(This story has been translated into Czech by Sylva Ficová and can be read here.)

At the town’s lower market, my eldest son walks to the building where he will shortly practice the martial art karate. It does not make sense to drive home to the countryside, if I have to fetch him again in an hour’s time. My younger son winces and moans that he wants to go home. I ignore the whining and spontaneously decide to enter a student-managed restaurant. My younger son keeps his jacket on, because he complains of being cold. But he orders ice-cream. So does my daughter. Vanilla ice-cream. A tiny perfectly shaped portion with mint leaves on top. They each order something to drink. I order a glass of rosé. I have no cash so I ask the waitress if I may pay with the card. No. I leave my children to enjoy their delectable ice-cream. Younger son is quite happy now not to be at home. Due to technical problems the nearest cash machine refuses to give me cash. On my way out I meet my eldest son. He says there is no karate. How strange. He might have spent an hour outside at -10 ° C had we not met at this moment. I find out later that there was karate training, but that my son had not waited long enough. I point out the restaurant to him and tell him to join the other two, while I go and find another cash machine. I eventually come back with cash. Now I can relax. There is no hurry to go anywhere and I have all my children with me. The glass of rosé to me is like the acorn to Scrat. It is like drinking a flower rose. Its colour would soon tinge my cheeks and flush my veins. Much later of course, Darjeeling first flush would see us getting home safely. My eldest orders nachos with mountain cheese dip (he found the “mountain” part particularly intriguing). I order potato wedges and am glad that there is something on the menu I am able to eat. We are all at peace, chilled in the moment, relaxed, happy. My daughter, who is four years old, puts some sugar onto the table. She loves things sweet. She takes the straw from her glass and uses it to suck up the sugar crystals from the table surface, making patterns and then slowly sucking up all the patterns. I look at this and wonder if she has any idea how this looks like to the rest of the world. How different it is, and how the same it actually is. Don’t we all want something sweet.

Copyright © Quirina Roode-Gutzmer 2012. Al rights reserved.


Star studs

There once was a whole lot of nothingness,
and then it was pricked to pieces.
In the whole, the holes,
under pressure bore shining coals,
glittering its stout strength, stars no less.

Copyright © Quirina Roode-Gutzmer 2012. All rights reserved.

Mental hijack

He holds my water bottle, and he unscrews the lid. I watch his every move. He is talking to me about herpes, and I see this blister looming on his lip. His mouth is dry and his thirst is urgent and it is my bottle. Why did he have to take my bottle? I specially made a separate one for him and he left it in the car. But we have walked miles, and we’re tired, we’re hungry. Above all we are thirsty. I’m saying to myself that I cannot drink from that bottle. And another thought stubbornly pops up like a spam window telling me that I should drink water, because I could feel a flu coming on. My throat was raw. Flu. Herpes. Flu. Herpes. Which one do you want? Drink water. No don’t. Drink water. And he starts drinking water. Out of my bottle. Don’t drink it, I said to myself. Drink it, or you’ll get dehydrated, said the spam window blinking in that irritating manic sort of way. And I want to frantically search the mouse in my mind to click that window closed. He is drinking water, my precious flu-preventing water. Water envy overcomes me. Oases hallucination. Don’t drink it. Don’t. Don’t! He gives me back my bottle. I want flu, I remind myself. I love my sore throat. I am holding my water bottle, and immediately he starts talking again, continuing his monologue where he had left off. He is still talking about herpes. I can’t bloody believe it! I start drinking the water. And I can’t fucking (!) believe I just did that.

Copyright © Quirina Roode-Gutzmer 2012. All rights reserved.


George, our fine and friendly Labrador
whom we so adore,
wagging his big fluffy tail,
he tells us a lovely tale,
smudging the station wagon window,
excited for soon he will the soft earth burrow,
and sticks from the rippled pond fetch,
and afterwards shake and shake and stretch,
and then trajectories calculate,
to catch frisbees, oh so great!
and then to quench the worked thirst,
running back to the car to be first,
and be rubbed and dried by his favourite towel,
and home we all go, and warm dinner gobble,
and snuggle and cuddle in soft blanket,
and fall asleep and dream of catching a rabbit.

Copyright © Quirina Roode-Gutzmer 2012. All rights reserved.

The poet’s voice

“Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting with the gift of speech.” –Simonides

Whenever another poet can fathom your poem and hear its music in their mind’s ear, it is like two souls resonate for a moment in an intangible world. But when this poet is able to express the meaning and music of your poem with their voice, so that it is heard, it is extraordinary.

Abigail Baker, is one of those talented poets, who engages your mind and heart with her words. You can read her blog here.

She was particularly intrigued by my poem “Letters pronouncing kisses” (previously published on my blog on 27 March 2011), which she rendered beautiful with her vivid voice in a recording, which you can listen to here. Poetry reading and audio recording copyrighted © by Abigail Baker 2011. All rights reserved.


Letters pronouncing kisses

Purse the lips and exhale the air when saying:
where, which, what, with, whom, whether and why—
The breath of air should extinguish a candle burning.
Tantalize, titillate, scintillate, exhilarate with breath, the lips like a sigh.

Before baffling and babbling, becoming beloved, and beaming blossom,
Peering into eyes, parting lips, pausing pleasurably, placing lips upon lips,
pulsating with passion, panting, the proof, the promise;
then, as smooth as eating a plum, most marvelously the meeting of lips,
mmmmmmmm, until touching the tongue tips.

Mouth in motion, melting, in momentum with its own miming and rhyming.
Bitter sweet; bitter the marjoram, sweet the cardamom.
Mumbling, fumbling and then the tumbling.
The tongue trembing saying renaissance romance; souls to fathom.

The rising and falling sound song of every diphthong.
Thirsty, hungry and lovelorn; kiss-drenched with love life long.

Copyright © Quirina Roode-Gutzmer 2012. All rights reserved.

Women of Science in Germany—Wissenschaftlerinnen in Deutschland

With gratitude I am proud to present my dual-language (German/English) reportage on women scientists in 20th century Germany. The article is featured on Christine Hartmann’s website, Frauenmesse.com—a networking platform to promote women entrepreneurs and professionals in Germany. It has been a privilege and honour to work with Christine Hartmann. I admire her professional, sincere and also warm way of working with people.

Es ist mir eine besondere Freude meine zweisprachige (Deutsch/Englisch) Reportage über Frauen in der Wissenschaft im. 20 Jahrhundert in Deutschland zu präsentieren. Der Artikel ist auf Christine Hartmanns Website, Frauenmesse.com—eine Website, um Frauen als Unternehmerinnen und Fachleute in Deutschland zu fördern—herausgegeben worden. Es war ein Privileg und eine Ehre mit Christine Hartmann zu arbeiten. Ich bewundere wie professionell, herzlich und auch wie nett sie in ihrer Arbeit mit Menschen umgeht.

Women of Science in Germany (1900–2000)

Wissenschaftlerinnen in Deutschland (1900–2000)

Copyright © Quirina Roode-Gutzmer 2012. All rights reserved. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.