Thinking of Prague

A dense morning fog hides
statues flanking the river on both sides
and wraps the castle in a shroud,
hiding its glory from the small crowd
that leaves the medieval town
to cross the Gothic bridge of stone.
We dodge each oncoming tourist,
each phantom emerging from the mist,
make our way to a coffee stand
and buy a cup to warm souls and hands.
Sipping and exhaling steam, we stroll
into the square, towards the Old Town Hall,
buzzing with visitors at this early hour,
their faces like upturned sunflowers,
watching the gold disc tick and tock
around the zodiac of the Astronomical Clock,
a primitive but complicated planetarium
composed of stars and moon and sun.
Reminding us of passing seasons and the dead,
a skeleton marks time with a nod of its head.

Kim M. Russell, 28th May 2019

 

 

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Poetics: On Wandering and Observing, also linked to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Tuesday Platform

This Tuesday Anmol is our host and he tells us about his recent experience of wandering around an unfamiliar place and observing his surroundings with a perceptive eye.  Which is why this week he would like us to wander around for a bit: take an old familiar walk through the sights and smells of our towns or cities; revisit journeys to someplace new; metaphorically stroll through memorized images and pictured memories, and then he’d like us to write a poem about all that we see, feel, touch, know, experience.

To inspire us, Anmol has shared a quotation from Rebecca Solnit and poems by William Wordsworth, Rainer Maria Rilke (one of my favourite poets), Charles Reznikoff and Owen Lowery.

I chose to combine and rewrite two poems about a walk I took with my husband some years ago on a visit to Prague, a city that captured my imagination.

53 thoughts on “Thinking of Prague

    1. In the daytime there are musicians, marionettes and stalls with all sort of items for sale on that bridge. I loved the medieval castle and Kafka’s house.

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  1. Such an image-rich verse, with every sight pictured so beautifully — I love how you rhymed and chimed through this poetic walk. Dodging other tourists, getting a coffee, and that skeleton marking time are all so well captured for a first-hand experiential account.

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  2. Now I can take Prague off my bucket list. My health has scuttled travel these days, so I have to rely on fellow poets to share the world with me. You did not disappoint.

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  3. My goodness this is utterly beautiful in its imagery, Kim! ❤️ I love the visitors with “their faces like upturned sunflowers,” and “a primitive but complicated planetarium composed of stars and moon and sun.” I feel like taking a walk there myself! 🙂

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    1. We’ve also had tourists ( also known as grockles) in our village, mostly from the campsite and the moorings. They walk past our cottage on the way to the pub.

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  4. Luv how the “morning fog” works throughout the poem: hiding, wrapping, enchanting…

    Thanks for dropping by my blog today

    Much🚶‍♂️🚶‍♀️💙love

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  5. We liked Prague too, Kim. But it was way back when, just after the Iron Curtain fell. We did an Eastern Europe bus tour from Berlin around to Bavaria for a performance of the Oberammagau Passion Play. It was produced every tenth year.
    ..

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  6. Oh, Prague! Such a beautiful city. I think it’s worth getting up really early (or staying up really late???) and seeing a city at first light – you capture the other-worldliness so well. I particularly love the ending – there’s something grimly jaunty about that skeleton.

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    1. i remember watching an interesting documentary about that clock, and it was featured in a film or a TV thriller but I can’t remember what it was called.

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  7. You are always so good at letting us travel through your poetry. I can hear the steps on the stone bridge, smell the coffee, and I’ m smiling at the sight of the skeleton marking time…

    Reading your now and learning about the process makes this poem even cooler.

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  8. I felt like I was traveling there with you, Kim. I’ve heard Prague is beautiful and fascinating; you’ve made it mysterious and beckoning, too. The fog also evokes sort of a post-WWII, Third Man sort of vibe for me. I love the final couplet.

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