from here, on top of the lighthouse tower
I oversee what I thought was the meaning of life:
the importance of neat houses and clean sidewalks,
trees trimmed as not to be too full in leaves because of storms,
the graves with names and loving words forever engraved,
the school and the blond hair of running children, their laughter
and I know the insides of the houses and all that is there,
all the precious books and artifacts, clothes, kittens and puppies
and it all means nothing to the yellow stones of the lighthouse tower
(whose builders died centuries ago), the tower that might
survive the rising sea for a bit longer than the village,
but not really that long
as one day all will be deep under water,
as from up here, the meaning of life does not exist,
as from up here and higher, time is of no matter
and oceans have secrets that we all forgot.
climate change… the lighthouse tower here, by far the highest point on the island, is 52 meters, and when all the ice of Antarctica is melted, the sea level will have risen 70 meters. this island has no chance to survive.
many hours of staring at horizons on paper
and behind you the world takes place
in it’s own pace, you don’t see it,
people die, others get born,
such a jungle at the railroad station
where no one knows anyone
you stand still in the big hall
trying to know all
thinking of it as one big organ
breathing and moving
in the many hours of staring
at the mustard of walls
trains spider themselves out of the centre
you have nothing to write about
and the paper sheets blow over the tracks
empty and filled with your tears
no one hears the last pigeon
dropping dead in the crowd
In the gallery the sleepy alley cat at day
does his rounds at night, a tiger in the grass of masters
sneaks in after hours but no one knows how.
Here he comes to parade in darkness
without setting off the alarm.
Lean are the shadows of his corpulence.
Framed faces on walls
send him messages he understands,
his fur is touched by painted hands.
He leaves at dawn to go elsewhere.
Sometimes you, paying visitor, will hear a sneeze
while no one else but you is there.
Said to be water but we never checked
it has been raining on the B&B since last week
which is better than drought surely
but after three days we forgot about that
‘and maybe it is not water at all,’ I say
because we are running out of conversation,
‘It could be a liquid from the stars never explored.’
‘Who says it is liquid? It sounds like bullets, like we
are under fire,’ you say, as you always want to
have the better argument, and I fall silent and asleep
to wake up in more rain which I am sure now is not water,
and for a moment I am convinced they are tears
as the whole of it is to cry about, we only have one day left
and you return with tea and not coffee,
‘But we will always have the memories,’ you say,
and the moment we leave for the station, the sky turns blue.
What you carry with you
and will make your journey harder
– the hate and anger, suspicion, the jealousy
and other useless souvenirs of love, cluttered in a mess
filling the rucksack that is bulging already,
along with trinkets and wires in a knot –
you can empty the thing, leave the contents
somewhere in a dark wood but make sure it is in a bin,
and never look back
and walk on much lighter, newer,
filling your luggage
with objects from a better sense of life.
Feeling moralistic this morning 🙂
Far from clear of his intentions
She looks at the screen of her phone
Where his photo comes up, his grin
As usual friendly as if a smile,
His words talk about difficulties in life
And she starts to think he is in prison.
He might have murdered his wife
Or done something else upsetting
To the laws of his country
Which is still the EU
But it could also mean
He has no money. Or has gout.
She offers him mental support
But he stays silent once more.
In the mean while
Another man appears out of the blue
And she hates complications
So she decides to sleep a lot
And not think of England anymore.
This side of the island has an artificial barrier to the sea.
At night sheep sleep in the grass of the sloping wall.
Nature at its best for a country with no nature left.
We walk here, hand in hand as if afraid to lose each other.
In the sky that is cobalt blue above us, stars are dressed up
just like us, for a dance where we only drank beer.
And the sheep snore. We step among them, carefully letting them sleep,
a woolen sea of peaceful mutton. Then one awakes,
and starts to scream, waking up the herd. You say ‘I love you’ as we run.
Trying not to think of you is trying to think nothing.
It doesn’t happen in between memories and dreams of you,
nor when I work or walk or whine. No beach is empty enough.
Trying not to think of you – I do not have the time for that.
You linger in the words you said, and every time
I hear them, thoughts of you keep molding clouds of you.
Water-circles form as I skip my feelings one by one,
they might sink deep but you submerge to fetch them anyway.
As I am writing this, someone on tv is talking sadly
about someone who carries your name. I am trying
to forget you but I do not have the time for that.
I am trying to think nothing. Always waiting to forget.
It is not easy to think nothing I think.
It could be on a sailing ship:
you recognize yourself,
or you might learn whom to be
in a landscape of snow,
in a desert, or night
with only stars as your eyes.
It could be in a message,
you find your own heart.
It might come from your knowing
a confidant hurt you,
or your friend is a foe.
It could be on your death-bed
as you accept you existed
not only on paper but also in me.
It could be anywhere, sooner or later.
It should be right here though
and it could be right now.
This could be a poem 🙂 it ought to be.
On high ground in evening light, how nice,
the sea before me seems so undisturbed –
Terschelling island waiting for the night.
Not much is wrong here, the lighthouse beams
shine over quiet waves.
A legacy of ebb and flow,
the scene I want to pass on
to my children’s children in my will.
This gift of nature,
a dream to start my night with,
in pink and orange wrappage. Will it be mine to give?
Then, seagulls, trapped and dead in bright
blue nylon, wash ashore and start to be part of a nightmare.
More and more the rising sea proves to be
a giant bowl of plastic soup.
Unsavory. Unprecedented. Ugly, made of useless nonsense
like 60 years of waste, my life, in balloons, bubble gum and bags.
The wind is howling now and disapproves.
I close my eyes. I do not want the day to end like this.
When I wake up the demons of the night have washed themselves away.
A seabird screams and leaves, the sea, a mystery again,
waits for the new tide to repeat,
a little higher every day her movements,
giving back to us all the nasty spillage of her human vomit,
leaving us our home-made killing legacy.
I wrote this poem yesterday to perform this morning for the participants of the Springtij festival (symposium) here on the island. As it is an international affair, I did it in English.