Michael Walker

Gold Star - 57,060 Points (cv48488)

It Happened In Amsterdam. - Poem by Michael Walker

I noticed straight away the Canal Ring
as I walked by the tree-lined Pinsengracht,
the canal bordered by old and new buildings
from warehouses to homes with ornate facades
which rise almost straight up from the water.
I took a canalbus along the Amstel, the Leidersgracht,
crossed bridges in my mind and over the Reguliersgracht,
impressed by the arch stone construction of seven bridges
before strolling through the red light district,
but I did not venture inside those neon nightclubs.

I ventured into the Van Gogh Museum outside the Canal Ring
into a world of glowing yellow and blue paintings
by the Dutch post-impressionist artist of bright colours.
I liked ' Starry Night', 'Cafe Terrace at Night',
and 'The Sower at Arles' and a self portrait.
I ventured into the nearby Rijksmuseum in which
'Winter Landscape With Skaters' made me feel cold
on a hot summer's day and 'Feeding the Hungry' empathy.
On a stairway I chanced on Rembrandt's 'The Night Watch',
a group portrait of the city's militia about to set out
to inspect and guard the streets: it has thirty-four characters,
with one man beating a drum and another cleaning his rifle.
'The Night Watch' is dominated by the captain and lieutenant
in the right foreground, clad in light in the chiaroscuro
on a very large canvas, which suggests imminent movement.
All the characters play a part in the ready-to-leave moment.

- 18/19 August,2018.

Topic(s) of this poem: city, life, travel

Form: Free Verse


Poet's Notes about The Poem

I took this trip around Europe, with a group, in 1974. This is what I remember of Amsterdam, a most impressive, individualist city. A curved glass entrance hall was added to the Van Gogh Museum in 2015. The museum itself had only opened in 1973, so I was lucky to see Vincent van Gogh's best paintings.
In 'The Night Watch', the captain seems ready to step out of the painting to talk to you a minute, before leaving the scene. Rembrandt has captured what later French photographers called 'the decisive moment'. Not entirely static, because the characters are about to move away.
In the poem I refer to these paintings:
'The Sower at Arles',1888. Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) .
'Cafe Terrace at Night',1888. Van Gogh.
' 'Starry Night',1889. Van Gogh.
' Winter Landscape With Skaters',1618.Hendrick Avercamp
(1585-1634) .
'Feeding the Hungry',1504. Master of Alkmaar d.1540.
' The Night Watch',1642. Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) .

Comments about It Happened In Amsterdam. by Michael Walker

  • Kumarmani MahakulKumarmani Mahakul (8/21/2018 2:33:00 AM)

    A touching inscription has been made on different attractive places of Europe while you were on trip around Europe, with a group, in 1974. Among the places Amsterdam city, Van Gogh Museum, Canal Ring, Starry Night', 'Cafe Terrace at Night', 'The Sower at Arles' and Rijksmuseum etc. are some of them. We know much from your poem. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing. (Report)Reply

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  • Rajnish MangaRajnish Manga (8/19/2018 3:55:00 AM)

    Canal Ring and nearby places of aesthetic interest have nicely been described. Some places Van Gogh and Rembrandt were the Master painters of their times. Thanks for sharing this write about Amsterdam. (Report)Reply

    Michael WalkerMichael Walker(8/20/2018 7:01:00 PM)

    A most apposite comment. As ever, I was searching for beauty in Amsterdam.

    michael walker(8/20/2018 6:57:00 PM)

    A most apposite comment. As ever, I was searching for beauty in Amsterdam.

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  • Cynthia Buhain-baelloCynthia Buhain-baello (8/17/2018 9:18:00 PM)

    Wonderful vivid images of Amsterdam, I enjoyed reading this. (Report)Reply

    Michael WalkerMichael Walker(8/21/2018 8:40:00 PM)

    Thanks, I am glad that you liked this poem from a long-ago experience.

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Poem Submitted: Friday, August 17, 2018

Poem Edited: Monday, August 20, 2018


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