#BlaPoWriMo: Dankeschön – Thank You

German for Thank you.
Grandpa speaks it to impress.
Dankeschön when the waitress
brings his coffee
(two creamers on the side).
Dankeschön as he passes the tithing
bucket around the sanctuary.

He picked up the language
fighting in Korea.
Or was it ’Nam?
Or had he only served the men
who fought—West German soldiers
who said Dankeschön as he ladled
goulash into their bowls?

Dankeschön, duspreka,
he tells me when I fold his laundry,
dust framed photos on his shelves,
water his garden, drive him to the bank.
Thank you, miss, he translates,
but no dictionary can detect
the alien tongue: duspreka.
As if his German education
halted at Thank you,
and he ad-libbed from there,
passing gibberish off for Deutsch
a creole dialect mixing speech he
acquired in battle, in chains,
with the native vernacular
he lost before birth in a foreign land.

© 2015-2016 Nortina Simmons

Original poem written for #frapalymo.


6 thoughts on “#BlaPoWriMo: Dankeschön – Thank You

  1. Wonderful poem about your Grandfather. It is interesting the bits of language you can pick up in different lands. Especially those in the military who are in a place for awhile, or were forced to serve the military. I guess you get used to saying bits of phrases we like or use often.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s amazing how easily we can pick up someone else’s language or dialect without even realizing it. It’s like, what’s the point of taking a foreign language class? Just hang out with a native speaker for a while & before you know it, you’re talking just like them!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly. When I vacation in Quebec in Canada in Montreal or Quebec City I’m always put to shame by the three-year olds who speak so fast and fluently. Much better then me who took French six grade seven to first year university. It helped when I dated I guy who spoke French. But no more 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haha! I feel the same about my Spanish. Those kids make me feel six years of Spanish in school was all a waste. I can still understand it pretty well, but don’t ask me to talk. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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