I made my song a coat … out of old mythologies

I was returning to the railway station after a successful day wandering the streets of Leiden when I noticed, painted high on a wall, William Butler Yeats’ poem, A Coat. After an afternoon exploring the ancient lanes and alleyways of this historic city the lines, “I made my song a coat, Covered with embroideries, Out of old mythologies, From heel to throat”, struck a resonant note.

Houses and canal, Leiden, Netherlands

Houses and canal, Leiden, Netherlands

Sign for a bar, Leiden, Netherlands

Sign for a bar, Leiden, Netherlands

Molen de Put, Leiden, Netherlands

Molen de Put, Leiden, Netherlands

Floating restaurant, Leiden, Netherlands

Floating restaurant, Leiden, Netherlands

This wasn’t the first piece of literature I’d seen painted on buildings. Perhaps fitting for a city renowned for learning, and teeming with students, there are literary quotations on walls scattered all across Leiden. It’s fun to walk around spotting Leiden’s ‘Wall Poems’, I came across five or six including poems from William Shakespeare and Syrian poet, Adonis. Enough to brighten any stroll as you explore the winding streets and broad canals.

Shakespeares Sonnet XXX on a wall in Leiden, Netherlands

Shakespeares Sonnet XXX on a wall in Leiden, Netherlands

Loss by Syrian poet Adonis on a wall in Leiden, Netherlands

Loss by Syrian poet Adonis on a wall in Leiden, Netherlands

Pop up restaurant, Leiden, Netherlands

Pop up restaurant, Leiden, Netherlands

Houses, Leiden, Netherlands

Houses, Leiden, Netherlands

Mackerel in the market, Leiden, Netherlands

Mackerel in the market, Leiden, Netherlands

Not that this city needs a lot of brightening. When I wasn’t passing down some ancient and narrow passage, probably used by pedestrians for hundreds of years, I was elbowing my way along streets crowded with people and extraordinary sights. All this activity was rewarded at the end of the day with a delicious Belgian beer in one of Leiden’s oldest bars, the Café de Bonte Koe (the Colourful Cow). If you find yourself in Leiden, don’t miss out on a visit to de Bonte Koe.

Women role playing in a shop window, Leiden, Netherlands

Women role playing in a shop window, Leiden, Netherlands

Coffee urn, Leiden, Netherlands

Coffee urn, Leiden, Netherlands

Mackerel in the market, Leiden, Netherlands

Mackerel in the market, Leiden, Netherlands

Music maker, Leiden, Netherlands

Music maker, Leiden, Netherlands

Whether it was the three people sat in a shop window playing out an 18th Century tea party (quite an odd sight); golden mackerel in the local market; crowds of people passing a warm day on a floating restaurant on one of the many canals; or an old music box on wheels playing a tune on a street corner, Leiden seemed to be going out of its way to entertain.

Stained glass window in Lakenhal, Leiden, Netherlands

Stained glass window in Lakenhal, Leiden, Netherlands

Old doorway, Leiden, Netherlands

Old doorway, Leiden, Netherlands

Bunting and bikes, Leiden, Netherlands

Bunting and bikes, Leiden, Netherlands

Yeats's poem high on a wall, Leiden, Netherlands

Yeats’s poem high on a wall, Leiden, Netherlands

2 thoughts on “I made my song a coat … out of old mythologies

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