my Ghent, December 6, 2013‏

 The Ghent Altarpiece - Jan van Eyck

                            “The Ghent Altarpiece (1432)

                                                    Jan van Eyck  


our room at the Ter Brugge was called
the van Eyck, after, of course, the most
impressive, perhaps, of the Flemish
painters, if you’ll put aside the
magnificence of the impish Bruegel,
the ubiquitous Rubens, and the
masterful van Dyck, for instance,
among countless other inspired 
artists of their rightly celebrated,
and wondrous, golden age  
what’s “Ter”, Mom asked, we see it
everywhere, “Ter” here, “Ter” there,
“Ter”, as I said, everywhere, and every
day of course at the Ter Brugge  
it means “at”, Staf said, as in “at the
bridge” for “Ter Brugge“, ever ready
to shower us with courtesy and 
how obvious, I thought, and faulted
myself for not having already figured
that out
much like Kerkstwat, in Amsterdam, or,
more accurately, Kerkstraat, instead of
the more pungent pet name I had given
it, turned out to be Church Street, a
breeze when I’d set my mind to it
books then even followed, fresh fruit by
the handful, beer, voted the best in the
world, from a monastery in Belgium, he
said, and verily presented us with proof
of that high accolade, our favourite
Classical music over breakfast, not to
mention transportation back and forth
to the bus stop, for us too impracticable 
a distance 
we met him or Annemie at 8:11 every
evening there after our Brugesfest, they
were never, nor we either ever, late   
Staf had urged us to go to Ghent, a more
Romanesque city than the Gothic Bruges,
and putting two and two together I
remembered the GhentAltarpiece, The 
duh, chided myself
once there we had been given a proposed
route to follow to witness the sights, but
winds, cobblestones, and too short a time
for the visit halted us in our tracks at the
no, I don’t want to go up to the top, Mom
said, she’d climbed both the Frauenkirche
in Dresden and the Dom in Cologne,
Königstein even in Königstein, a few years
earlier, indeed so had I, but would not
undertake so steep again, and arduous,
an ascent
nor would I
we went next door instead to the Cathedral
we spent an hour marvelling, it is profoundly
inspired, a vision in complexity, colour, and
execution, all multiplied exponentially by
devotion, in all connotations of that word  
we were too, however, profoundly inspired,
and foreshortened, therefore, our tour of
Ghent, Ghent went   
later in Bruges we ate at what became there
our favourite restaurant, Maria of Something-
or-Other* – right beside Maria-of-Somewhere-
Else**, my next favourite restaurant, if you’ll
excuse my faltering memory, – on cordiality,
fine wine and hearty victuals before making
our way back home for 8:11, having indelibly
taken in Ghent  
no one was late
** Maria van Bourgondië, read the menu, take
     the virtual tour, just click