The macaronic mode appeared to be a hard sell on this occasion and relatively few risked sending their brain-children over the parapet. Among those who did, Tracy Davidson had a line which sounds like the beginning of something rich and strange, A gringo, a schweinhund, a burro, a boor, as well as the memorable couplet
’ I’d rather have a stille nacht, alone in bed
Than gaj nga’ chuq tlhj vam ha’dibah, as a Klingon said.’ *
D.A.Prince’s eight lines ended on the sad note for TV fans, ’Fini, Les Misérables’, while Brian Allgar noted that ’Ein macaronic vers ist dur to find’ and Vance Reese asked ‘So, bae, why ‘dja varf mir/This shmekvollisch?’ Er, quite, why indeed?
Below, in no particular order, are the five hardy souls who decided on their version of macaronic, from every rift loaded with foreign ore to the sparse or sparing, and hacked their way through the linguistic jungle to attain the sunlit uplands of the adjudicator's approval.
* A translation will be supplied in plain brown envelope on application to the disreputable doorman at Lupo Towers.
Joanna Bird: An Embarrassment of Choice
Devoted, sweet François
Said “Mon amour, je t’aime;
Mon cœur est plein de toi.”
But do I feel la même?
Then there’s exciting Juan
Expressing su amor
With an aire de truhan,
A roguish charm that I adore.
Last night the männlich Kurt
Declared “Ich liebe dich.”
They’re all too nice to hurt,
So which one should I pick?
◊ ◊ ◊
Julia Griffin: Macrocosmic, or Croque-Madame
Old lady mistakes Chancellor Merkel for Macron's wife.
- BBC News 13th November 2018.
Êtes-vous Madame Macron, madame?
Nein: Merkel ist mein Name.
Prince Harry, donc! Vous êtes sa femme?
Nein: Merkel, meine Dame.
Mer-quel? Mer-quoi? Mercron, c’est ça?
Merkel! Das scheint willkürlich . . .
Eh, aujourd’hui, c’est mercredi!
Wenn möchten Sie. Natürlich.
◊ ◊ ◊
C.R. Edenhill: Mégui mégui wŏ ài nĭ.
Recorded first by Yao Lee
This Chinese song’s my cup of tea.
Even its name (Mégui means rose)
Has more to teach than you’d suppose.
From it, in Mandarin we see
That ‘I love you’ is wŏ ài nĭ,
Which also lets beginners know
Word order favours SVO.
◊ ◊ ◊
Liz Horrocks: Journey Through Europe
When you’re travelling abroad,
The following may strike a chord:
Remembering, when in Spain, to pass
A local car with “¡Gracias!”
Giving your tense neck a massage,
When you are told “Cedez la passage.”
Hearing your distracted spouse
Scream “Not Rechts! Geradeaus!”
Muttering “They should all be hung,”
Faced with another Umleitung.
All these will surely bring you joy,
By showing you’re not hoi polloi.
◊ ◊ ◊
L. A. Mereoie: The Answer To Everything
The Arabic word for trousers
In Egypt’s, we learn, bantaloon,
But far more inspiring for poets
Must be thalatha wa-thalathun!
The Arabs invented our digits,
Much better than Rome’s, a real boon,
But to say ‘33’ (Classic language)
You need thalatha wa-thalathun.
Three and thirty, to translate exactly,
With a nimble and triple-time tune
Feared by some as an Arabic ear-worm
Not just thalatha wa-thalathun.
Let us join in a great global chorus
On steppe, wold and weald, veldt and dune
And unite by intoning this mantra,
Namely, THALATHA WA-THALATHUN!