Ekphrastic Blog # 25

Editor’s Note: This post has been written by Linda K. Strahl, an editor at the Jet Fuel Review. Her full bio can be found at the end of this post.

This Ekphrastic is a better-late-than-never sort of post. I found the story months ago, and decided this was as good a time as any to share with my audience. The city of Amsterdam is infamous for its reputation as a place where drugs are fairly easy to get. But not many know about the eco-friendly bicycle riders, and as with any trend there is also a side effect. Bikes are frequently stolen, or parts are lost amongst the busy shuffle of an ever-moving city. The bike bells, my topic for this poem, tend to fall off as the owner weaves through the traffic patterns and, what is interesting, is that these beautiful bells are crushed into the pavement of the street.

Today I look at the accidental artwork that paves the streets of Amsterdam. I found out from a native of the area, that her hobby was collecting bicycle bells. She discovered on her many outings that some of the bells cannot budge from their decorative spots upon the street pavement of Amsterdam. Therefore she adapted her hobby to taking pictures of the bells embedded in the street, as they glint in the sunlight. To facilitate her artwork she began to take a picture of every bell that was crushed into the streets of her city. She admits that she knows Amsterdam by the bell spot rather than the streets or buildings. Her website the many different pictures that inspire my poem today which I link with a few of the photos, in case the audience would like to browse through the bells that pattern the city streets. Hope you all enjoy a trip to Amsterdam, because it is definitely some place I would like to visit and walk the streets, looking down, and The Bells of Amsterdam.

The Bells of Amsterdam
Stone rivets the polished surfaces
that gleam, fastened like zipper teeth
along the pavement, in crooked lines
they stitch the stones together
on the streets of Amsterdam.
Where flowers and crowns
lay crushed into the ground
the circles and ovals hold beneath them
on the streets of Amsterdam.
Clouds and buildings
reflect amongst their trilling sounds
as the cars and bikes tread above
on the streets of Amsterdam.
If you listen closely,
you can hear the hollow “twing” of
the bells as the wheels of the city turn
on the streets of Amsterdam.
            ~ By: Linda K. Strahl

Editor’s Note: Linda K Strahl is a transfer student from University of Wisconsin- La Crosse, where she was studying Archaeology and minoring in Creative Writing. She came to Lewis University in Fall of 2010 to major in Creative Writing. After participating in the production of two plays at Phillip Lynch Theater she has become an enthusiastic dramaturg, and is contemplating a career as a researcher and playwriter.

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