FLANDERS, the name of a place, a country of people,
Spells itself with letters, is written in books.
“Where is Flanders?” was asked one time,
Flanders known only to those who lived there
And milked cows and made cheese and spoke the home language.
“Where is Flanders?” was asked.
And the slang adepts shot the reply: Search me.
A few thousand people milking cows, raising radishes,
On a land of salt grass and dunes, sand-swept with a sea-breath on it:
This was Flanders, the unknown, the quiet,
The place where cows hunted lush cuds of green on lowlands,
And the raw-boned plowmen took horses with long shanks
Out in the dawn to the sea-breath.
Flanders sat slow-spoken amid slow-swung windmills,
Slow-circling windmill arms turning north or west,
Turning to talk to the swaggering winds, the childish winds,
So Flanders sat with the heart of a kitchen girl
Washing wooden bowls in the winter sun by a window.