As last Friday was the last of the month, it was time for a meeting of Farkham Artists' and Readers' Trasury. The venue was again the Farkham University Lending Library. However, this time, I made the organisers use the full name as last month, they used the acronym and nobody came to the meeting as the poster proclaimed "Venue: FULL".
This month, it was especially important to make sure that we had a full house as the guest speaker was coming all the way from Germany. Fraulein Ros Spitz is one of the new wave of poets currently very much in vogue around her native Lübeck Travemunde, birthplace of marzipan.
Fraulein Spitz was first noticed by my pal Dimitri on a research trip to Dortmund, where he heard her poetry in a local artists hang-out. After her session, Dimitri asked if she would like to visit us here in Britain and that was where it all began. Ivor Parrish, the AppallingVicarBastard of St Olav the Ignominious church here in Farkham, as the chair of FART, was all for it as he believed it would enhance the intellectual standing of the meeting, to the benefit of all FARTers.
There was a great buzz all around the library reading room on the night of the meeting. This was by far the biggest turn-out of FARTers that anyone there could remember.
Basil Potbound of Notweeds Nursery was on the top table with Ivor Parrish and Flo Werry-Speke, representing the committee to offer a warm welcome to our first international guest speaker.
To begin the evening, Ros Spitz read her epic poem "Unterschlagen Krankenwagen", a cautionary tale about unrequited love leading to theft from an employer who happened not only to be the father of the object of the protagonist's affections, but also the godfather of the local organised crime syndicate.
Thinking that Fraulein Spitz must be a devotee of Wagner, I was much relieved to hear that her closing works were to be shorter in nature. The first was a rhyme based on traditional Lübeck Travemunde tales of hardship leading to the invention of marzipain under siege when everything, but everything was in short supply.
Standing at the microphone, her severe hair line and earthquake-proof shoes put me in mind of the Lotte Lenya character in Dr No. Closing her eyes and taking a deep breath, Fraulein Spitz shared with us:
"Marzipan alter mann"
"Setzen Sie ihre kugeln in einen kanister"
"Wenn Sie einen frau nicht finden können"
"Ein shönes, sauberes mann ist da"
Polite applause, more in relief at her brevity than in appreciation of the poetry rippled through the house.
Then in her stark accent, Fraulein Spitz announced that she was about to make a traditional British poem, taught to her by new friends she had made from the Old Farkham Academicians just the night before. She went on to say that she was so appreciative of being educated in the fine art of the Limerische...
The hall was silent as she began:
"Zair Voss a jung frau vom Berlin"
"Who on Tuesdays vould velcome a girl in"
"She zaid oh my dear"
"I don't vant to zound kweer"
"But your tongue it hass gott mein toess curlin'"
The hall remained silent. I could hear Ivor Parrish's teeth grinding and Flo Werry-Speke seemed to have fainted. The silence was broken by Basil Potbound, who asked for a round of applause for our visitor who had come so far and done so well in an obviously strange language.
"Zank you Herr Potbound" She smiled. "Pobune" He replied, "It's French". Ivor Parrish was turning purple quietly and still unable to speak. Mrs Sprout from the local B&B was using her first aid skills to revive Flo Werry-Speke while the rest of the FARTers shuffled quietly in their seats, not quite knowing what to do. This uneasy situation remained for several minutes until I took the initiative and grabbed the microphone.
"Thank you all for coming tonight and a huge thank you to Ros Spitz for joining us all the way from Germany". "Dimitri told me she was spectacular, and I am sure that you will agree that this evening was something really out of the ordinary".
Ivor Parrish approached me in a most un vicar like mood. "Who was responsible for this outrage?". I shrank from reminding him how keen he was so simply replied "Varkov and I". Apparently, I have now been excommunicated and will most likely burn in hell. Heigh ho. Dimitri and Fraulein Spitz weren't seen for a few days, but when he did emerge from the Amble Inn where she had been staying, he did mention that no real harm had been done to Farko-German relations.
Well, I suppose that is something to be thankful for.
See more news items in our blog.