1st June 2007

Old Canal Waters

Poetry Issue 7, Volume 2: Summer 2007

Georges Rodenbach

Georges Rodenbach was born in Tournai Belgium in 1855. Best known for Bruges-la-Morte (1892), a poetic evocation of Bruges through symbolist eyes disguised as a novel, he was also a prolific poet, producing a significant number of collections before his untimely death from a chest infection aged only 46. The poems here come from one of the most accomplished of his collections Le Règne du Silence (1891), in which he explores the mournful architecture of a decaying Bruges where objects reveal a hidden life through patient observation. Such a theme fed into the work of later poets, most notably Rainer Maria Rilke. Rodenbach, the most Parisian of the Belgian 'émigrés' now occupies a distinctive tomb in Père Lachaise Cemetery.