The Architect's Walk

By Keene, Daniel | TheatreForum, January 1, 2009 | Go to article overview

The Architect's Walk

Keene, Daniel, TheatreForum


There could be trees

It could be a forest

There could be moonlight

A little moonlight through the tall trees

And silence

Silence but for the soft stirrings of

forest animals

The gentle rustling of the leaves also

The deep silence of the forest could be


A train could pass through the forest

It could be black

A steam train with many carriages

The wheels of the train could scream

on the rails

Breaking the deep silence of the forest

The forest animals could take flight

There could be a wooden house

somewhere deep in the forest

Here the Forester could live

He could live alone

He could love the forest

Hearing the train pass through the

forest he could stand in the doorway

of his house

In the moonlight he could see far off

through the tall trees the smoke and

sparks come pluming from the black

funnel of the train

He could wonder where the train was

heading and why it was passing so late

at night at such speed through his

beloved forest

He could not know the answer


Espenbaum, dein Laub blickt weiss in Dunkel.

Meiner Mutter Haar ward nimmer weiss.

Lowenzahn, so grun is die Ukraine.

Meine blonde Mutter kam nicht heim.

Regenwolke, saumst du an den Brunnen?

Meine leise Mutter weint fur alle.

Runder Stern, du schlingst die goldne Schleife.

Meine Mutter Herz ward wund von Blei.

Eichne Tur, wer hob dich aus den Angeln?

Meine sanfte Mutter kann nicht kommen.

[Aspen tree, your leaves glance white into the dark

My mother's hair was never white.

Dandelion, so green is the Ukraine.

My blonde mother did not come home.

Rain cloud, do you hover above the well?

My quiet mother weeps for everyone.

Round star, you wind the golden loop.

My mother's heart was ripped by lead.

Oaken door, who lifted you off your hinges?

My gentle mother cannot return.]


The garden

Spandau Prison

Albert Speer wearing a long dark over


He is stooped with age or weariness

He stands motionless

Casalis appears

He also wears a long dark overcoat

He also is stooped with age or weariness

CASALIS: Where are you tonight?

SPEER: Crossing the Alps

CASALIS: You still have a long way to go you'll never finish

SPEER: Some things aren't meant to be finished I'd tike to finish the garden seedling pines and lindens arrived today I've been making sketches trying to visualise the garden when it's completed but no landscape architect has ever seen in nature what was present to his mind's eye

CASALIS: It's time to come in

SPEER: Trees bushes flowers grass they take too long to grow together into a landscape but I want to see at least the beginnings of the thing I am working for


At the same time I fear that very thing


SPEER: Spandau has become a meaning in itself


CASALIS: I have some more books for you I'll bring them to you in the morning

SPEER: I'd rather have them tonight I can't sleep

CASALIS: In the morning


SPEER: Have you noticed that young sapling by the path? I didn't plant it the garden is transforming itself perhaps it's less mine than I think

CASALIS: It isn't yours

SPEER: No but one can't help feeling that way

CASALIS: It's time to come in

SPEER: A blackbird bathed in the pond today and afterwards sang above my head in the walnut tree a young sparrow lost its way underneath the garden bench five hawks flew above and one of them settled down on a tap flew onto the lawn and almost fell on its face because it was still so young and clumsy finally a wild pigeon came and perched in the lowest branch of the walnut tree Herr Hess and I had been sitting beneath the tree in silence for more than an hour tike statues then into the stillness Hess said almost with embarrassment 'Like paradise'


CASALIS: It's time to come in

SPEER: I can't sleep

CASALIS: It's time

Casalis turns and moves off

Speer follows him


Once the train had passed the Forester

could walk out of his house and into

the deep silence of the forest

The darkness and silence of the forest

is a tumult in which

one unaccustomed to them could be


But the Forester could see the forest

differently from others

It could be the way a man sees his be

loved's face

It could be coming closer

It could be dying away

A man could see the last of his beloved's


He could see her face for the first time

over and over again

Such could be the way the Forester

walks through his beloved forest

As a man walks beside bis beloved

The Forester could find a corpse in the


Her hair could be golden hued or ashen

It could spread out from her head as it

might spread in a great

fan were she lying on the surface of a

still pond

But she could be lying there among the

fallen leaves

Her skin as pale as milk

The Forester could take the woman in

his arms

He could carry her through the forest

Back through the oaken door of his


He could lay her on his bed

And sit alone

Looking at her

He could see the star sewn on her dress

Sewn there above her heart

He could look at the star and wonder

what it meant

He could think that she was a holy


The Forester could speak to the dead

woman and she could answer him

Such things could happen in the deep

silence of the forest

Where no voice is heard

I am Magarete I am Shulamith the

dead woman could say

He could ask her where she came from

She could tell him she came from


Speer walks around the garden accompanied by Hess

SPEER: Lacking a proper tape measure I simply measured my shoe paced off the distance step by step and multiplied by the number of paces placing one foot ahead of the other eight hundred and seventy times thirty one centimetres to a step yields two hundred and seventy metres for a circuit of the garden if I had taken a different route along the prison wall I could have made my track three hundred and fifty metres but this route has a better view


Every week I add up the kilometres calculate the weekly average enter the kilometres for the week in a table with one column for the general average and another for the total number of

kilometres I have to reach seven times seven kilometres by the end of the week if I don't I have to make up for it the following week I keep count of my circuits by putting these beans in my left pocket after every circuit I drop one into my right pocket


HESS: I suppose it passes the time

SPEER: No more than that I'm actually going somewhere

HESS: Around the garden

SPEER: I began with a walk from Berlin to Heidelberg six hundred and twenty six kilometres in ninety days then I set out for Munich

HESS: Doesn't all this worry you? …

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