The Chestnut Tree (For Anne Frank)

by Paul Hartal

On a winter morning
you climbed the ladder to the attic with Peter.
He chopped wood for about a quarter of an hour
and you watched him silently.

Then you looked out
from the open window
and marvelled at the stunning views of the city,
the roofs, the streets and the canals of Amsterdam.

An azure sky curved down
kissing a pale blue horizon
and white seagulls with outstretched wings
were gliding on the wind.

Standing bare in the inner garden
Shiny silver drops perched on the branches
Of the lonely chestnut tree
Near the house at Keizersgracht 188.

And you found comfort and solace
in all this simple beauty of nature.

As long as such beauty exists in the world,
You said, and you may live to see it,
'this sunshine, the cloudless sky,
while this lasts', you 'cannot be unhappy'
you wrote in your Diary on February 23, 1944.

By now, for almost two years,
you and your family lived in hiding
at the house behind the Prinsengracht.

I was still free in my native land then
and attended the public school.

Anne Frank Museum, Amsterdam

Paul Hartal's picture

A man of many Odysseys, Paul Hartal is a Canadian poet, author and artist born in Szeged, Hungary. His critically acclaimed books include Postmodern Light (poetry, 2006), Love Poems (2004), The Kidnapping of the Painter Miró (novel, 1997, 2001), The Brush and the Compass (1988), Painted Melodies (1983) and A History of Architecture (1972) ., In 1975 he published in Montreal A Manifesto on Lyrical Conceptualism. Lyco Art is a new element on the periodic table of aesthetics, which intertwines the logic of passion with the passion of logic. In 1980 the Lyrical Conceptualist Society hosted the First International Poetry Exhibition in Montreal., In 1978 Hartal exhibited his paintings at the Musée du Luxembourg and the Raymond Duncan Gallery in France and his canvas Flowers for Cézanne won the Prix de Paris. He also has displayed his oeuvre in museums and galleries in New York, Montreal, Budapest, as well as many other places., He approaches poetry with the credo that the heart of poetry is the poetry of the heart. A recurring theme of his recent work explores the human tragedies of wars and genocides.

Last updated March 10, 2012