Friday, August 1, 2008

Ruth Franke: HOBBIES

He has recovered rather well from his stroke, the retired high school teacher. A couple of years ago he was still paralysed down one side, but since then he has set himself a tough regime, can now even ride a bicycle. With rather stiff legs, admittedly, the left one having to move in tandem with the right; nonetheless a big step forward towards independence. He was always so reserved, short of things to say, we never exchanged more than a civil greeting. His illness changed that, he likes to chat more now.

There he is, pushing his bike down the driveway, briefcase on the carrier, and carrying his instrument case. That's a fine thing, I guess, that he's been able to take up his old hobby once more. Making music is such a good way to forget one's problems. Perhaps playing with a group of former colleagues. That would make having to give up teaching so much easier to bear.

I've always wondered what sort of instrument it could be in that case with such a peculiar shape: a long, slender neck, widening out towards the base. Some kind of antique string instrument?

Now, just as he's about to mount, I pluck up the courage to ask him. He gladly opens the case for me to see.

targets in the air
everything concentrated
on clay pigeons
Translation from German by David Cobb

by Ruth Franke
Emmendingen, Baden-Württemberg. Germany
first published in
Modern Haiku 38.1, 2007

1 comment:

Crafty Green Poet said...

I like the way this is told and the surprise of the ending.