“Il Silenzio” – Nini Rosso‏

by richibi

the Yser Memorial - Nieuwpoort, Holland

the Yser Memorial

Nieuwpoort, Holland


the year before last when my mom and I
were in Belgium, we stayed at a wonderful
bed and breakfast, Ter Brugge, in a place
called Jabbeke, a village near Bruges, our
intended sightseeing destination, cause
I’d read in the prospectus that they served
fresh eggs from their very own chickens in
the morning, and where there turned out to
be fresh fruit also from their very own

not to mention the hearty, convivial
welcome in the manner of the countryside –
the restaurant across the street, five stars
nevertheless, however improbable in so
nestled and remote an area, even let us
bring back cash instead of the unaccepted
credit card we were proffering, and wouldn’t
accept a compensatory tip when the next
day I returned to oblige

try that in your own urban back yard

more companionable still were our hosts,
Staf and Annemie, who’d faultlessly drive
us several kilometres away to the bus stop
every morning to the city, and pick us up
across the street there every night, so
we could spend, without impracticality,
each day in Bruges

and every morning we’d meet up with a
couple from England as we waited, who
were staying in a trailer park nearby,
and who’d trek to Ypres by bus to honour
their countrymen who’d died there

somehow we never thought, my mom
and I, of going to either Ypres or
Passchendaele, despite our, especially
her, particular interest

we learned from them that every day,
every day, however improbably, since
the end of the First World War, there is
a commemoration to honour the fallen

today I learned that in a cemetery near
Maastricht in Holland, every single fallen
soldier there has been adopted by a family
who’ve been minding their graves ever

makes one wonder about our own

on Liberation Day each year, May 5th,
throughout Holland, there is a formal
commemoration at the end of which,
since 1965 when it was commissioned,
someone plays Il Silenzio