Memories of Europe


Cologne, Germany It couldn't be the same city bombed out, broken only the towers of the cathedral spared to witness the Rhine choked up, burdened by burning, bruised barges... Two hundred trade fairs a year the city fathers of Cologne boast now and trains arriving and departing every twenty seconds... No reminders of the past to tourists as they shop on Hohe Strasse no pictures, no memorials, not a token piece of debris to tell the Kolsch drinkers that hell was here in their fathers' times

Groeninge Museum, Bruge, Belgium Masterpieces by the Flemish greats Van Eyck, Weyden, Goes, Gerard David... Giving us John the Baptist's head on a platter blood gushing out his neck Another martyr to Christianity drawn and quartered the four limbs of the hapless believer tied to horses headed in four directions resolute soldiers ready to whip their steeds to speed One more, Cambyses, skinned alive neat, long incisions on his right arm and his belly the Lord's name on his lips pain and fear in his eyes German speaking parents with two children – a boy and a girl doing the rounds dutifully... the boy all agog, asking questions of a reluctant father the mother, concerned, holding tight her little girl's hand "This should be an adults only museum", I joke and they smile in relief the burden of educating their wards lightened for a moment...

The Angel Cafe, Maastricht, Holland He sat by the window nursing a dark Leffe as the rain turned to mist and the lights bounced off the puddles on Vritjof Square "Another one", he signalled the bartender keen more on continuing his love talk on the cell-phone than keeping the customers refilled He was leaving next morning to go back to his boys and their routines -- treats, litter boxes, cat-chatter... One more Leffe and he would leave the city on the Mues the carillon bells of St. Servaas the sex and coffee shops at the corner of Brusselstraat and Grotestraat and Dutch girls on bicycles...

#Poetry #Europe #Travel

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