It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Grooks

I love these things! From the back of the book:

Piet Hein began writing them during the Nazi occupation of Denmark. They were, quite literally, underground literature — Piet Hein was in hiding as a resistance leader. Soon becoming effective weapons of the resistance, they enable Danes to talk to one another about what really mattered in a range just beyond German understanding and several octaves beyond Nazi sensitivities.

Here’s a sampling of Piet Hein’s Grooks, taken from “Grooks 1” (Toronto: General Publishing Company, 1969).

MANKIND

Men, said the Devil,
are good to their brothers:
they don’t want to mend
their own ways, but each other’s.

DREAM INTERPRETATION
simplified.

Everything’s either
concave or -vex,
so whatever you dream
will be something with sex.

A PSYCHOLOGICAL TIP

Whenever you’re called on to make up your mind,
and you’re hampered by not having any,
the best way to solve the dilemma, you’ll find,
is simply by spinning a penny.

No–not so that chance shall decide the affair
while you’re passively standing there moping;
but the moment the penny is up in the air,
you suddenly know what you’re hoping.

THE MIRACLE OF SPRING

We glibly talk
of nature’s laws
but do things have
a natural cause?

Black earth turned into
yellow crocus
is undiluted
hocus-pocus.

October 16, 2005 Posted by | books | 2 Comments