Five Poems

The Roses Are Musky, Dewy The roses are musky, dewy towards evening, pious and calm; a purpler shadow stretches around the chestnut-tree. The pool gleams pale in vapours; Comforting night is nigh. Put on, put on the lamp now: my terror wakes, my child. 1908   De rozen doornen en daauwen De rozen doornen en…

Extract from ‘Roses’

19 July (1914) Back through this hot summer luxuriance to Ghent, ‘Flora’s city’, where an exhibition of roses calls to me. For I had not resisted the temptation; the one vivid recollection of last year’s World Exhibition that lived in gentle splendour in my memory was of the Floralies, and though the present display of…

On Yeats’ Footstool

The Poet Karel van de Woestijne In 2000 the Flemings were polled to discover which poem, out of a list of a hundred, they rated the best. Among those hundred poems there was just one by Karel van de Woestijne, one of the three poets of real stature that were born in Flanders in the…

Overture 

My father’s house, where the days passed more slowly, was quiet, for within the garden’s shade it lay and in the over-arching leaves’ tranquillity. — I was a child, measured life by my mother’s stray laughter, who was not merry, and the regularity of twilights round the trees, the desultory years round the placid life…