Tampere: a poem in five parts (with some hyperlinks and photos)

Tampere, June 2010. Photo: EE Pridgeon

Tampere, June 2010. Photo: EE Pridgeon

Part I

Don’t get me wrong,

There will always be the profound and the valid interlocked

In tour book names where the actual proper names,

Notre Dame, Duomo, Kremlin, Beefeaters

Become shorthand expressions for

Things of public fame and personal longing

Several steps down the thought chain

From what they architecturally, philosophically,

Momentously should summon up and yet do

When we suddenly get all those moments and visions

When cognitive haze bows to point-perfect clarity.

Maybe I had some point-perfect clarity here: on the boat to Viikinsaari island, Tampere, June 2010

Maybe I had some point-perfect clarity here: on the boat to Viikinsaari island, Tampere, June 2010. Photo: EE Pridgeon

Part II

Even so.

I’ve trawled and slagged myself around

Compendious monuments and it’s not them

That end up feeling devalued.

I’d feel gutted all over if you couldn’t

Pigeonhole me in Trafalgar Square

Or in a European anywhere as

‘Sightseer with the right cultural intentions’.

But maybe decades of scrapbooks, postcards

Densely stacked pages of good education and

Geographers’ guides for those not yet travelled

Have worked too much magic in reading encounters

Spurred imagination that could fill up bookshelves

And along with the facts and a belt of ideas

We know inside out all the things we’ve imagined

We go to the city, bridge, church, site

And it won’t disappoint but it won’t

Hoist or hearten.

Showed the Acropolis (finally)

We’re anxious to get to the top

At the top we are wreathed

In the faintly familiar.

 

Part III

Of course that is the moment

We need to revise

How we see things

And adjust what we are

In the instant of being there

But even the genius

Cannot always recalibrate.

To be wide-eyed and good-hearted

Still counts for everything.

If so at the heart of our connoisseur’s blind spot

Is the gentlest beauty that bypassed obsessing

The point where the footnotes eclipsed standard text

And remained unruffled whilst we trawled all the same old.

Who needs expert weekend pull-outs

When you could sunbathe by lakes with golden inflections

And then find the capacity to rejoice in the rain

That turns midsummer islands into critical mysteries

Embellished by damp bark and the thread of the pine needles

Forming a carpet – then the key to our sequences?

 

Part IV

I had not known one arboretum so off the beaten track

And so close to hand could perform serene miracles;

No extravagance or design monumental

But cross-pollination of rose, shrub and dignity

Flipping this mind from ‘here I am’ mediation

Into the expanse of the cleanest reflection

A very familiar friend, Tampere, June 2010. Photo: EE Pridgeon

A very familiar friend. Muumilaasko (Moomin Museum), Tampere, June 2010. Photo: EE Pridgeon

And pedestrian roads were pedestrian friendly

And where the urbane would fear knots of aggression

Street corners beckoned new brooks of tranquility

As watery rapids churned on to conclusions

Of grander silence and peacekeeping frames

Whilst Lenin and Finlayson dropped amid names.

tampere aerial view

Part V

When the sky is perfectly white close to midnight

I will not flinch but know I am

Where I achingly pledged to return in one lifetime

No need for karma or the half-cock vicarious

No need for reviews of what happened since yesterday;

A Canadian would imbibe a case of her homeland;

This is no homeland but oh, my Tampere,

I would go down fathoms within your distillery,

Break for the surface and still reach for seconds.

Words copyright Aidan McGee 2013. Don’t forget EE Pridgeon’s image expertise extends well beyond the art of very discerning photography

Complete happiness transcends incomplete (photographed) personage. Tampere, June 2010. Photo: EE Pridgeon

Complete happiness transcends incomplete (photographed) personage. Tampere, June 2010. Photo: EE Pridgeon

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