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Leefstyl | Lifestyle > Gay > Poësie | Poetry

Steam baths


Johann de Lange - 2008-11-19

Steam baths

Auden, a visit

The men in the sauna sweating
take stock: from the fauna of the night

a naked animal emerges
wriggling through seaweed:

its wise and furrowed face is huge,
the dour shoulders, baggy skin.

"It makes one think of Kafka,"
a tormented voice is muttering:

"all is focused on obsession. All this vice,
there's a touch of lunacy, isn't there?

It's so mad and so ridiculous in a Dostoyevskian way.
To extreme sickness, said Pascal, one must apply

extreme remedies. Very clever, of course,
but what did he mean by extreme remedies?"

Steam rises from the glowing stones
with warning hisses (serpent, gospel-man?) -

the silent cleansing scrub proceeds
and the body's dismal load is spent.

High from my hazy perch I see
the radiant white of all his skin.