Poem of the month, May 2015: A Million Cobblestones

This poem is taken from 42 Pure Land Pieces. Click here for more details.


“There is always somebody willing to share the burdens of life with me.”
– Daily Reflections

Gradually I grow towards the awareness I am never alone.
Happiness is a disease, and I caught it from Anabel Mondal.
Moonlight bathes the roof of the school behind our house – a great day ahead.
I take a moment to gaze at the moon and soak up her healing vibes.

I hear the voice of Atahualpa Yupanqui back in the sixties:
“Moongazing poet, you have gone blind from staring at that useless disc!”
Then I’ll be Homer, Free City Poet of Bruges, with his long white stick,
walking on the heads of a million cobblestones. I long for daylight …

One’s very best is sometimes not enough. Good friends slap you in the face.

While I was busy thinking, the moon went off to another city.
That cup of tea you kindly gave me yesterday still tastes delicious.
“When difficult moments come – and they will! – think of somebody you love.”

Because you’re a City Poet you don’t have to write about chocolate.
What about beer and lace? Must I translate Gezelle into English?
Give it a try in your next life – though you’ll meet with some opposition.
The Great Flemish Master is laughed at and despised by his own people.
Expect nothing better. Cash tills and horses’ hooves are music to them.
Thank you, God of my understanding, for these kind compassionate words.

Dawn arrives slowly. Our close-cropped tree-of-heaven pulses with new life.
“El mundo – gran puerto donde unos llegan y otros se van.”
Am I coming or going? Verdi opens at nine. Chat with Pieter.
“Goeie morgen,” wishes me a man in black, passing me in my door.

The inconceivable Vow. My two feet taking me to a café
in the heart of town, past a White Wollestraat Bus – my signal to pray.

A beautiful girl on a bicycle very nearly smiles at me.
The stepped gables in the corner say Jupiler to the Rising Sun.
I’m a man after all. I couldn’t help noticing that piece of ass.

I’m here for my daily Flemish lesson, I tell the barman in Dutch.
5 euros a cup on the Market – a whole breakfast here in Verdi.
Tucked away peacefully in the back, I attack my buttered ham roll.
What’s on the program? Peace of mind, gratitude, healthy attitude.

Hit the road, Jack! Maria will soon be crawling out of the sack.
No plastic bottles of water with the Moroccans on the way home.

“Seventeeners” from 42 PURE LAND PIECES (April 2015).