|Apr/May 2018 Poetry|
Found: in ABQ – studio art jewelry by Jessica deGruyter
Riding the train from Prague to Vienna
Reading Rilke for the first time,
On my way to visit my friend
Looking up from Letters to stare at the yellow colza fields
Lining both sides of the track,
Like gliding over a golden ocean.
Learning by happenstance in book's Introduction
That a little over a century ago
Rilke was born in Prague
And went to military school in Vienna.
I begin to contemplate my aloneness.
Easy in a country where not a soul knows me,
Where I am familiar to none and have no familiarity with any place.
A group of young people sitting in front of me, likely students,
Start playing a game in Czech.
Some kind of question/answer game with laminated squares of white paper
That are shuffled and passed around,
Inducing sustained bouts of laughter from the participants.
The girl with her back to me stands up to get something from her bag in the overhead bin.
A pale beauty with red hair in a white shirt and blue jeans.
Her gaze lingers on me.
Sitting back down, the game is suddenly played in English.
I forget my aloneness.
They get off in Brno.
From the Wein Hauptbahnhof I walk 7 kilometers
To meet my friend at the Zentralfriedhof.
Walking through the endless rows and tombstones
Of old Austrian namesakes.
I arrive at his grave.
A white-stone obelisk approximately 4 meters tall
Surrounded by a short, black, iron fence
Adorned with fresh and dying flowers.
His last name etched across the middle in large 19th-century font.
Below, smaller etched German words I do not even try to decipher.
Above, an ancient golden lyre.
Above that, a ringed golden butterfly.
Standing so close to where his bones lie
I think: "It should be bigger than this.
"More austere, grandiose, reverent.
"This is Ludwig van Beethoven for christ's sake."
Riding back to Prague that evening
I drift in and out of sleep.
Dreaming and daydreaming of swimming in golden fields
While the 3rd, the 5th, the 9th, the Moonlight, and the Elise
Play in my head.