Kölle Alaaf![2] I miss the echo in the streets,
the crowds on Rudolfplatz and Neumarkt[3],
the oompa pa of familiar Fastelovend[4] songs
and cries of ‘Kamelle!’[5] as sweets hailed down.

You helped me dress up as a clown.
I drank cold Kölsch, ate salty Pommes mit Mayonnais’.[6]
You taught me the words to ‘Mer losse d’r Dom en Kölle’
so I could sing along wth Bläck Fööss[7] in the rain.

Et hätt noch immer jot jejange,[8]
I was never arrested, never so drunk,
lost in a haze of hops and greasepaint
that I’d forget. I never forgot. I just moved away,

moved on to bodhráns and Guinness,
the Notting Hill carnival, November fireworks,[9]
and motherhood. But around this time of year,
I still shout out Kölle Alaaf! and hope you’ll hear.

Kim M. Russell, March 2017

[1] Ambiguous title refers to both Cologne dialect and beer brewed in Cologne.

[2] – Hooray for Cologne! (a rough translation) and it’s kind of bittersweet, which is reflected in the rest of the line and in the final line, where ‘streets’ becomes ‘sweets’.

[3] Rudolfplatz is where I used to live and Neumarkt is a market place in the centre of Cologne, surrounded by shops, stores, trams and the general hubbub of city life. I used to love the vibrancy, now I tend to stay away from crowds – a contradiction maybe.

[4]  Kölsch word for carnival, meaning evening of fasting, a Catholic tradition. In the lead-up to Easter – paradoxical.

[5] Sweets, toffees mainly, that are thrown into the crowd.

[6] Chips (fries) with mayonnaise.

[7] ‘Bare Foot’ a ‘rock’ band that writes original songs in dialect, for example, Mer losse d’r Dom en Kölle, a well-known carnival song which means: We’re leaving/keeping the cathedral in Cologne.

[8] It always turned out well.

[9] Further paradoxes of Catholic and anti-catholic festivities and the Notting Hill carnival. Having fun for its own sake rather than being dictated by religion.


Image found on Pinterest

My response to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Literary Excursions with Kerry ~ Annotations

Kerry says that in her previous challenge she mentioned that she would like to give more focus to the skill of using literary devices, with particular interest in those developed during the modern and post-modern time-frame. One of the characteristics of post-modern authors was to fragment the narrative through various means, such as change of narrative perspective, flashbacks or by breaking the fourth wall. A simple method which also gained popularity was the inclusion of annotations or footnotes, which could be either factual or fictitious reference points. These annotations might be placed in the left or right margin or at the bottom of the page. She has provide some excellent examples.

Kerry says that poetry lends itself to annotations, purely as a means of analyzing the text and so our challenge this week is to write a poem and provide annotations to the text, either as margin notes or footnotes. We may write a new poem for the challenge or use a poem we have previously written which might lend itself to this approach. The idea is to be creative rather than restrictive.

I have annotated a poem I wrote as an assignment for The Poetry School last week.


12 thoughts on “Kölsch[1]

  1. This is absolutely brilliant, Kim 😀 I especially love “I drank cold Kölsch, ate salty Pommes mit Mayonnais’.[6] You taught me the words to ‘Mer losse d’r Dom en Kölle’ so I could sing along wth Bläck Fööss[7] in the rain.” Also love the footnotes you have mentioned below ‘Chips (fries) with mayonnaise.’ and ‘Bare Foot’ a ‘rock’ band that writes original songs in dialect’ 😀 Yum!❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoyed this festival of memories Kim.
    I remember the joy of Pommes mit Mayonnais’ too, both in Germany and Norway – or maybe Norway was Belgium… memories of a long time ago.
    And that Mayonnaise! Lovely!
    Kind regards
    Anna :o]

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What I appreciate about the poem is the inclusion of German phrases in such a way as to encourage the idea of bilingualism. It also underlines the sense of nostalgia. The additional footnotes with translation, inspired me to reread the poem, inserting the correct meanings, and it brought out so much of the culture for me. Thank you for annotating your poem and participating in the challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve wanted to write a bilingual poem for a while and had included a glossary of translations. However, Kerry’s prompt gave me the opportunity to include some other aspects, so I used footnotes, which I think work better, although I did toy with labels but WordPress wouldn’t allow the format.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.