Friday, May 2, 2014


Five stout men chat in a vaulted aisle
Well-dressed, wearing hats whose brims
Are jaunty and self-confident;
The old light loves these men.
You can see them still
The great Saenredam, a hunchback,
Painted them in the church
Along with two drowsy young servants.
A girl, half-seen, sits on a low plinth;
Far off in the vast building
Two clergymen in black robes
Look into each other’s eyes.

None of them glance towards the high ceiling
Nor scan the long inscriptions
Engraved on the flat-sided pillars.
The girl holds a book in her lap
But is not reading. She is very still.
God, it must be, has strayed
Into His Marienkirche.
Leaning His back against the stones
He is telling her a story.

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