Photographer's Note

Dear all,

Today I want to introduce to you one of the most unusual and wonderful features of the city where I live: wall poetry. There are a lot of places in the world where poems have been written on the walls of the houses for one occasion or another; however, only in Leiden this has been done on a regular basis for 13 years. From 1992 to 2005, members of a voluntary non-profit organisation "Tegen-beeld", which has popularisation of world poetry as its aim, have brought 101 poems on the walls of the buildings in the old city of Leiden. The project has been started with the poem of the Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva and finished with the poem of the Spanish poet Garcia Lorca. All poems are written in the original languages and most of the times there is also a small board with Dutch and/or English translation. Here you can see the whole list of the poems. If you click on a poem there, you can read it and see how it looks on the building; unfortunately, further information is available only in Dutch.

One of these wall poems I want to present today. What you see in this picture is Sonnet XXX of William Shakespreare (it was actually the second poem they did, after Tsvetaeva), reflected in the blue Saab parked nearby. The distortion made the reflected house with the poem written on the wall look like an old open book, I was really fascinated by this effect. The "normal view" of the same poem (taken from the internet site) is in the WS. I flipped this reflection view so that the text could be read, and I hope it can be. For the case it is still difficult, the text is below. Anyway, such a beautiful poem is worth repeating, isn't it? :)


When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste:

Then can I drown an eye, unus'd to flow,
For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,
And weep afresh love's long since cancell'd woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanish'd sight:

Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.

But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restored and sorrows end.

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Additional Photos by Alexander Pasternak (pasternak) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1341 W: 179 N: 3373] (15185)
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