High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

Anke Verschueren: C’est la pluie
© Marianne Hommersom
© Marianne Hommersom © Marianne Hommersom

Anke Verschueren: C’est la pluie

More than sixty Flemish and Dutch artists provide an artistic response to the corona crisis with deBuren's multimedia project, Besmette Stad (Contaminated City). They were inspired by the internationally renowned collection of poetry, Bezette Stad (Occupied City), by the Flemish writer Paul van Ostaijen, in which he looks back on the First World War. Anke Verschueren read his poem ‘Eenzame stad’ (Lonely City), resulting in the video ‘C'est la pluie’ (it’s the rain).

C'est la pluie

it’s raining
of little purple monsters
with eyes spewing fire
and razor-sharp teeth
purple globules
with long tentacles
take root
in our throats
in our lungs
in our heads
in our hearts

and show us
this infected world

in figures on a chart
infected died recovered
and yes
it is a privilege to be a number
to have a cotton wool bud stuck
uncomfortably deep
up your nose
and then the result of your test
handled breathed on
hopefully a disaster avoided

may we also know
how many people
want to ring the doctor every day
but have no telephone
don’t even have anything to eat

in this infected country

I dance through the empty streets
a little with the people who sleep there
in the rain

in this infected city

where the gables
have turned into faces
behind which
fun laughter
danger secrets

luckily we can wave to each other


in this infected village

we no longer hide
between hunched shoulders
when we pass the neighbours

we nod encouragingly
as if
now the competition’s shut down
we suddenly all
support the same football team

tous ensemble tous ensemble
we’re staying indooors
we’ll get through this

it’ll be OK

here too
in this infected street
where every day a hedge is trimmed
and grass is mown

we have finally learned
to smile at each other
that is only possible with our eyes
the masks have finally dropped

we must wear them to be allowed outside

I sit
in my spotless room
which has already had three spring cleans

I am just

how much longer?

I see my friends
in little squares on the screen
and I sincerely hope
that these are the only pigeonholes
in which we will ever again imagine each other

it’s raining
tick tick tick
on my skylight
I open it all the way
look up
close my eyes
feel the drops
on my skin
tick tick tick

it is the rain
the only one
that touches me

video (in Dutch)

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