In the days of Spinoza and Rembrandt when great uncelebrated
figures helped make it the remarkable city it is.
By Seymour Mayne

The Levant's imported oranges
spice the air and stain frantic fingers.
Domestic totems, herring gape
and dogs bark at every corner.

Somewhere in a narrow back room
in a row of rank houses
an old head possessed
mutters before a flame
formulas of symmetry and vision.

It must be so
for hidden and ecstatic
he alone
keeps Amsterdam from sinking.

But he is unknown
to the flourishing merchants
and the young blandly expending
their flesh and faces.

Author Seymour Mayne paints a vivid picture with his own words.

"The poem alludes to both the mystical lore and scientific investigations that marked the beginning of the modern era. This figure in the poem is in touch with the deeper knowledge of which the others in a big hurry have no inkling. He is a "hidden saint" or unknown righteous person who saves his immediate world from disruption and destruction because he pursues the truth while others are bound up with the more ephemeral concerns of florins and flesh."

Need a perfect gift to lift the spirits?
Check your local book store for Seymour Mayne's
latest new book. LIGHT INDUSTRY, a selection of
humourous and satirical poetry, is published by Mosaic Press.

Seymour Mayne, Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Ottawa, is the author of many collections including most recently, Carbon Filter (Mosaic Press) and Light Industry (Mosaic Press).




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