No drivers get our apologies, off cycling we go
on planned paths pushing pedals, fast and slow,
route engineered, favoured lines straight,
few lights forced stop, little traffic wait.
We cycled beside canals, stagnant-still,
swan-gliding barges, a paralysed windmill;
regimentally planted poplar trees, all in row,
Meccano-like iron bridges, arms akimbo.
Primary-coloured carpet-pile, flower fields,
quaint ancient houses, tidily well heeled,
chain-cogs clicked, tinny bells sounded,
track-tyres whispered, pleasantly expounded.
Delft was where we cycled to, in morning sun,
velo-voyage relaxed, ending happy as begun;
Oude Kerk entered for toilets and tour,
entrance fee paid, unwanted the brochure.
Light-white arches lifted arms up in praise,
canopied pulpits silent, sermons on Sundays,
Calvinistic doctrine, scripture thundered here,
under stone black slate lies the artist, Vermeer.
Mighty ‘bourdonklok’ bell in leaning tower,
twenty-thousand tons boom out each hour;
echoing near altar, orchestral practice choir,
Passion-opened hearts, tunes tearfully inspire.
Stop-start echoed singing, stern conductor halted,
Bach’s muscular melodies, high ceiling vaulted;
heart-aching those arias, almost pleading prayers,
rich liturgical longing warms the cool church air.
image: The Oude Delft Canal and the Oude Kerk, Delft
Jan van der Heyden, 1675