Saturday, September 26, 2009

Night in Bruges

Here is a poem (dated September, 1935) by Australian composer Miriam Hyde, on the death of Queen Astrid. I don't think it is the greatest literature, but I still found it touching. I like the way she captures the grief and solidarity of a whole community.

The carillons are hush’d; still is the night,

And footsteps echo on the cobble-stones.

With faces drawn, under the cold lamp light,

A group of women talk in muffled tones.

Above them, twisted sadly round its pole,

Hangs a limp flag of Belgian colours three;

And there with one another they condole,

Sharing their grief with love and sympathy.

The black canal glides noiselessly along

Under the lonely bridge; and stars are bright.

Perhaps, somewhere among the twinkling throng,

Queen Astrid’s soul to Heav’n has added light.

What do you think of the poem? (Please also read The Broken Rose on King Albert I).

(Photo: Han-sur-Lesse at night, in the public domain. I know it is not Bruges but it was the best I could do).


Alex Engwete said...

This poem is great... The cadence is mournful and yet unpretentious,thus easy to remember. It's also "cinematic." We see these women sharing their "grief" for the dead as well as their "love and sympathy" for one another--a "hush'd" community that is the metonymy of the whole nation at this solemn moment: strikingly, the flag above them is visible despite the dim cold night... It's a complex piece--with many layers if one opens up to it... No wonder the author is a musician too...

May said...

What great observations! Thanks.