Poetry - Issue 11 | January 2011

Cologne

by Rick


Cologne

One springtime morning in Cologne,
on business, traveling alone
and walking at an early hour,
I came on Konrad Adenauer.
Copper-cast to human scale,
a statue on a flower trail
that ringed the chapel of a church,
he stood beneath a newgreen birch,
a solid man. He looked at me,
or over me—at Germany
he cast a solemn gaze. Or grim.
For no one seemed to notice him
  save one of little consequence,
  a stranger in the present tense

like S.T. Coleridge in the past
who walked through rolling shadows cast
beneath the vampire-pocked cathedral,
before this modern tetrahedral
church engaged the student throngs.
Amidst the gargoyles and the gongs
that plague this stinking, stony city,
Coleridge penned a light verse ditty
dark enough to be recited
in a netherworld benighted,
or in a perfumed ivory tower,
or to Konrad Adenauer
  on the dark paths of the Rhine
  where foul air strokes the Sonnenschein.


About the author

Rick Mullin has travelled throughout Europe and the US as a business journalist covering the pharmaceutical and chemical industries for the American Chemical Society’s Chemical & Engineering News. He has made the occasional foray on his own as well. His forthcoming collection, Stignatz and the User of Vicenza, will be published by Dos Madres Press, which has also published his collections Coelacanth and Sonnets from the Voyage of the Beagle, as well as his long poem, Soutine, on the life of the painter Chaim Soutine.

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