Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Laure-Anne Bosselaar: The empty room I loved

The empty room I loved led to a larger one, where I lived. 
 
On the floor, by my bed, askew on a stack of books, 
            stood my small transistor radio. It caught 
                   three stations: One was a pirate radio, 
broadcasting from a ship in the North Sea. 
       The other, with Flemish news, only came on for two 
            hours at night, & the one I listened to most               
                   was a classical music station. 
It played, uninterrupted, for an hour or more, 
            then, after a minute or two of absolute silence, 
                        a woman’s exhausted voice came on. 
She must have been in her late eighties & constantly 
stumbled on musicians’ names. I can still hear her 
                              say “Rack-mun-num-nee-noff.”  
 
Every hour, the Cathedral of Our Lady chimed a while – 
            then the treble bell rang the hour. I’d stand 
                   on a chair, lean through a dormer window 
to watch how Our Lady’s steeple pierced the light. 
 
Summer of ‘63. I was free, I was twenty. I fell wholly & 
        forever in love every week. I was hungry for life 
                                                
     & satiated by it, reading deep into the night, copying
Sartre, de Beauvoir, Apollinaire, Gide, Rilke, Baudelaire,
                   Sédar Senghor, Goethe, Rimbaud, & Lorca
in my notebooks —  barely sleeping before I rushed 
            down to work, then ran back up 
                        the five steep flights 
                                  to that white, lit room.
 

‘The Empty Room I Loved’ from These Many Rooms (c) 2019 by Laure-Anne Bosselaar. Appears with permission of Four Way Books. All rights reserved.

6 comments on “Laure-Anne Bosselaar: The empty room I loved

  1. Sean Thomas Dougherty
    December 11, 2020

    Such a poem of time and stillness, of remembrance and the power of youth, of looking back not with longing or regret, but love. A poem that reminds us of the power of alone versus lonely. And what can come out of the privilege of being alone, when we need to at times, for then we are often connected to everything around us, as in this poem by Laure-Anne, a poem of a room, a poem Batchelard would praise, from her powerful new book that just dropped a year ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lynne Knight
    December 2, 2020

    I love this poem. But I love all of your poems! Thank you for their beauty and generosity.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Barbara Huntington
    December 2, 2020

    So many ways to let my mind wander with this poem. 1963. We have transistor radios in common. But what was I listening to? Folk music? Rock? Oh and I had a steady boyfriend then I have been unable to locate. At 17 I was still home and had yet to meet those writers. Perhaps I was secretly reading D.H. Lawrence or Henry Miller. Interesting how another soul’s connection to a time pulls you there. I love this poem. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sarah Gordon
    December 2, 2020

    Lovely. I can identify.

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on December 2, 2020 by in Poetry and tagged , , .

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