‘Hours, more brief than the kiss
Of a beam on the lake that is mourning,
Than the song of a bird on the wing,
Which drops down like pearls from above .....’

Annette von Droste-Hulshoff (1797-1848)

I have lakes for eyes today

on a ferry across memory.

I am reaching for friends,

skirting boundaries.

My arms thrash in wild waves.

In this moody vista

of wet dreams

and legends,

the horseman rides

his panting steed

across the ice of cold lake kisses,

not knowing, in all this darkness,

just how close he is

to a plunging death.

The swirling weeds,

that wrap themselves

around our shaking bodies,

are full of drowned days

and gulped-down sunshine.

Look! These Alps are clouds today,

and the mountains pile up in the sky.

The line is thin between

fantastic vision

and suicide.

Another sip and I’ll slash my wrists,

gash the sky with blood,

dash poems on a promenade

awash with tourist trash

and the curse of cash.

Knowing looks

she gives me,

does this mighty Constance.

She gleams with sunlight

and sadness,

her red wave hits the mountain’s edge.

I want to get to know her more,

to sail in her dreamy looks

and thunderous smiles.

What tales she echoes,

what amazing craft

she sinks.

The breath of Europe

is recorded in the Bodensee’s sighing:

the wars and agonised cries,

the shrieks of pleasure boats,

the dying of pointless ideals.

Her castles and churches bear testimony

to all the joy and futility,

the spasms of birth,

the ruination of fine folk.

And so my good friends

let us sip the scent off our brimful Lake

to forget where we’re going

for at least one long breath.

Life can be good at this moment.

It will come on to rain

but the Swabian Sea

will float with stars.

The flaming blood of her heart

will break through a thousand gates.

And our songs will live

when we are gone,

and some will tremble at them

who felt like us.


Lake Constance

the jingling geordie

My photo
whitley bay, tyne and wear, United Kingdom
poet and raconteur