I've never been to Germany.
No, that's not true; once in my youth
I stepped across the border at Freiburg-
Handsome town. On the city wall
Are markers showing where soldiers fell
In the 1870s.
Later we drove
To Colmar- which these days is French-
And saw the Grunewald altarpiece-
That great hysterical, cinematic
Tribute to a dying god
That Huysmans made such a fuss about.
They keep it in a cool, white room
All by itself. Then I went off
On a private mooch. In a shiny bar
I downed a glass of Kronenbourg
And fell in with a group of kids
Who gave me the usual kiddie-bleat
About how little there was to do
In their dull, old town. It was getting dark,
With half an hour to dinner time,
So I went and sat in a park and counted
Sycamore leaves on the damp path
Under a marble monument
(It might have been of Marianne
Or a stoic poilu) while a boy
Rode a bike with stabilisers
Round and round and round the plinth.