He didn’t ask me why I’d been delayed,
nor flick his eyes to focus on the glove,
a dozen generations hadn’t pulled in place.
I felt the warmth his half-shrugged cloak and gaze,
one russet orange and one close to love,
bestowed upon his threshold. Was he thus arrayed
to clasp my hand - or breast the gracht-side air
and, once more crossing bridges, trace that path
to van Rijn’s phantom crowded study where
first flourishes might meet their aftermath?
No. I was wrong. That hesitation drew me in
beyond the gloom, till leaded light’s soft falls,
pinned spinnet’s sounds, like still lives, to brick walls.
Jan Six, attentive, waited, so we might begin.
Nigel Stuart is a retired professor of 20th century history and a translator of epic poetry, with a secondary professional interest in renaissance Europe, in artistic practice and in film. He also writes poetry in English and in Scots.
The Ekphrastic Review
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