Underneath the façade of reason
It felt as if you had been made
For eyes of mine
I whispered your foreign name
And let the bold Flemish syllables
Loop around my ears:
It was heavy,
But at least this was the same with van Ostaijen,
van Eyck, Bruegel…
Opening the door to your living
Made me calm.
There was a belle époque wardrobe,
Generations of porcelain.
The windows looked onto a chapel
And a green unmanicured meadow –
A view that I would accuse of stifling my breathing
Over the next weeks.
It all reminded me of how I imagine Tolstoy’s
Austere home in Russia.
I wish I had a chunk of plaster in my hand
To not put all of my eyes onto your sculpture:
Legs intertwined, hands serving
A torso that I had only read about in books
Or seen in Hermitage.
Rodin once claimed
He sculpted twelve thousand hands,
I would be happy with molding only one pair –
But twelve thousand times.
For me, your hand – a landscape of its own,
A sentence in the story of your body,
It told its own tale in lines and contours
That added up like verses of my poem.
I, myself, seem to dream with hands
Rather than my head,
Enabling me to make my every fantasy
A real portrait.
That noon, I filled my eyes
With as much
As they could take
For one life.
When I returned to Baltje at night,
They were aching and happy with all they’d seen –
To trace the lines of you, my sculpture,
Until they glide across your grooves
As smoothly as a fingertip on wet clay.
I don’t know why I’m thinking of Gothic cathedrals now –
Those “mountain ranges of the Middle Ages” –
Which I have been worshipping