Hello fellow travelers. Today was my last day in Berlin; and it’s been too hot. At first all I wanted to do was to hide at Bikini Berlin. That’s a building across from the Gedächtniskirche that was renovated and made into a shopping center. It’s air-conditioned. But to call it a shopping center doesn’t do it justice. I remember the building originally and it was nothing special. One of the businesses on the first floor was a second rate bookstore mostly appealing to tourists and Germans in a hurry. What I like about it is that it demonstrates how a third rate building can be transformed into a first rate piece of architecture. On principle, and being a builder myself, I would rather renovate than forever be building new buildings. The world is getting small, fast; and thinking about it, I suppose I’m that way in my poetry too. Old forms—the sonnet, blank verse, lyrics, haiku—are maybe like old buildings. Let the skilled poet, like the skilled architect, rebuild and renovate these old forms. Make them into something old and new at the same time—and beautiful.
But then it might also be said that life itself is a thing of constant renovation. No sooner do we think the balance of our lives is plumb and level, than some circumstance puts into us the need for new plans and a rebuilding.
I traveled as far North as the S-Bahn’s S1 line (the above ground train) would take me—Oranienburg. I had never been up there and the ride reminded me of Boston’s Green Line trip to riverside (though the S-Bahn goes much further and quicker). The ride takes about 40 minutes including all the stops, and one goes through increasingly wooded neighborhoods and, at the very end, a beautiful red pine, I think, forest—tall red pines under which mushrooms grow.
And at Oranienburg I discovered the Schloss Oranienburg.
And that’s my photo.
Though it’s hard to see, the tarp on the front of the palace says “Nie Wieder”, which means ‘Never Again’. The tarp shows a picture of the palace from the 30’s bedecked with Nazi regalia and a giant poster of Hitler. Here it is. After the Nazis repurposed the palace as a training ground for the SS, the Russians and then later the East Germans used it for similar purposes—a sad tale for this beautiful building. Though even in its first days it was a showpiece for the aristocracy. Now, finally, if a building can at last be happy and be said to be at home with itself, the Schloss is become a museum of art and keeps a café in its shadow. Behind it is a landscaped garden, a vast expanse of yard and paths, open to the public.
Tomorrow’s post is apt to be short and possibly late. I fly home and lose six hours from my day.
late August's clouds—thin as women's dresses 241: August 29th 2019 | bottlecap