Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Alma Pedde, 1914 - 2002

Today, my mother would have been 93 years old. She died on July 28th of 2002, just ten days after her 88th birthday. I always take some time to remember my parents on their respective birthdays because each meant a lot to me. From my dad, I learned patience (I think I must have missed some of those classes) and kindness; from my mother, I learned drive and perseverance. I miss them both.
My mother wrote many poems, starting when she was already well into her sixties. She was a very bright woman, but had a mind that she didn't always allow to roam free because she was both very traditional and very religious. I know that few people who visit here are likely to be able to read German, but just in case, below is one of my favourites of my mother's poems. It is about a big clock that was hanging in my parents' living room.

Der Uhrenkasten

Tick-tack, tick-tack-gehts ohne rasten
In meinem schönen Uhrenkasten.
Der Pendel wackelt hin und her
Und sagt niemals: ich kann nicht mehr,
Denn innen eine Feder ist,
Und wenn man es dann nicht vergißt
Das Uhrwerk aufzuziehen,
So tickt es weiter drinnen.

Die Uhr hat eine lange Feder,
Wozu sie dient, das weiß ein jeder:
Sie läßt die Räder niemals stehn
Und heißt die Zeiger immer gehn.
Und jede Viertelstunde singt's,
Und jede Stunde schön erklingt's:
Eine Stunde ist nun vergangen,
Die nächste hat schon angefangen.

So tickt die Uhre alle Tage.
Ach, daß ich es doch jedem sage:
Sie sagt mir, wenn ich auf soll stehn,
Auch wann ich soll zu Bette gehen.
Und wenn ich dann nicht schlafen kann,
So gibt sie mir die Uhrzeit an
Und singt mir ihre Lieder,
Bis müde meine Augenlieder.

Tick-tack, tick-tack-gehts ohne rasten
In meinem lieben Herzenskasten.
Das Blut, es strömet hin und her
Und sagt niemals: ich kann nicht mehr,
Denn innendrin ein Herze ist.
Und Gott der Schöpfer nie vergißt,
Das durch mein Herz muß Blut rinnen,
Drum tickt es weiter drinnen.

Und wenn er es wird haben wollen,
Daß ich werd' zu ihm kommen sollen,
Läßt er das Blut nicht länger durchgehn:
Da bleibt das Herz auf einmal stehn,
Das Leben hier ist aufgelöst.
Dann gibt er mir, was mich jetzt tröst':
Ein Leben ohne Ende,
Drum ich mich jetzt schon zu ihm wende.

(C) March 27, 1978, Alma Pedde

More of Alma Pedde's poems here.


  1. I'm not fluent, but can read much of the poem and get a rough understanding. German has always seemed to me to be a much more expressive language. I know this because when the family starts talking in German, they laugh at least twice as loud.

    Nice of you to remember your parents in these kinds of ways.

  2. "...because when the family starts talking in German, they laugh at least twice as loud."

    Sounds like you have a sense of humour too, Trooper. I rarely get a chance to speak German anymore, but would pick it up again in a flash if I had the opportunity. It has fewer words than English but is expressive in its own way.

  3. My grandfather on my father's side was German but, sadly, I haven't a clue what that poem says.

    What a nice way to remember you mom.

  4. I, too, still remember my parents on their birthdays and for similar reasons. It was only later in adult life that I realized where my ethics and dislike of hypocrisy had come from. I now wish that I had talked with them at much greater depth rather than just learn from quiet, osmotic example. I hope you had that opportunity.

  5. Thanks, Freddie. If I don't speak some German to someone soon, I will forget it all too. I wish there were a German movie theatre or something around here so I could at least listen to others speak German.

    Lin: I was lucky as a child to be able to spend many hours listening to my parents speak of their days growing up in German communities in Poland and Siberia. Their stories taught me that although life can be brutally difficult at times, you can still live it honourably and responsibly. As a teenager, I'm sorry to say I didn't listen to them as much as I should have. I miss them and their wisdom and example.

  6. Reading your post has me missing my Mommy who died 1995 the day after our mutual birthday. So it is a double whammy on our birth date.

  7. I wonder, luckyzmom, if our kids will remember us in this way? We won't be around to notice, of course, but I worry sometimes about doing a good enough job with my son. Maybe we all worry too much, and it still all comes out well in the end?