Dear Chris….


photo by my Chandra

I’m trying to eliminate clutter. It’s my true effort to become a thoughtful parent. Unfortunately, I find it almost impossible when it comes to my files.

Tackling one of the thick folders of correspondence from my late friend


Hans. He was a lot of fun…

Hans, I re-read one of his letters and just couldn’t bring myself to dispose of it. It is  too funny. Right behind it was the following poem he wrote to Christopher Columbus. If you were me, could you toss it out?




‘What I always wanted to say to Chris but was afraid to’

by Hans Muller

‘Mister Christopher Columbus

Columbus by Granger

Christopher Columbus, by Granger. I doubt he was much fun.

you’re in history’s vein a thrombus

which, on wide spread urgery

should be removed by surgery.

By Soviet-style complete excision

lest history’s held up to derision

occasioned by your sine-qua-

non mis-historical faux-pas.

What befogged your addled brain?

There was no smog or acid rain,

no radio or T.V. commercial,

nothing crass or controversial

to have made you cause such terror

by your gross baptismal error,

christening our natives ‘Indian’.

Did you hear them speaking Hindi-an?

Did you see them wearing saris?

Your fraudulence tops Mata Hari’s.

Had odes been sung in Amerindian,

not Shakespearean or Pindian,

but sung in praise of Red Man’s Gods,

you’d probably call those odes odds.

You would call a square a rhombus,

wouldn’t you, Signor Columbus?


You’d misquote the works of Homer,


The Nina (Santa Clara), Pinta (Spanish for ‘the painted one’ (prostitute), and Santa Maria

you champion of the crass misnomer.

No more of your mumbo-jumbo

Don Chistoforo Columbo.

I shall ask the nearest cop

to jail you, Mister Malaprop

for the lies with which you bomb us,

Mister Christopher Columbus.


*Hans, who could speak/read about five languages, had no problem making up words in any of them. He believed in having fun.


12 thoughts on “Dear Chris….

  1. Yes, in 1492 some indigenous people discovered Columbus wandering around on a beach. He thought he’d found India & was obviously lost. & for some reason the U.S. continues to celebrate this event every April. (A paraphrase …. with apologies! ….. of a Buffy Ste. Marie remark on a TV interview sometime in the 1970’s)

  2. Wonderful posts usual. 😀
    I’m the same when it comes to disposing what I sometimes call clutter. Most times, I feel letters and photographs are my real possessions. But yes, I too have decided not to leave this task to my daughter, and hence have started my de-cluttering. Haven’t got up the courage to throw out letters yet!

  3. Very funny poem. I wish I had known Hans.
    Look how much enjoyment you got from looking through the letters. I hope you keep the possessions that still spark memories. Maybe the “kids” won’t mind a stroll through your life someday—a long time in the future please. I remember looking through my mother’s papers. She didn’t leave a lot of them, but there was one small, spiral-bound notebook I found particularly poignant. It was a monthly budget for 1961. On each page she listed the month’s fixed expenses, each subtracted from “income” and beside what was left: “Donald’s College.”

    • Must say Judy: Letting go of the papers is most difficult for me even though I rarely read them. I have no problem with other ‘things’.
      Hopefully my kids will understand when they must go through my stuff. As for when, I’m too mean to give anyone a break. Like a bad weed, I’ll stick around. Love ya, Muriel

  4. Muriel,
    You did well in not getting rid of letters of Hans Muller. He was definitely a special person with a unique imagination. He talks to Christopher Colombus like he knew him personally. His style of writing shows he had some genius in him. Your blog was quite different this month but very interesting as always.

  5. Yes you were right to keep this clever and playful commentary on CC. I’m sure it was written very much tongue in cheek as poor old CC thought he was on his way to India anyway and made the mistake any European of that time might have. What is amazing is that his mistake continued even after it was realised that this was very different people and a new country as the verse makes so clear.
    Keep that thick folder and let us know more from it Muriel.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s