paul klee in bern//and where the lion came from–? i don’t know

bern city center

bern city center

the lion’s heavy in my bag
i smuggle him

past the watchman
past the border and don’t
buy a ticket for him on the bus,
we sit close

to the door
in case someone stops/
suspects and checks–

“i didn’t even know
where tunis was exactly” i say
on my cheeks a billion color squares,
hair tousled by the breeze&art
can make you dizzy

“let’s go to the other exhibition floor?”
i ask my friend
“just a quick walk through–
without stopping anywhere?”

the lion groans,
he’s feeling homesick

and a friend from ZA writes she printed out my sketch
and now a group of stuttgart street musicians
play their flutes
somewhere in her house in africa

“ha– ”
i say to my friend “don’t stop//don’t stop
keep walking”

&the lion roars //wide open throat
majestically &dips
his giant paws
into my watercolor box//
“i’m sorry” he says
“never mind”
“we’re waiting here for you” she writes

he stretches across the map
his ochre fur a playmate to the wind,

then yawns

his mighty head
tender on my lap


smiles… another piece from my visit to the paul klee exhibit in bern last weekend…


31 responses to “paul klee in bern//and where the lion came from–? i don’t know

  1. Delightful Claudia! All of a sudden I have this imagine of you and this lion (or some lion) gone wild with watercolours… What fun you must have!

  2. First of all, I loved the sketch/painting, Claudia. Smiles. Liked the idea of carrying a lion in your bag as a friend & being able to smuggle him sight unseen past the border. Life is good when one has a lion close, as protector and for a bit of warmth as well, not to mention friendship. How neat to think that one of your sketches is now on the wall of someone in Africa. I remember that sketch….smiles…how things happen in these days of the internet is astounding. The connections we make! The ending is touching…the head on your lap…what person needs more!

  3. Paul Klee is always good… and the lion is such a lovely touch… My son tried to smuggle a lizard into Windsor Castle when he was 5, set off alarms and everything!

  4. smiles…nice magic in this…walking with the lion…and your interaction with him….and that he dips with color into your watercolor box…and paints on ahead of you a bit…its cool…i like the little details that bring the scene to life around you too…the street musicians…

  5. I saw a Paul Klee exhibition in Switzerland (in Martigny) many years ago and really enjoyed it. I like how he played with colors – very inspiring. Interesting interaction between you and Africa, with the lion on one side and your painting on the other.

  6. I wonder how many women smuggle dogs on public transport, carry lions in their bags, or carry dobermans in their purses (an old Hollander cartoon)? I wonder if men do it too? I love your painting, the Klee paintings on her cheeks, the roar and the stretch “across the map
    his ochre fur a playmate to the wind …”

  7. I did not want this poem to ever end!

    Who knows where lions come from? I’m just glad when they do, always livens up the day of breezes and art.

    LOVE the part about the Stuttgart street musicians and their flute melodies wafting through the African air, cool!!


  8. Oh this is good…especially in view of the fact that we just finished watching The Life of Pi about 10 minutes ago. Okay, so that was a tiger but…Wonderful metaphor.

  9. This is gorgeous… I love the play back and forth with the lion, especially the way he lays his head in your lap at the ends, you and he, trusting each other. I think you should always carry a lion in your bag 🙂

  10. How I love this poem, enjoying the walk and conversation, along with the communications from far away. I adore the accompanying lion, “his head tender on my lap”.

  11. The opening of a lion in my bag is powerful and full of symbolism..I wouldn’t mind a lion in my bag..interesting..a roaring lion waiting to be have a unique style that I find amazing.

  12. Love it! Reminiscent of a Saul Bellow novel but in poetry form . . . Enjoyed the interweaving of the characters and situations. I believe this is my first visit to your blog and I’ll surely return.

  13. The lion sleeps tonight … let’s go … let’s go … let’s really go … your place or mine? … Grrr … Meow …

  14. such a tonic!
    both the sketches with the deft touch
    and the hand in humanity’s backpocket.
    Can you blame them for pinching a bit of life?