Six Days in Prague

By Gregor, Arthur | The Nation, May 24, 1999 | Go to article overview

Six Days in Prague


Gregor, Arthur, The Nation


Disappearance sweeps over me. Mozart's Laudate Dominum in St. Nicholas Church, traces fade, the ripples from the boats that pass, the water flows, the water stays. As I relive some of the scenes and recall their sense of being deeply in place, the intimacy with streets, outlying woods that I once had comes back to mind. Like Prague, Vienna is surrounded by hills on one side and as a boy I would often sit there by a pond and watch the swans in a park where, when it was private, young Loris* had walked with friends and I, not knowing this then, took in what must have also affected them, murmurs among the willows' trembling leaves, their shadows flecking the water, a swan, rising slightly, shaking its wings. Substance-less as thoughts, such scenes some recent ones called forth, as are now those I'd come upon this time: the elderly woman on the tram hearing us speak French, no doubt reminded of her former days, smiling and saying a few words to us as we got off; the swans in a cove under the bridge we crossed to the Old Town, to its steep streets, squares, churches, castle on the hill; from the music conservatory's open windows the sounds of a violin and piano team practising, a soprano repeating trills; the crowds waiting at the Town Hall's tower to see the mechanical figures appear on the hour; the tower, castle, cathedral and others of the city's main sights, lit up at night. …

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