18th November 1307

This is the date (according to quasi-mythical accounts by Tschudi and other Swiss historians) that William Tell (Guglielm Tell in Romansh, the 4th language of Switzerland) had to shoot the apple placed on his son’s head. I was also inspired by a recent exhibition I saw, with Swiss history recreated in Lego bricks. I couldn’t resist a little joke about Swiss love of rules, discipline and quiet…

From voyagefamily.com.
From voyagefamily.com.

Shot the arrow to the quick
the flip
the treat of being true
if blue
the running wick
of jokes askew.
No hat is worth
a bowed head
or bloodied brow.
Push through,
Guglielm Tell,
but in silence please.


17 thoughts on “18th November 1307”

      1. Hate to say that my son thought that until well into his teens until he then decided against it and was left with no idea for a career path at all….. :s

  1. Oh, this is a great portrayal of the legend as well as the culture, Marina Sofia! And yes, those Legos are amazing!

    1. The worst insult you can offer a Swiss is to suggest that the Tell legend might be a trifle exaggerated. Perhaps like Robin Hood in Britain and Paul Revere in the US…

    1. I’m sure my younger son would be happy to take you on a tour of his room full of Lego exhibits -not quite as ambitious, perhaps, as Josephine’s harp or a giant Swiss Army Knife (took 140 hours to build), but inventive nonetheless.

  2. Nice poem, Marina! I didn’t know that William Tell was Swiss and this was his story – I can’t wait to read Schiller’s play on William Tell now! When I visited Switzerland years back when I was a student, I discovered that Romansh was the fourth Swiss language, spoken by around 2000 people. So fascinating! Does it have a script? Was William Tell Romansh?

    1. Yes, Romansh is spoken by a very, very small minority of people in Switzerland – basically, two valleys that were very cut off from the rest of the population. I’m not sure which linguistic group Tell belonged to – probably Swiss German, which is the largest. I just thought it was funny that they translated his name into all 4 languages…

Do share your thoughts!

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.