Time! on Whose arbitrary wing
The Varying hours must flag or fly,
Whose tardy winter, fleeting spring,
But drag or drive us on to die…



Often you’ll find a note on the door of people who expect someone to call on them, or may be not, while they are not at home for the time being.

Or perhaps no note at all, simply because they are afraid that in this case it would suggest some kind of abuse to the evil ones.

Sometimes, however, in the absence of such a memo there are other cues of their non-presence – not particularly so intended.

That my neighbours the Hérings from Paris, who live fifty yards further on the little village road, have now been absent for months may be read from the sign language around their house.

We few more or less intimate neighbours know that they do not arrive here as regularly because of her mother who is dying in the metropolis.




See how these sky-high hollyhocks with their improbably large and impressive, gorgeously dark-purple flowers are barring the door for both ill-meaning strangers as well as for the Hérings themselves if they might come along yet.

The full icon of their absence – perhaps her absence over here, and this forever.

Also a lukewarm welcome for any intruder, who must however be wary of the sporadic attentiveness of that stray neighbor in our by now almost depopulated little village.

Sierksma, La Roche 6.6 / 2016


Author: rjsiersk

Sierksma was born in Friesland, a 'county' in the northern part of the Netherlands with its own language which he does not speak and with an obstinate population to which he both belongs and does not belong. A retired Professor of Social Philosophy and Aesthetics, as a Harkness fellow he taught at Rutgers and Berkeley Universities in the USA, and at GUAmsterdam and TUDelft in the Netherlands. In 1991 he was awarded his PhD from Leiden University on the subject of 'Surveillance and Task: Labour Discipline between Utilitarianism and Pragmatism'. His books include Minima Memoria (1993), Lost View (2002 with Jan van Geest), and Litter Scent (2013). He has published poems and articles in Te Elfder Ure, Nynade, Oasis and the Architectural Annual. Half the year he lives in Haarlem, the other half he spends in la France Profonde, living ‘in his own words’ as the house out there was bought with the winnings from his essay Eternal Sin, written for the ECI Essay Prize (1993). In this blog, Sierksma's Sequences, written in English, he is peeping round his own and other people’s perspectives. Not easily satisfied with answers nor with questions, he turns his wry wit to a number of philosophical and historical issues. His aim in writing: to make parts of the world light up in his perspective - not my will, thine! Not being a thief, he has no cook, one wife, some children, one lover and three cats.

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