At night the fishermen from Urk* would
drink themselves to happiness next door
in the café where they would sing and dance.
A bright and cheerful murmur reached my room
and in a storm, the men would drink till four,
to over voice the hauling wind outside.
Accordion and singing filled the night,
a woman laughed, some breaking glass, a roar
all covered by the turning lighthouse beams.
In such a cheer no fear of mine it seems
would last to keep me from my sleep; therefore
I slept, till all went back on board.
I heard their wooden shoes above the storm
then only hauling wind, the squeaking floor,
a hungry screaming cat, a woman’s cry.
I’ve wondered much of how ‘t would be
to be in such a night once more
and smell the chimney smoke and beer.
* Urk is a former island in the former Zuiderzee, now IJsselmeer, from which the fisherman had a bad reputation of drinking and fighting when away from home.
This poem about the café next door to the house I grew up in (on the left – the one with the stair-roof (?) and the addition in between the café and the older part), was in draft for a long time, I might as well let it out :).