Saturday, October 1, 2022



Alpine Gratitude


The hamlets are scattered,

Tucked away in the side valleys and spurs

Of the Black Forest,

Which was once dark and foreboding.

A forest that once conjured myths, legends

And fairy tales.


Under the hay and homesteads,

You find men and mice,

Good natured maids and children,

Healthy and happy cows, goats,

Sheep and swines.

The Schwarzwald farmers paid low taxes,

For Nature punished them enough.


They couldn’t get rich on the craggy soil,

The high elevation and the long, raw winter.

Yet the Black Forest forced the soil,

To yield millet in Summer,

Wheat and barley,

Buried beneath a thick mantle of snow.


Ah, it’s already past the month of October,

The young calves are in the stalls,

After a colourful, traditional walk

From the higher alpine meadows.

There’s corn in the chamber,

Feed for the animals in the barns.

Around Freiburg the apple trees,

Are laden heavily with apples.


Your nostrils smell apple


Mixed with cinnamon and sugar:

Applekompott, apple moos, apple pancakes and pies.


* * *


Feathered Friends


A pair of binocs and patience

Is all you need.

Watching our feathered friends

In the garden or the Black Forest.


Hush! A steglitz with red and white feathers,

Has just come by.

Some pigeons have left Freiburg

And roost on the pine trees,

In the urban outskirts.


The blaumeise is a frequent guest,

With its black streak across the eyes,

And the blue feathered cap it wears.


Yesterday was sunny

And a robin took a speedy bath,

On the stone pool,

Ever on guard,

Lest it be surprised,

By a curious jay or a prowling cat.


Now and then you hear the zaunkönig,

Europe’s smallest bird,

Trilling out loud,

Grabbing everyone’s attention.


But in the evening,

When the sun goes down,

It’s time for the loveliest melodies,

Sung by the blackbird,

From my neighbour’s rooftop.



Steglitz: goldfinch

Blaumeise: blue tit

Zaunkönig: wren

Blackbird: Amsel



* * *


O, Cry With Me

(Subtitle: The Prayer Wheel)


Adieu winter,

The signs of growth are here,

Between sunshine and rain.

There’s a subtle greening everywhere.

People work line bees,

Cutting and pruning weeds

Using their ancient hoes

To plough the terraces


The joy that plants have survived

Beneath the deadwood.

There’s optimism in the air

And with it hope,

When crocuses rear their heads.

Lovely lupins, delphiniums and daffodils,

In the meadows of the Himalayas.


People are bathing in the tributaries of holy rivers,

Chanting vedic hymns.

Those who have lost their mothers,

Remember them through rites,

Followed by a bath in the river Matatirtha.

The sound of thundering hoofs in Tudikhel,

In the heart of Catmandu.

Snorting and foaming horses,

And cheering Nepalese.

Spectators who watch the great chariots

Of Bhairawa and Bhadrakali.


The joy of the fresh air,

In the tranquillity of the blue Mahabharat hills,

Where life begins anew.

The blackbirds, finches, thrushes

Twitter and chirp to the glory of Prakriti.


In Springtime we awake with expectations,

Of pleasure and new luck.

The tourists have come.

The mountains are beckoning me.

No, it’s the tourists with dollars,

Who want to be celebrated in the media,

With heroic selfies

Or camera-teams.


O, go not to the mountains, my love.

End not in a crevasse

Or beneath an avalanche.

I shall not cry for you.

My father died for the tourists

On the lap of Chomolungma.


I’m doing it for our children’s education.


The Tibetan wheel turns relentlessly,

O cry with me.




It’s Summer where moist southern winds prevail.

Your body, mind and spirit,

Are one with Nature.

The flowers bloom and cherries get ripe,

‘Kaphal pakyo, kaphal pakyo,’

Sings a a bird.

The day lengthens

And the clouds cannot hide the Surya.

Soon great clouds bring rain.

Indra gives his blessing:


A gift to many,

A curse for few.


The sun shines now

And the leaves sag.

The frogs dive in the pond,

The dragon fly hovers awhile.

There’s life and beauty in this transient world.

Summer brings enduring happiness

To one and all,

When trees blossom and bear fruit.


The paddy planting season is over

In the Vale of Catmandu.

The Newari  jyapu farmers sing songs

And rejoice.

The sun fills our lives with light,

Positive thoughts prevail.

The wonderful scent of the roses,

Butterflies dancing over Himalayan orchids.

Your fingers touch and feel

The silkiness of the rose petals.


People sing in praise of the cow for eight days.

The holy cows of Catmandu wear garlands.

The prayer wheel turns unceasingly,

O cry with me.


** * *


Chilly Autumn arrives soon enough,

The summer flowers,

Those dear friends have gone.

Asters and chrysanthemums still greet us.


People celebrate the festival of lights,

In honour of Goddess Lakshmi.

Even the common crow is worshipped this day.

For the crow is the messenger of Death,

To the Hindus: Yamadoot.

Another day the dog is garlanded and revered,

For he is Bhairab’s steed.

The third day of Tihar belongs to the cow,

The reincarnation of Lakshmi.

If you beat a cow you might be punished

With a life in poverty.


The fruits are ripe now,

Waiting to be harvested.

The sun’s rays become mellow.

The leaves turn golden, russet, brown.

The paths are strewn with dead leaves.

We reflect about our own lives.

The dying leaves,

A metaphor of your short existence,

On this beautiful earth.


With splendor of Summer gone,

We become thoughtful and melancholic.

What has fate in store for us?

In this epoch of Kali Yuga,

Wealth has become the personification

Of success and career.

If the Gurkha survives he comes home,

With presents for his family.

Others remain cremated in foreign lands.

Nothing endures in the cycle of life.

We come, grow up, live our lives

And go.

Thereby making place for others.

Akin to the sunflower that ripens,

Provides shade and seeds,

Follows the whims of the sun,

And wilts.

Even green leaves die.


The wheel of life waits for no one,

O,  cry with me.


** * *


The sky is sunless,

The tree branches look like emaciated humans,

Hands reaching for the sky,

In poses of suspended animation.

The nights are cold and dark,

All seems lifeless, dead, buried,

Beneath the white snow.

No bird sings.


Misty mountains veiled,

With dampness everywhere.

The cold makes the people remain indoors.

Winter means respite,

A time for solitude and contemplation.

Read books, watch DVDs, tell tales,

Time for Kaffeekranz elsewhere,

With the family or friends.


Hush, life is merely asleep outside.

Come Spring and life blooms,

In the meadows, in the woods and gardens.

Worms start tilling the earth.

Even in the cold and darkness of winter,

There are faint signs of life,

In the microcosmos off the beaten path.

Prakriti is regenerating,

Despite the onslaught of the elements:

Snow, wind and rain.

Nature survives and we gather hope.

The old Tibetan wheel turns eternally,

O rejoice with me.


O, Stay Awhile


Verweile doch, du bist so schön


O, stay awhile, you’re so beautiful,


Said Goethe.


And take a lyrical walk


To reactivate your inner life,


And stimulate your thalamus.


The wind blows over all and sundry.




You listen to the natural movement water


Flowing in a streamlet.


You feel the softness of the mild sun


Caressing your cheeks.


Clouds moving across languidly in the sky.




Nature is a colourful sight,


Gives us joy when we get the blues.


Bestows us scenes with sensory impressions.


Listen to the chirping of Nature’s minstrels.




Streams and rivulets are everywhere.


The ceaselessly flowing water sound


Is converted to bio-electric energy impulses,


By your  sensory organs


You are awed by the gold-vermillion of the dying sun.




O, stay awhile


With charming Mother Nature,


For an hour and observe details.


Dead leaves are dancing in the air.


Wander slowly along the stream you’ve chosen.


It promotes flow


Of your cerebral-spinal-fluid,


From your brain to the spine,


And helps nerve cells in the brain.


The peaks and meadows over Oberied have snow already.


And the longing for the songs of Spring grows.




O, stay awhile


And enjoy your lyrical walk,


To gather energy for the next day.


Two storks have decided to stay and bear the cold winter;


Too old to fly with the flock to the warm south.




SATIS SHROFF writes, lectures, sings and is based in Freiburg. He is a poet, humanist, lecturer and artist and writes poems, fiction, non-fiction, and also on ecological, ethno-medical, culture-ethnological themes. He has studied Zoology and Botany in Nepal, Medicine and Social Science in Germany and Creative Writing in Freiburg and Manchester. The German media describes his as a mediator between western and eastern cultures, and he sees his future as a writer and poet. He received the Pablo Neruda Award 2017 for Poetry in Crispiano, Italy, the Heimatmedaille 2018 for Heimatpflege and Literature and the German Academic Exchange Prize (DAAD Prize).

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