Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Laure-Anne Bosselaar: There was a Room in Antwerp

There was a room in Antwerp I loved so much 
    I never filled it with books, a bed, or a table. 
       It was alive with its own clarity — & I feared 
anything left there would etch shadows in that radiance.                            
 
The room was in the attic of a hundred-year-old house. 
            Hunched under a mansard roof, all its windows 
faced the sky. No horizon, no walls, no other windows 
                        stared into mine. 
 
The wide-planked floor had been painted over for more 
     than a century. Scratches in the floor revealed other     
             colors under its white surface. A deep scuff 
showed a reddish gray, other scratches yellow, green, 
      or black. 
 
                 The sun splashed into that room at noon:
cascades of light. Dust, sucked upward by the heat, 
       fluttered under the skylight’s chicken-wire glass. 
I’d stretch out my palms to the rays then, 
 
       & grab that light, lie on my back & listen — 
through the layers of whirling air — to the city’s 
       guttural chatter, 
the clang of tramways, & melancholic calls of tall ships 
        with their crowns of shrieking gulls. 
            
        I owned that light — alive in my hands.

“There was a Room in Antwerp” from These Many Rooms copyright 2019 by Laure-Anne Bosselaar appears here with permission of Four Way Books. All rights reserved.

4 comments on “Laure-Anne Bosselaar: There was a Room in Antwerp

  1. Donna Wetzbarger
    August 22, 2020

    The older I get, the less I want to fill up spaces w/ objects; I also want to appreciate the room or area and Nature’s impact there. This poem so exquisitely captures the poignancy of space and location. Bravo.

    Like

  2. Nancy Gifford
    August 3, 2020

    LOVE THIS

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Susan
    August 3, 2020

    O, how I love this poem – the ethereal feel of it, the thought of not wanting to fill the room with books and other articles of possession, because the space itself was sacred enough. Lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jason Irwin
    August 3, 2020

    “I owned that light — alive in my hands.” GREAT LAST LINE. POWERFUL POEM.

    Liked by 1 person

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