Poem #20/52

Here is the 20th poem in my 52-poem sequence (one a week) for 2013, followed by some illumination and reflection:

EUROPEAN ILLNESS
Prague-1
Renaissance gardens
on the hills above Prague
focus our words
polish them like marble statues
and throw them out
lost and scattered
into the unfathomable eternity
blue sky I cannot bear
to lift my eyes towards
where weary birds
peel off from the high steeples
like rose petals
to float on Autumn ponds
in the cool evenings
when the frost and fog
creep across all the bridges
like the intruding fingers
of destiny and progress.

~

We’ve now entered the second phase of my life in this sequence I suppose, after I’d met Rona. I wrote this in my diary whilst sitting beside her on a park bench in the ornamental gardens on the south-facing slope of Hradčany (the castle hill district) below Prague castle. I think I was coming down with a cold at the time, which accounts partially for the strangely pained tone of it all, which was thus physical rather than metaphysical pain for a change!

A lot of these poems from now on are turned outwards like this, towards the world around me and foreign cities I was exploring, rather than the turgid self-obsession I’ve been posting since January. Hopefully, when we reach the year’s end however, you’ll look back and see how both kinds of poem are part of a larger process of examining the world and my place in it, something we all do in different but ultimately similar ways.

Prague was an amazing city when we visited it, but it was already losing its unique soviet-era character to the influx of well-meaning German tourists who, like tourists everywhere, unwittingly destroy the very thing they seek out. For gnarled and gaunt central-European atmosphere (and fantastic strong beers), wreathed in fog from the Vltava, it’s hard to beat, but boy was the local food bad. The tourist influx has changed all that, and there’s the irony. Ordinary people’s lives have on average doubtlessly improved also, but at the cost of becoming westernised, which subject next week’s poem shall expand on further.

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This entry was posted in 52 Poem Sequence, Architecture, Art, History, Photography, Poetry, Psychology. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Poem #20/52

  1. Pingback: 52 Poems for 2013, 20/52: European Illness

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