Oh, glorious Etruscan days,
in which – even in tombs of death –
the joys of dance were celebrated,
also the carnal pleasures of the flesh.
What’s left of that great kingdom?
Mere tombs and stones and dry grassed hills.
Gone all its poetry – gone all the music and the songs:
The dances in those darkened vaults are silent.
The cell, which is my bedroom –
a safeguard of our love which shielded us from foes,
also the altar of our blessèd fornication –
still houses all her gifts to me,
the etchings and the drawings,
those souvenirs of love
that now remind me of the ruin.
As art they live,
as signs of love they’re dead by now.
Its frame become a tomb.
Inside it: Us – that couple.
Once metonymic image of our bond.
A given then, perhaps even a metaphor.
Does human love run through same cycles
as overstretchèd empires do, and kingdoms vast?
The vibrant rise towards the summit
of a complete and evident belonging.
And then, against both wills,
the slow decay sets in.
Not really seen, not truly felt at first,
yet of a sudden there:
The slow descent in foul indifference.
The metaphor that once gave life,
may now be killing.
Sic transit – yes, oh yes – Sic transit…
When love is lost amongst the ruins of a past,
covered with thistles and haphazard stones,
lying around amongst the dwellings of the dead,
once vigilantly cared for,
cubicles that lined the lanes which have become invisible:
What’s left is not too much.
The farce of life gets on my nerves.
The balms of irony and humour
no longer sooth the ailments.
Delight dulled into pleasure,
Now pleasure dulls into a mere existence –
then is heard of no more.
Sierksma, La Roche 9.9/2016