about when traveling all-carry-on, but it was on the discount shelf. As in, heavily discounted to half the US$ list price.

    Which is how I now know that Sei Shonagon and Murasaki Shikibu are among the hundred poets. Go them.
Regarding said Byron collection, the 780 pages lasted until halfway through the flight home, after which I was forced to write my own verse. (I never did touch Watership Down.)

---L.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (wanderweg)
This doesn't easily fall into verse, so I'll do the next best thing and turn it into a numbered list. Things I bought in the Basel Art Museum's gift shop:
  1. Picture of Erasmus of Rotterdam, Hans Holbein the Younger (postcard print). One of the museum's two main focuses is 15th–16th century Germanic painters. They especially have a lot of Holbein, who lived in the city for 15 years, including three paintings of the University's most eminent professor, Erasmus. Judging by them, I think I would have liked the guy in person. The print is of my favorite of the three, a miniature a few inches across, in three-quarters profile, with a five-o'clock shadow and sly smile.

  2. The Isle of the Dead, Arnold Böcklin (print). The other main focus of the museum is and mid-19th–20th century art, including a fair amount of Böcklin, and since I'd been looking at one of his paintings on the cover of my volume of Byron, I was particularly interested in checking him out. Halfway down a long gallery of frequently mythological paintings, suddenly, there was a remarkable familiar work: craggy rocks, dark cypresses, and a white-shrouded boatman. The Penguin designer had cropped it oddly, but it was recognizably the same painting. As in, woah. And in the museum shop, I found the postcard reproduction. Ha!

    But when I got back to our hostel to compare, I discovered that card and cover weren't the same. It wasn't just that the latter was cropped and flipped left-to-right, but they were different paintings. Careful scrutiny of credits gave the answer: the cover is a painting in the Berlin National Gallery, while the Basel painting is the "first version" -- something not noted in the gallery itself. And it turns out, there's more than those two.

    Ah well.

  3. Hokusai: One Hundred Poets, Peter Morse. One of Hokusai's last projects, unfinished at his death, was woodblock illustrations for the classic Japanese anthology One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets. This book reproduces the prints and all the available drawings for the rest, leaving only 11 poems unillustrated. The commentary includes the poems with translation and explication. Yes, a heavy thing to lug about when traveling all-carry-on, but it was on the discount shelf. As in, heavily discounted to half the US$ list price.

    Which is how I now know that Sei Shonagon and Murasaki Shikibu are among the hundred poets. Go them.
Regarding said Byron collection, the 780 pages lasted until halfway through the flight home, after which I was forced to write my own verse. (I never did touch Watership Down.)

---L.
larryhammer: a wisp of smoke, label: "it comes in curlicues, spirals as it twirls" (spirals)

Tuesday, 28 Oct 08

When I left off, I'd barely gotten started
    Describing my own Switzerlandic scene
When lazy patience broke, and so we parted;
    Now, to fulfill my promise: telling where we've been.
    I'll skip my setting this time, for it's mean --
A transatlantic flight, the middle seat;
I'd rather reminisce about what's neat.

But how to slice this journey into bites
    That I can chew in free and easy rhyme?
By altitude -- the sights arranged by heights?
    By types of cheese we tasted at the time?
    Pure chronologic's a poetic crime:
That's just the skin, and here I need the bones.
I'll organize this by cathedral stones.

We took in several münsters on this trip,
    You see -- such as Geneva's Church St. Peter,
Where Calvin preached (a landmark I could skip),
    A good old gothic pile -- as such I greet her,
    Saddened a neo-classic facade could defeat her.
It's cosmopolitan, just like the city --
As architecture, it is such the pity.

Beneath the floor is better than what's over:
    The church's archeology is on display,
Extensively, what walls they could uncover
    Layered pre-Roman to the gothic day --
    A city's broken labyrinth, silent, says
(Excuse the rhyme, but we've hit turbulence)
It's always a busy place, and will be hence.

That one was better food than Zürich's three
    Snacked up one morning near the railway station:
The Romanesque Grössmünster, supposedly
    Founded by Charlemagne's own proclamation;
    Another Peter's Church, quite Reformation;
Fraumünster's modern neo-gothic hall
Redeemed from plain by stained-glass by Chagall.

Perhaps we should have given them more time,
    But we'd no mind to linger in the rain
That, even over, chilled our tower climb
    To see (by hills) we weren't on a plain.
    -- And yet it rained in Basel, when again
We visited the Münster on the hill
And stayed for hours -- it enchanted still:

Red gothic sandstone soared above the nave,
    Solidly thick from crypt to upper spire,
And monuments such as Erasmus' grave;
    Carousel music echoed in the choir
    And through the window, a ferris wheel swept higher
Than towers rising in the Rheinish air --
The Platz was hosting part of the Fall Fair.

But what of Interlaken? There were no
    Cathedrals there -- just Alpine majesty:
The walls, unworked, were massifs topped with snow,
    And slanted light stained meadows autumnly --
    A church of Nature there for all to see.
But here, we've landed -- both my plane and verse.
I'll end with this before the stewards curse.


(BTW, I'm disappointed [livejournal.com profile] movingfinger, at the very least, didn't take me to task for the non-rhyme of Käse/plaza in my first installment. Ay is not ah.)

ETA: part three.

---L.
larryhammer: a wisp of smoke, label: "it comes in curlicues, spirals as it twirls" (spirals)

Tuesday, 28 Oct 08

When I left off, I'd barely gotten started
    Describing my own Switzerlandic scene
When lazy patience broke, and so we parted;
    Now, to fulfill my promise: telling where we've been.
    I'll skip my setting this time, for it's mean --
A transatlantic flight, the middle seat;
I'd rather reminisce about what's neat.

But how to slice this journey into bites
    That I can chew in free and easy rhyme?
By altitude -- the sights arranged by heights?
    By types of cheese we tasted at the time?
    Pure chronologic's a poetic crime:
That's just the skin, and here I need the bones.
I'll organize this by cathedral stones.

We took in several münsters on this trip,
    You see -- such as Geneva's Church St. Peter,
Where Calvin preached (a landmark I could skip),
    A good old gothic pile -- as such I greet her,
    Saddened a neo-classic facade could defeat her.
It's cosmopolitan, just like the city --
As architecture, it is such the pity.

Beneath the floor is better than what's over:
    The church's archeology is on display,
Extensively, what walls they could uncover
    Layered pre-Roman to the gothic day --
    A city's broken labyrinth, silent, says
(Excuse the rhyme, but we've hit turbulence)
It's always a busy place, and will be hence.

That one was better food than Zürich's three
    Snacked up one morning near the railway station:
The Romanesque Grössmünster, supposedly
    Founded by Charlemagne's own proclamation;
    Another Peter's Church, quite Reformation;
Fraumünster's modern neo-gothic hall
Redeemed from plain by stained-glass by Chagall.

Perhaps we should have given them more time,
    But we'd no mind to linger in the rain
That, even over, chilled our tower climb
    To see (by hills) we weren't on a plain.
    -- And yet it rained in Basel, when again
We visited the Münster on the hill
And stayed for hours -- it enchanted still:

Red gothic sandstone soared above the nave,
    Solidly thick from crypt to upper spire,
And monuments such as Erasmus' grave;
    Carousel music echoed in the choir
    And through the window, a ferris wheel swept higher
Than towers rising in the Rheinish air --
The Platz was hosting part of the Fall Fair.

But what of Interlaken? There were no
    Cathedrals there -- just Alpine majesty:
The walls, unworked, were massifs topped with snow,
    And slanted light stained meadows autumnly --
    A church of Nature there for all to see.
But here, we've landed -- both my plane and verse.
I'll end with this before the stewards curse.


(BTW, I'm disappointed [livejournal.com profile] movingfinger, at the very least, didn't take me to task for the non-rhyme of Käse/plaza in my first installment. Ay is not ah.)

ETA: part three.

---L.
larryhammer: a wisp of smoke, label: "it comes in curlicues, spirals as it twirls" (curlicues)

Sunday, 19 Oct 08

I'm writing on our balcony in Interlaken --
    A lovely hostel where we take our ease
From all our -- chocolatin' and cuckoo-clockin' -- ?
    Well, no -- we hike more outdoor tours than these,
    Although we like exploring local cheese:
Perhaps you'll try this tasty Berner Käse?
We found it in the market on the plaza.

I squint into the sun and through the haze --
    The mornings in this season run to mist --
And see the Jungfrau: so we start these days,
    Watching the wooded foothills, autumn-kissed,
    And glacial peaks behind them in a tryst
With Alpine grandeur, putting god-like fire on.
As you can see, I've overdosed on Byron.

I've got good reasons, though, for all that reading:
    Manfred's castle is someplace hereabouts --
He climbed those snowy cliffs in haze receding --
    And, too, I read Childe Harold's frantic touts
    Of Lake Geneva as the best of out-and-outs
While passing -- not upon it -- by the shore,
By train -- the rain made ferry travel poor.

But here, I'm writing this all out of order --
    I got distracted as I tried to set the scene
(I fear I'm not a very good reporter):
    A sunny hostel balcony, pale green;
    Some ravens caw-cus on the hill, unseen;
A church-bell tolls the Sunday service slow
While cattle in the park clang, dong, and low.

That's right -- the city park across the street
    Has cows. We're told that this is temporary,
Just for the winter, when the snow and sleet
    And cold make higher alpine pastures scary.
    The Swiss are serious about their dairy,
And let all lowland plots of grass for grazing --
Makes sense, but meeting moo right here's amazing.

Now having set my scene, I'll stop right here --
    Today's our day to laze, and more'd be work.
Of Basel and Geneva, mountains near
    And far, I'll tell you -- later. I'm no jerk,
    Believe me, please -- indulge, this once, my quirk.
(We'll take a cog-rail to a restaurant
This afternoon -- I say this just to taunt.)


(If it's any consolation, I was wrong -- it was a funicular, not a cog-rail.)

ETA: The promised part two and part three.

---L.
larryhammer: a wisp of smoke, label: "it comes in curlicues, spirals as it twirls" (curlicues)

Sunday, 19 Oct 08

I'm writing on our balcony in Interlaken --
    A lovely hostel where we take our ease
From all our -- chocolatin' and cuckoo-clockin' -- ?
    Well, no -- we hike more outdoor tours than these,
    Although we like exploring local cheese:
Perhaps you'll try this tasty Berner Käse?
We found it in the market on the plaza.

I squint into the sun and through the haze --
    The mornings in this season run to mist --
And see the Jungfrau: so we start these days,
    Watching the wooded foothills, autumn-kissed,
    And glacial peaks behind them in a tryst
With Alpine grandeur, putting god-like fire on.
As you can see, I've overdosed on Byron.

I've got good reasons, though, for all that reading:
    Manfred's castle is someplace hereabouts --
He climbed those snowy cliffs in haze receding --
    And, too, I read Childe Harold's frantic touts
    Of Lake Geneva as the best of out-and-outs
While passing -- not upon it -- by the shore,
By train -- the rain made ferry travel poor.

But here, I'm writing this all out of order --
    I got distracted as I tried to set the scene
(I fear I'm not a very good reporter):
    A sunny hostel balcony, pale green;
    Some ravens caw-cus on the hill, unseen;
A church-bell tolls the Sunday service slow
While cattle in the park clang, dong, and low.

That's right -- the city park across the street
    Has cows. We're told that this is temporary,
Just for the winter, when the snow and sleet
    And cold make higher alpine pastures scary.
    The Swiss are serious about their dairy,
And let all lowland plots of grass for grazing --
Makes sense, but meeting moo right here's amazing.

Now having set my scene, I'll stop right here --
    Today's our day to laze, and more'd be work.
Of Basel and Geneva, mountains near
    And far, I'll tell you -- later. I'm no jerk,
    Believe me, please -- indulge, this once, my quirk.
(We'll take a cog-rail to a restaurant
This afternoon -- I say this just to taunt.)


(If it's any consolation, I was wrong -- it was a funicular, not a cog-rail.)

ETA: The promised part two and part three.

---L.

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