Wiljan van den Akker PhD (Netherlands)
that’s impossible to track down but where
you find yourself without someone
having brought you a key or having shown
you the way into this labyrinth of halls
and immeasurable rooms where countless
new doors swing open into even larger
spaces with ever more windows
and endless views where swathes of light
shine through the glass shrouding
the floors in blackness under a roof
of back-breaking trusses like a toppled ark
stranded and smashed on a rock
in a motionless starlit ocean destroying
with one devastating wave the foundation of
the house where you have never been
and never will be in your lifetime
but that you still seem to recognize
when it comes to visit you
in a dream a thousand years deep
Despite all our efforts to be well prepared – merry
conversations deep in a warm summer evening
decorated with the best of our comforting gestures –
we were taken by surprise in the middle of the night.
It would be slow, we believed, come little by little,
always in our presence of course and never so fast
we would gaze in amazement on this breathtaking
morning into a garden, changed at once and for all:
grass trimmed as lawn
trees pruned to the trunk
weeded trails and tracks.
Had we known it would happen so quickly and even
this very night, we could have stayed up, sneaked
to the window, opened a blind with the tip of one
finger to see its appearance and look at its passing.
Then again we might not have been granted this view:
this familiar, from now on only forever remembered
garden, its unruffled pool, steaming in this early
wintry light in which we can all soon disappear.
The first thing we do in the morning
time and again is try to forget
their presence during the night.
The mere fact that we keep this quiet,
to ourselves makes them disappear
behind the newspaper’s backpages,
stirred and drowned in a hot cup
of coffee. After that it’s only a matter
of swallowing and getting dressed.
There will be nothing left to see
but this house and its flowery garden
where serenity rustles in the trees,
shame smoothly translates into silence.
They always show up in the evening.
Of course they have never really
disappeared from the garden. We just
prefer the idea of this happening to us
for the very first time and only to us.
Besides we can have a much better look
at them in the dark. They huddle together
in silence at the far edge of the lawn
under the wintry trees. Sometimes some
of them try to dig holes in the frozen
ground. Look at them, how they’re
mining for clues in the backyard,
fishing for hints in the starless night.
©️ Wiljan van den Akker