Saturday, October 3, was Reunification Day, the anniversary of the formal reuniting of East and West Germany in 1990. Here in Berlin the big event was a weekend-long outdoor spectacle involving Die Riesen, giant marionettes created by the French street theatre company Royale de Luxe. Some two million people turned out to watch a huge little-girl giant and an even more enormous grown-up-man giant dressed as a deep-sea diver wandering in search of each other in various neighborhoods. It was meant as a ‘maerchen" or fairy-tale, although no one seemed to know the story of the little girl and the deep-sea diver. Something about separation and reunion, anyway. Since it was a beautiful warm blue-sky day (one of the few! it rains a lot here) my husband and I set out to find them. We walked and walked through the Tiergarten and stood in a huge crowd on Unter den Linden but the promised giants didn’t appear and eventually we had to leave. (Two bits of local anthropology you’d never see in New York: at the street fair stretching along Unter den Linden you could buy many kinds of alcoholic beverages, including schnapps, and just stand about pleasantly drinking; the great lawn in the Tiergarten, along which the crowds walked, was littered with the bicycles people had used to get there. Unlocked bicycles.)
My German teacher, Ursula, whom we ran into later, said the problem was that the little girl giant was kaputt. Sehr traurig! But late that night we saw the two giants at the Brandenburg Gate, sleeping. The little girl giant was sleeping on the big man giant’s lap. You could hear them breathing very quietly. It was strangely moving.
In other news, Garrison Keillor reads my poems much better than I do:
You can find these and more in my new book of poems, TheMind-Body Problem, recently published by Random House. I’ll be quiet now.