Monday, 14 November 2011

Ptasie Radio

My favourite cafe here in Poznan is called Ptasie Radio. It is covered in birds, with a roof made to look like a bird cage, birds all over the walls, candles in jars, the smell of chocolate brownies and rich dark coffee in chipped cups. It is named after this poem by Julian Tuwim and it makes me happy. Very happy. 

Bird Radio
by Julian Tuwim

Hello! Hello!
This is Bird Radio from Birch Grove Station,
Broadcasting out to the birdly nation,
Please, can all adjust their sets,
The birds have flown in,
For an important tête-à-tête:
First—we would just like to ask,
What squeaks at dawn in the grass?
And, second—if we kindly could,
Where does the echo hide inside the woods?
Thirdly—what is the consensus view,
On who bathes first in morning’s dew?
Fourth—do we simply take the word,
Of each who claims to be a bird?
Claims not to be a bird?
And in positions fifth through tenth
We’ll hear the warbling, chirping, singing,
Tweeting, rolling and tah-rilling,
Of the following birds:

Oriole, lark, kingfisher, owl,
Bunting, goose, stork, waterfowl,
Woodpecker, waxwing, hen,
Cardinal, sparrow, goldfinch, wren,
Swallow, blackcap, turtle dove, tomtit,
Crested hen, wood-pigeon, scale-throated hermit,
Nightingale, thrush, rooster, mallard,
As well as every other bird.

First—the nightingale
Started thus:
“Hulloh! Oh, hulloh oh oh oh oh!
Here ere ere ere ere ere
Bird radio, ray-dee-oh, dee-oh, dee-oh,
Tee-oh, tree-oh, true loo loo loo loo
Pio pio pee-oh low low low low low
Ploh ploh ploh ploh hello!”

To which the lark retweeted:
“Now what the deuce is going on?
Glad I brought my dictionary along,
How else to understand the nightingale’s song?
Chirp chirp shh-wurp!
Chirrup chirrup shh-rup!
This isn’t theater,
Or the Big Top!
Look at him, his feathers bristling!
Screeches like a Northern Lapwing!
End these arias, end these lyrics!
A-chirp a-chirp a-chyric,
Chirrup chirrup chirryric!”

Thus he started chirping, peeping,
Warbling, shrieking, chirp-a-cheeping,
So that the rooster, too,
Crowed in anger: “cock-a-doodle-doo!”

When the cuckoo hears this noise,
He’ll scream: “What? A partnership, boys?
A-doodle-doo? A-doodle-doo?
I simply cannot allow this to continue.

Take what you want, I don’t pinch pennies,
But of my a-doodles you can’t have any.
Doo—squawk it till the morning!
But a-doodle—that’s my thing!"
He a-doodled: a-doodle! a-doodle!
To which woodpecker: stock-oh! knock-oh!
And waxwing calls: Whose-there? Who’s?
Were where? Drinking what? Drank, so choose!
Partridge: Come here! Go here!
Have what? Give me! Throw here! Toss here!

And right away all the birds
Chirp-squawk-shriek—in the following words:
“Give here! Toss here! Have what? A thing?
Feather? Grain? Bottle cap? A string?
Go here, throw here! I worm, you worm!
I’m pasting a nest, glue this, please confirm!
See it! I won’t let you! Mine! Whose?
I’m making your nest, dues, dues, dues!
You won’t let me? What a!—shame on you, you!
And so a birdly brawl ensued.

Then the avian police descended,
And that’s how the forest broadcast ended.