swabian lingo blues

What impulse drags me here?
To this town whose lanes I have grown to admire
Like my grandmother’s face;
To the comfort of Hannelore’s pub,
Where only she calls me, with the deepest Swabian respect,
‘Herr Doktor Armstrong’.
And I don’t speak its language,
And I can’t say how much I love the place
In its own tongue.
This makes me weak,
This struggle with lingo,
This curse of Englishness.
My lazy lips
Are more inclined
To drown in their beer
Than sing their native songs.
But I still love you
And your ducks
And your trees
And your bleeding river
And your trains
And your sloping ways.
For you are the back of my hand,
The hope in my eyes,
A heart as big as mine.
Forgive me
If I can only speak to you
In my poetry.
It’s all I know
I fear,
The only way I can
Truly embrace
All your wonderful complexity,
Your strange and moody faces,
A savage history
And a moon that shines
Over your Rathaus,
Your police station,
And lofty dreams
That did for Hoelderlin
And will one day do
For me.
I know this.
I speak this,
In these lines for you,
From the very depths
Of my kindred soul.


the jingling geordie

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whitley bay, tyne and wear, United Kingdom
poet and raconteur