These are my neighbours. Yes, camping Duinhorst backs onto a racecourse. Duindigt opened in 1906. Most of the races held are trotting races, with the jockeys sitting on a sulky as in the picture. Some days I can hear the faint sounds of commentary, or a national anthem at the end of a race. And, very often when I’m out and about I come across horses being exercised. That is where the writing started. It is the second poem in my second collection Nothing serious, nothing dangerous.
I was going to fly to Holland on 5 April, but things are serious and dangerous. I managed to get a flight out on Wednesday 18 March from Manchester to Schiphol in the Netherlands, and went straight to my caravan. You know from following my blog that I am a Dutch national, long-term resident in the UK. Faced with “social distancing” and a possible four-month’ quarantine, I felt it would be easier in the caravan. It has a small garden and I can go for a bike ride, or a short walk in the nearby dunes – as long as I keep my distance.
Here I am walking …
Here I am walking with a small horse.
I found it on the path to the supermarket
where it stood, eyes closed, by yellow gorse.
All this happened a long time ago,
before I was born, before the war,
and the rope in my hand smells of horse.
We can turn to the right, walk over
the dual carriageway, head for the dunes,
four bronze crosses to remember
the war dead and we’ll arrive,
place our feet on the beach
where it’ll soon be night.