The Good Vandals of Delft
They came in hordes from the North
To undo work and break the locks,
Dreaming disorder on the flattened fields
They raise by hands hills of sand
So from the clock-tower you cannot see the sea.
In tidy rooms and quiet kitchens
They rummage for fruit, southern signs,
Mysteries of disease in trash buckets splashed
On parquet floors, with grimy fingers wipe their mouths
And smile in an alien language.
Finally it's Olaf that says, Here I have
Thor's mighty hammer, and with glee
He sweeps and blows aside blue porcelain clogs,
Wooden tulips in a bunch, the tables near the poffertje
Where tourists scatter insect-wise. The church, the church,
The church is on fire, but they don't give a damn
'Let the motherfucker burn', is what they said,
While the canals of Dutch pea soup
Push slowly south, carrying their cargoes of heavy metal
And thrash the waves. Morning after is like a storm,
The bikes in their racks have all been flattened,
Their wheels are broke and spoke the sky
Like sharpened mills of primal speech,
They spin bently and weave wonders of scratching sounds.
What will we ever do now, in tidy gardens,
Inside the Museums of Private Life where elegant figures groan slowly?
Wait, I suppose, till they come again,
Build solutions with an engineer's pen,
Design miraculous forms from steel and lace,
Fixing the rip in Vermeer's canvass
That reveals an idiot's face.