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AMSTERDAM AUBADE

From our bedroom window in the morning light
Amsterdam’s packed facades look brittle like an array of doll’s houses,
as if cut from cardboard. You’d think
these towering mercantile fronts might fold together like praying hands.
As if these tall narrow houses with their pouting gable-tops –
were so improvised a structure, so delicate and frail,
they might suddenly concertina together
under the late February sun as it climbs resolutely into the sky.
Like a book snapped shut, end of story, end of time.
Journey complete, solution to every issue
in keeping with the Dutch ideal of maakbaarheid
that translates literally as ‘makeable’ and means
that you concentrate on what you can do, not on what you might dream.

But you and I have another take on the possible,
closing the curtains on the brilliant morning
folding inward towards each other like praying hands,
watching each other’s eyes for the signs of pleasure.
and telling each other that there are plenty who would tell us
we have better things to do,
things we ought to be doing in the world of the feasible,
the world of doing and of making,
the world of making do.

All these other things may be better but
none are as good as this.

From: ‘Early Morning’, Grey Suit Editions, London 2017

  Donald Gardner