Stadhuis; Grand-Place, Brussels

“…According to legend, the architect [Jacob van Thienen] upon discovering this error leapt to his death from the tower…” ~ Wikipedia

From far afield, beyond shingled fences
or in our own green pasturelands: news

of the pain of the world always finds its way
to us, though there are coppices, willow-hurdles

that try not to break the spell of musk-scent
in the worked but naturally unruly garden. And here,

at summer’s throat among airborne colonies of midges
and thunderflies, are cups of English roses in shades

of peach and apricot: gold-stamened and airy as the lark
whose trill the poet described as lifting, ascending—

He rises and begins to round, He drops the silver chain of sound,
Of many links without a break…*
Ringing the square in the old

town, the gilded opulence of buildings whose beauty someone
wrought to try and withstand the ironies of time. There’s a legend

they like to tell in these parts, pointing out how the left wing
of the building is longer than the right; of how the builder,

despairing of this perceived imperfection, threw himself from
the roof. Who gathered his bones, who laid them end to end

and back together? The body’s column in the center, 12 pairs
of ribs. On either side, not one less or more, in woman or in man.

~ For Meg and Tim

(* “The Lark Ascending,” 1883; George Meredith)

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