Saturday, July 30, 2016


I recently took a detour through Prague, desperate to decompress from the past few months. I had been in the Netherlands for a conference, and so caught a flight from Amsterdam. I was only in Prague for four days, but it was the redoubt I needed - provided the solace I sought. I spent those hot summer days traveling back and forth through time, writing poetry in sidewalk cafes and ancient cathedrals, following my spirit where it drew me, and I hope to return there soon, and to share what I found with my love. For now, I have these images and these words, the latter all written stream of consciousness as I found places that spoke, and tried my best to preserve what they said.

I stayed near Charles Bridge, where I immediately climbed to the top of this tower:

To discover this view:

My first afternoon, I wandered without direction, finding visions of history and romance wherever I roamed:

My first evening, I boarded a river boat, to see the city from the water:

To listen to jazz:

To admire how the Czechs in Prague live:


And to stare in awe at where they live:

If it is possible, Prague became more beautiful at night, when it literally glowed:

From that river ride came these words, written as we floated along:


Bleached blonde punk rock jazz singer
Amidst chain smoking Germans.
Sandstone and plaster,
Most of it centuries old.
Ancient river breezes,
Like winter's ghost.
Architecture dancing
Like Ginger
Still teaching Fred some moves.
Simple chords
Whispering to the shoreline swans.
All of it magic,
Like natural flight and the edges of fear
Just before
It all goes wrong or right.
And the city is swaddled
In the breath of night.


Next day, I wandered on my own, seeking out the castle I had seen from the boat, but taking my time as I strolled the city streets, pausing to gaze from bridges over canals, all adorned with statues:

Each building I passed possessed a magnificent character all it sown:

I even found, while staring up at the architectural detail, the first of what became a series of wonderful vegan eateries:

More often than not, it seems, while in Prague one dines outdoors:

Live music is never far off:

And the views are all spectacular:

Along the way, I felt a certain sense of the place, tried to capture it with a few lines:

It’s all in the details

It's all in the details
Fifteen languages in fifteen steps
Where old Bohemia meets the O.C.
And a cold beer in the morning shade
Trumps Starbucks every time
Because after all
It's Thursday
And an old man is playing violin
On the street outside the palace gates


A king and a jester greeted visitors to the castle:

As did more musicians:

Within, Saint Vitus dominated the castle compound:

The stained glass windows were exquisite:


The vaulted ceilings and arches of the cathedral soared above me:

The artwork which adorned the walls was sublime:

And when the sunlight found that stained glass, I was transported:

The towering majesty of the cathedral, which took six hundred years to complete, cannot be overstated:

Also within the castle walls was St. George's Basilica, which truly felt medieval:

And which featured artwork that literally left me breathless:

Further on within the castle walls were wonderful displays of its human history:

Including traditional children's toys: 

Upon pulling myself away from the armor displays and cathedral walls, I found my way over the old mote, only to look back and be awed again:

I strolled the royal gardens for a good while:

Then found a quiet corner and jotted down these few verses:

Pražský hrad

Locust trees in the royal garden
Settling into its privileged breeze

And dark

Post-modern princess
Dips her hand in the fountain

She perhaps


More music as I wandered back down from the castle's heights:

Stopping in, of course, at my new favorite vegan restaurant (where they even served vegan versions of traditional Czech dishes!):

Prague is, quite literally, filled with magic:

And a magical pace of living:

In the older section of town (the newest section of the city was established in the fourteenth century), this astronomical clock tracks the passing of time, the seasons, sunsets and sunrises, the planets and the moon, and it is attended by an hourly procession of the apostles:

It sits upon this square:

Day after that, I took a formal walking tour of the city, led by our most excellent guide, Katerina:

She showed us royal residences:

The Baby Jesus of Prague:

And the wall where peace is still imagined, where John Lennon's spirit lives on in ever-evolving art:

We saw swans sailing about:

A saint ringed by stars standing atop a bridge:

And Kafka portrayed as a character in one of his own short stories:

I returned to my hotel, admiring the avenue on which it sat, the living that was done there with laughter and joy:

I started my days in Prague like this, which is how all days, I think, should begin:

And there, at that table one morning, I wrote:


The bell rings eight
And the coffee's already gone.
The same two young women
Have been talking and smoking
Four doors down since dawn.

The pigeons are pecking at the cobblestones
Looking for what's left of last night.
A crow loudly complains
That not enough of the sky is blue,
Too little of the dawn is alight.

The loudest sound is the runners,
But the restless
Shall start up soon and strong.
So I will go strolling now
In a direction I’ve not yet gone,
And I will bless the clouds for their comfort
The crow and the bell for their songs.


On an island in the river, I found a bench and admired the rolling water, the city reflected therein:

I climbed a hill to find a new perspective on Prague, its serenity and charm:

And, of course, I crossed its many bridges:

On one such crossing, I found these words just as the one rain I knew while there began to fall:

Over the Vltava

Beggars on the bridge,
Folk music below.
Seekers connect with saints,
Tourists with themselves.
An exaggerated musician
Shares jokes with madness,
And the swans parade
From shore to shore.
Rainclouds roil,
Revelers on the river
Cover their cameras and wine.
A greasy man
Curses the beggar.
The beggar
Curses back.
The sky opens,
The tourists scatter
Like pretentious laughter,
And the beggar’s hat
Fills with rain.


My final day in Prague, I felt at home:

I took in the river, the city, the bridges one last, longing time:

And then I headed back, where I could tell my love all about it, and try to convince her to go there with me...