08 December 2009

Piet Hein | Grooks

It has come to my attention that not everyone has experienced the excellence that is a "grook". Created by Piet Hein, Danish polymath: inventor, mathematician, designer, and poet.  His grooks first started to appear in the daily Danish newspaper "Politiken" shortly after the Nazi Occupation in April 1940 under the pseudonym "Kumbel Kumbell".


The road to wisdom? -- Well, it's plain
and simple to express:
           and err
           and err again
           but less
           and less
and less.


Problems worthy
of attack
prove their worth
by hitting back.


Losing one glove
is certainly painful,
but nothing
compared to the pain,
of losing one,
throwing away the other,
and finding
the first one again.

This last one is my favourite, published and written as graffiti all over the country after it was passed for publication by Nazi censors who did not grasp its real meaning. There was something worse than the loss of freedom: It was collaboration followed by liberation.

My father actually knew Piet later in his life, and apparently he flirted with my mother so much that she was utterly embarrassed.
                                          - Piet Hein