Fryslân (Friesland): Day Five

by Peter Humphreys

I am sitting
in the English Garden
where the brass band played
in Simon's time of
bourgeois respectability
and covert love

the stand remains only
in sepia photos in the museum
but in quiet moments
you can almost hear
the gossiping chatter
"Did you know?"
"Well I never!"
"I don't believe it"
"I do"
"His family was never quite ..."

across the canal
bicycle after bicycle
rushes by
'midst the flower beds
and the shady trees
there is a dignity to the place
no chitter chatter
just blackbirds
finches and robins
passing the time away

or maybe not
young girls giggle
on the tow path
about the night gone
or maybe the night to come

families cycle in threes

young men talk
about what didn't happen
but could have done
older people
talk ceaselessly
with the ease of the
gently rippling canal

Could I live here?

I am not sure
perhaps Simon
was right after all
or maybe we just
leave from where we are born
only to miss most
the certainty we then despised?


Author's Note: This poem refers to Simon Vestdijk (1898-1971) who was born in Harlingen. Few of his novels are available in English but I would recommend 'The Garden where the Brass Band Played' (De koperen tuin, 1950)

Posted on 06/16/2011
Copyright © 2024 Peter Humphreys

Return to the Previous Page

pathetic.org Version 7.3.2 May 2004 Terms and Conditions of Use 0 member(s) and 2 visitor(s) online
All works Copyright © 2024 their respective authors. Page Generated In 0 Second(s)