In Defence of a Nightwatchman

I’ve had a few lapses with my writing a poem a day but maybe can catch up near the end of the month.

I’m reading a few poets in translation at present and this poem is influenced by a poem by Dutch poet, Ester Naomi Perquin, ‘In Defence of a Nightwatchman’. from her collection, ‘Napkins at Half Mast’, translated by Paul Vincent. The Royal Observatory at Greenwich is inspiration again and this scene overlooks the cafe and the grounds and beyond.

terrace

In Defence of a Nightwatchman


He kept watch, he was alone, who knows of what,
whether skies, wet chairs and tables, boggy ground.
So many years and he never missed a day or night
being fixed there, stone, thought, by visitors,

to be insensate, yet he witnessed what they
never would on a tourist trail, nights
of stifled music, wings, and though his own flight
could never be, no launching from a plinth

into the ether. Sometimes, he’d flap his arms,
at once weighed down by material of his genesis
but at the same time freed by where he is.
This attempted flight of his they must forgive.

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