Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Unter der Linde

One of my favorite German poems is Unter der Linde. Whenever I hear someone describe the German language as "ugly" or "harsh," I muse at their ignorance, for they have never read the words of Walther von der Vogelweide, Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, or Eichendorff.

The poem, written by minstrel Vogelweide, describes an interchange between two lovers beneath a Linden tree, espied only by a "little bird" hidden within its branches. The "little bird" referenced Vogelweide himself; the German word for bird being "Vogel."
On these beautiful early summer evenings, we frequently toss a blanket on the grass under one of the apple trees. Our Penny purrs in delight as we set her amidst the branches, where she deems it her sworn duty to hastily clear every branch of leaves in rapid-fire succession. We lie on the blanket amidst a shower of leaves while Kawi transforms into that angel we knew in times past, begging for a head scratch, eager to learn a new word or song.
Occasionally Kawi musters up the confidence to sit aloft among the branches with Penny, crying for backup when one too many doves or sparrows flies in for closer inspection. For the most part, they are quite content as long as they can keep an eye on us, the lovers Under der Linde.

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