Monday, March 13, 2006

Varan Prost

by Gustaf Froeding (1860-1911):

Our Dean
is round as a cheese
and learned as the devil himself,
but sociable anyway
and a kind soul
and is not ashamed that his father was a farmer.
He lives like we do
and "spikes" his coffee
as we do
and does not reject the bottle,
loves food
as we do
--but on holidays, that's something else.

As soon as he dons the clerical robe
the rest of us feel miserably small,
but the Dean seems to grow
because then he is Dean from top to toe
and a magnificent Dean at that
in a large parish with accessions.
I shall never forget in all my days,
how imposing he was
recently, in his robe and his collar,
how he put the worldly humans through the mill
and laid down the law to us!
And the Dean wept, no wonder,
he spoke of the Judgment Day!

And all of us wept profusely, too,
because it stung the flesh
and the soul was under pressure.
And the church council members sneaked out
with stooped backs
behind the Dean
because they were called to a meeting.
But of course
we recovered
when the Dean finally cleared his throat
and said: "Welcome
to the smorgasbord and the schnapps!"

From Of Swedish Ways by Lilly Lorenzen, illustrated by Dick Sutphen, Gilbert Publishing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1964.

No comments: