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My first ambition was to be an architect

Jan Mensaert

The roadsigns show Mecca as usual
and which to choose is the question
already asked at other signs and then put aside
For everyone in the caravan knows
that the one alternative that remained
if one didn't want to turn back on one's camel's trail
which no one wanted for that's where one came from today,
was to ride to wherever it is that Mecca is waiting.

We already know it lies behind the greenest gardens
where the whitest blossoms wave promises
of ever being a handsome fellow of a pear or prune.
Listen to the grasses growing while you watch them,
no one can cut them down fast enough,
till a pop teaches us nirvana has been reached
till a whole fusillade shows that nothing
that leads away from one's own celebrations is spell-binding forever, whatever one may wish.

Since that faraway year that pear and prune disappeared
in the pit into which much disappears that one once meant
before learning the name of what one wanted in full earnest,
everyone in the caravan had to learn this yet,
our destination lies behind such country
where deprivation plays at cat and mouse with our appetites,
that one increasingly knows for sure
which direction to take

if one wants to be where Mecca waits patiently and yearns for us,
if one wants to penetrate to the sources of the divine bunker,
if one wants to live where mercy reigns an absolute despot
then all the roads are open,
any choice has to be paid for
but a mistake can always be baptized
in that otherworldly water that quenches him who strives that way:
to learn what their reason hides in her mysterious sleeves.

Poem, photography and translation into English by the poet Jan Mensaert.

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Last Modified on February 14, 2002
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