Friday, April 17, 2015

Escape Route, Basel poems

Escape Route

This I do in summer.
Winter, being least a friend,
is not the companion
I choose to walk with.

I stroll along the Rhine.
It is the route I take to escape
nagging thoughts holding me prisoner.

As I amble under the canopy
of sun and sky, along the flowing river,
between luscious leafy trees,
nature speaks to me and brings a quiet calm.

Cyclists, joggers, lovers holding hands,
young mothers out with toddlers and
babies in prams, swimmers bobbing
and floating in the grey-blue Rhine
are welcome distractions.

I admire the tenacity of a medieval city wall
and buildings still standing after six centuries.
I brood about the battles, quakes and fires
they have withstood to tell their story.

The lens through which I see the world
lose their grey tint. It is cleansed
by hope and the light of life.
I am whole again before I cross the Rhine,
long before my sauntering comes to an end.

©  Althea Romeo-Mark 13.03.15

A River Runs Through It
(Basel, Switzerland)

Basel Separated, yet connected,
“gross und klein,”
thrive on the River Rhine.

The River Rhine,
at times a murky blue,
a murky brown,
flows through Basel City
like blood through veins,
gives life and links
sister towns, and countries.

Witness to history old and new,
city and river have much to tell
about plundering tribal giants,
from north and south,
and death by plagues,
the rise and fall
of European nations.

Beautiful Basel
laughs in the sun.
When it thunders
and lightning tear clouds
and rain swells the Rhine,
Basel refuses to be cowered.

© Althea Romeo-Mark 18.09.2014

Friday, April 3, 2015

Carnival (Fasnacht) in White and Black: Photo Story

According to Wikipedia and other sources, carnival is a festive season that occurs immediately before the Christian season of Lent.

The main events typically occur during February. Carnival typically involves public celebration and/or parade combining some elements of a circus, masks and public street party. People wear masks during many such celebrations, an overturning of life's normal things. The celebrations have long been associated with heavy alcohol consumption

Some of the best-known traditions, including carnival parades and masquerade balls, were first recorded in medieval Italy. The carnival of Venice was, for a long time, the most famous carnival (although Napoleon abolished it in 1797 and only in 1959 was the tradition restored).

From Italy, Carnival traditions spread to Spain, Portugal and France and from France to New France in North America. From Spain and Portugal it spread with colonization to the Caribbean and Latin America. In the early 19th century in the German Rhineland and Southern Netherlands, the weakened medieval tradition also revived.

In Rhineland in 1823, the first modern Carnival parade took place in Cologne, Germany.  The upper Rhineland is mostly Protestant, as is most of Northern Germany and Northern Europe. Carneval, (Fasching or Fastnacht in Germany) mixed pagan traditions with Christian traditions. Pre-Lenten celebrations featured parades, costumes and masks to endure Lent's withdrawal from worldly pleasures.

You did not tell me
we had ended.

Her photograph
on your desk
told me I was old news
replaced by older news
new again.

I am the discarded slice
in your sandwich.

Well, I “playing mas.”

I steep myself
in the carnival rush,
dancing non-stop
in crushing crowds
to the pling-pang,
of steel pans and
mega-phoned calypsos
booming from food stands.

This is bacchanal.

Each night there is
a new friend to jam
and wind-up with
in a rum-punched throng,
in a steel-band jump-up.

*bacchanal- The Bacchanalia were Roman festivals of Bacchus, the Greco-Roman god of wine, freedom, intoxication and ecstasy.

*play mass- to take part in a carnival masquerade.

© 29.06.2014 Althea Romeo-Mark

Wednesday, March 18, 2015