Cologne

One springtime morning in Cologne,
on business, traveling alone
and walking at an early hour,
I came on Konrad Adenauer.
Copper-cast to human scale,
a statue on a flower trail
that ringed the chapel of a church,
he stood beneath a newgreen birch,
a solid man. He looked at me,
or over me—at Germany
he cast a solemn gaze. Or grim.
For no one seemed to notice him
save one of little consequence,
a stranger in the present tense

like S.T. Coleridge in the past
who walked through rolling shadows cast
beneath the vampire-pocked cathedral,
before this modern tetrahedral
church engaged the student throngs.
Amidst the gargoyles and the gongs
that plague this stinking, stony city,
Coleridge penned a light verse ditty
dark enough to be recited
in a netherworld benighted,
or in a perfumed ivory tower,
or to Konrad Adenauer
on the dark paths of the Rhine
where foul air strokes the Sonnenschein.

About the author

Rick Mullin has travelled throughout Europe and the US as a business journalist covering the pharmaceutical and chemical industries for the American Chemical Society’s…

Read the full bio

Issue 11 · January 2011

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