Wednesday, May 1, 2019




There she is a blonde Flamenco dancer,

From a family that was long dysfunctional.

The poet says: ‘Dance, my dear to the rhythm

Of the guitar and my lyrics.’

She pushes her feet to perform the fiery rhythms,

She dances in a trance,

Like a shaman in a séance.

By working them out

Till she’s exhausted after each dance.

He praises her in his verses,

Suddenly he lets her fall down.

This makes her doubt;

Melancholy creeps into her heart.

She thinks: ‘When we came together

It was like a blitz,

That touched my heart.

You brought me fire like Prometheus,

Kindled it within me.

Ah, love when we’re together

We come out of our shells

And enter each other.’

* * *

Our love is like a flower with feelings

It needs to be cared for,

It needs the sun so that the perfume

Can unfold itself.

Your hatred is a contagious fire,

Like darkness which douses the fire within me.

I feel the ecstasy and love dying.

Alas, the magic of amour has disappeared;

Leaving behind only a faint hope.

* * *

I gave you my love,

You gave me your poesie,

Written in love’s flaming script.

You gave me light but also darkness.

Your kiss stirred my soul;

My heart began to sing

Your body promised me secrets and delicious hours

I’d never known.

During the day I walked

Like in a dream with opiate senses.

* * *

‘I crouched below your window

Till your new lover stealthily went away.

I howled to the skies in vain.

How could such an immortal love pass away?

The vicissitudes of our relationship led me to a decision:

I saw the Mephisto unveiled in you,

I have no desire to follow you to Hell.

Adieu, my veiled friend and tormentor.


I constantly live in fear.
Angst to be unmasked.
My spouse knows it.
My daughter knows it.
But no one else does.

I feel like a failure in life,
Because I have this flaw.
My parents had no time.
They worked and slaved
To earn our daily bread.
Father came often with a bad breath
From the taverns and inns.
He beat us and mother.
My teacher thrashed me too.
I had concentration problems.

As a child I had to work
With a wooden hoe and a bull,
For terraced farming wasn’t easy,
And my father was a farmer.

I felt ignored by my parents.
My mother would have helped me
Were she not perpetually tired
And at her wits’ end.
I cheated at school
But didn’t pass the school exam.

I grew up as a man
Without reading


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.

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,
Irritates 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.

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 another.
‘Aus Spass’ he says.
Just for fun.
He shouts at the German Putzfrau,
Who cleans the classrooms:
‘Sie Geistesgestörte! ’
You mad woman.

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,
Mutter, ‘Ein Spinner! ’
And walk away.

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


SATIS SHROFF is based in Freiburg (poems, fiction, non-fiction) and he is dedicated to promoting and creating awareness for Creative Writing and trans-cultural togetherness in his writings, and in preserving an attitude of Miteinander in this world. Satis Shroff  received the Pablo Neruda Award 2017 as well as the German Academic Exchange Prize. He was awarded the Social Engagement Prize of Green City Freiburg and the Heimatmedaille Baden-Württemberg 2018.

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