Prague by misty night

Your majestic spires,
Gothic fantasy in the sky,
a place of Renaissance,
where Habsburg kings and queens sat,
weighed down by a curtain of iron,
lifted by revolution velvet.

Your evanescent breath,
your clime,
mutable soul reflecting.
Moods, so many, so rich.
Elegant here, kitsch there.

Thick mist descends with the sun,
upon every thing,
like a soft blanket,
its fabric,
moisture droplets
like glitter on my face,
like angel freckles.

As the sunlight wanes,
the soft sodium light waxes,
in a side street,
glowing inside a misty cocoon.
The light reflecting golden
from smooth
medieval cobbled stones,
where many horses’ feet clip clopped,
and many souls walked,
where Rilke stepped,
Kafka, Kundera, Havel.

In this sepia dream,
sounds and sights,
so soft.
Alone, not scary.
Solitude, safe,
beautiful,
serene.

When standing still,
all I know is that I am here,
now.
I can’t see where I came from,
and I can’t see where I am going;
so warm is this blanket of fog.
The boundary around me,
changing, gently, with me,
to a new here and now.

I disappear,
into a smoke-filled room,
immersed in jazz,
with warm people,
who talk of irony,
and who laugh,
until …
I am absinthe,
in this mist.

Copyright © Quirina Roode-Gutzmer 2012. All rights reserved.

This poem is linked to dVersepoets Open Link Night, Week 34.
DVerse Poets Pub is a place where poets and writers gather to celebrate poetry.

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35 thoughts on “Prague by misty night

  1. oh wicked last line…there was sucha great sense of place throughout, you had me right there as well…love cobblestone as well…it was an enchanting visit…and then love the turn in your voice toward the end…

  2. Q, this is a lovely…a different path from the usual cityscapes of London, Paris, Rome….I see the medievality, the sepia tones, and love that clever end.!

  3. I had never been to Prague. Now I have! And tonight I stood in that

    fog and misty place
    “…changing, gently, with me,
    to a new here and now.”

    And those last two lines, WOW! How better to leave us with the fullest picture of being present in that place now, and ever before now. Ageless city. Superb writing!

  4. the end made me smile…you capture prague well…all the history and charm, but the other side as well… a colleague of mine was there a few weeks ago and he fell in love with the city a bit..happens…smiles

  5. Beautiful imagery all the way through this wonderful poem, Quirina ~ & wrapped up in it all your obvious heartfelt love for a magnificent City. By the end of your poem, you were a part of it all … so ‘immersed in jazz, with warm people, who talk of irony, and who laugh,’ that I could not separate you from your space. You & Prague were fused together in a soulful, I-Thou moment 🙂

  6. It reaches into the physical and shifting city from a personality that, with a gracious, constant love of that city, has had that love returned by the city’s very soul. It thrills the heart as only Dicken’s love affair with London could, or Karen Engelmann’s love affair with Stockholm.

  7. I was in Prague for a few days back in 1992. You took me right back with your words. I can almost taste the smog from Soviet diesel engines and Trabants!

  8. I’ve never visited. One of the great ommissions of my life so far I’m sure. Your poem is so evocative and beguiling that I’ll now have to make the effort. Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed it immensely.

  9. This is atmospheric and immersive. Reading it I feel like I’m walking the streets with you, even though I’ve never been there, stumbling through the sodium light. I like how you mesh the architectural and literary to give the place a subtext that feels like it breathes from the trodden cobblestones, assuming Prague indeed has cobblestones.

    • Hi Ben, indeed Prague has cobblestones, which have even been rolled over by military tanks during the Prague Spring. Each stone could tell a story … I have even lain on cobblestones on the city square on a nice sunny day, my head on my rucksack, listening to live music and drinking the vibe …

  10. So well penned each line, each word married into the next so well, your play with the words and imagery left this tangible in my thoughts. Wonderful! ~ Rose

  11. You paint a beautiful picture of a city I’ve always wanted to visit (might try and avoid the Kitsch though!). I like the way you built that romantic image- stained with sepia and the Gothic architecture- might just have to go and get a ticket. I wanted to say thank you also for your thoughtful comments on the blackbird porch- much appreciated

    • Hi Stuart, … the kitsch is part of Prague. I’m personally no fan of kitsch myself, but I like to see people and places complete, their beauty as well as their flaws. My comment on your poem was a pleasure, Stuart; it is a special poem. Your comment is also very much appreciated.

  12. Peter sums this up perfectly, Q. I agree with all he said about it, in the way you describe the City, but merge with it at the same time. You have generated an atmosphere that is almost ethereal, Bohemian; I don’t know, it’s hard to describe, but it leaves its mark on me in the form of warm, optimistic, but pleasantly melancholy feelings.

    I love this poem.

    • Thank you, John. I’m sorry for replying so late. I thought I had. I’m glad that I could evoke a Bohemian feeling for you and that it was “pleasantly melancholic” is ironic, but then irony is deeply part of the Czech psyche.

  13. Evocative, atmospheric and beautiful. You succeed in giving me the feeling that I am there, and walking in the footsteps of Milan, Kundera and Kafka myself.

  14. your poetry is like a delicately wrapping hypnotizing mist…the picture of a wonderful city captured so amazingly in poetic lines..every stanza is a gem to discover. glad to have met your blog today..will return to read you.

    • Thank you, Yelena. The mist is indeed a delicate hypnotizing wrapping. I’ve visited your lovely poetry blog too and will do so frequently. 🙂

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