Alara Adilow, The Cafe

Posted: May 31, 2022 in Chat
Tags: , , , ,

It is always worth keeping up with the excellent Dutch site The High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands :

The site is in English and covers huge areas of Dutch cultural activities, literature, history, arts. It is a dynamic and exciting place.

Tom Christiaens / adjunct-hoofdredacteur Ons Erfdeel vzw / eindredacteur the low countries has given me permission to reproduce their English translation of Dutch writer Alara Adilow’s poem, from the Friday Verses slot.
Alara Adilow is a writer of Somali heritage; she is currently getting her first book together in Dutch.
What really appeals too me about her poem The Cafe, is how it develops, broadens, opens up. It is not a chamber piece, playing all its introduced themes, but an expanding piece. Having said that, the opening images do promise what they fulfil, that is, an expanding range of imagery.

This is the writer’s only work in English so far, that I am aware of.

I urge you to follow up the links here to the site, and explore.

The Café

In a dusty café I drink a couple of espressos.
An elderly soprano dressed in a white negligé
with pearls round her neck plays a sonata on the piano.

She doesn’t touch her mussels,
a dead bee floats in her cognac.

Outside the storm grates among the remains of the day.
The wind tears at the yellow beach huts.
A seagull flies over the lamppost and disappears
in a sparkle that pricks my eyes.

Faces flash through the smog
in blue and red scarves they float over slippery clinkers
Laughter rings out in the greasy window 
until the vague forms glide away.
They leave a garden of footsteps behind.

A spider creeps across the edge of the table. I put my hand down.
I hold on to the spider like a future.
The café fills with the spider’s thoughts,
The thoughts drown in the crescendo.

Autumn and night waltz together under stars,
The stars shrivel and blow away.

A naked madman comes into the café
with earth and earthworms in his hair.
He introduces himself jovially.

The wind catches fire.

Heaven lies in a coffin
emaciated, lifeless, without
her boundless visions gloomy.

In the walls of the café a glowing fire blooms.

  1. equinoxio21 says:

    “Show me the way to the next whisky bar”? 😉

  2. Yes I knew it was by B B.
    Wiki tells us: The “Alabama Song” was written as a German poem and translated into idiosyncratic English for the author Bertolt Brecht by his close collaborator Elisabeth Hauptmann in 1925[1]

    Is that who you were thinking of?

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