Bruges Public Library
Meet the famous Flemish poet Guido Gezelle. He was a real jack-of-all-trades. In addition to being a poet, he was a journalist, teacher, linguist and translator. Discover where he grew up, worked and lived and what his life was like in 19th century Bruges, Roeselare and Courtrai.
My heart is like a blossoming bush,
which opening or re-closing
inside the rays of sun receives
or droops and swoons and hangs aslope.
My heart seems like a youthful leaf
which breathes within the dew of morning
but weakens in the evening, wan
and full of dust and dole and worry.
My heart is like a fruit which grows
and ripening in the shadow hides
ere that the hand of autumn has
too soon, alas, the tree deprived.
My heart seems like the star which high
shoots suddenly and on the walling
of heaven strikes a spark and, see,
ere that I breathe withholds the glowing.
My heart rivals the rainbow that
is highly domed through all the heavens,
but soon has quenched the blue and red
yellow and green and purple revels.
My heart ... my heart is faint and frail
and all inconstant in delighting,
but if one instant cheerly fares
for days and days the hunger bears.
In Bruges, Father Gezelle was always helping his parishioners. In 1872 a rich English lady, the mysterious Lady Smith, became his neighbour. Their relationship was quite intense. This was a reason for gossip, scandal and mystery. Was the gullible Gezelle manipulated or did he merely help a lady in distress?