Newmaker Notes

Herman de Jong

Prose

Johan

last night
who pops up in my head?
johan
slender little johan
i wish
we had grown up together

twelve years old he was
already indoctrinated
by nuns and i
twelve year old calvinist
first year catechumen
could do little
to show him a thing or two

we were friends
because our parents
visited back and forth
between the backs of our homes
an ecumenical gate
latch on either side
theirs a bit more rusty
alter all, they belong
to the oldest church

christmas high mass
five o'clock in the morning
brrr...those catholics must be crazy
said my mother
as she wound my dad's scarf
three times around my neck

five in the morning
breathe clouds in the glow
of yellow street lanterns
dwarfs on wooden shoes
preserving snow clods
intermittently
we stood head to head
to see who was the tallest

rushing through the last street
johan made it just in time
to be properly robed
for he sang in the choir

to my surprise
fellow protestants packed
the narthex of the cathedral
they left little space
for real parishioners to get through
they muttered under their breath
as they dipped one hand
in a rather grimy bowl

it was that morning
that for the first time
music brought tears to my eyes
one single boy's soprano
from heaven high i now descend
eya eya

walking home i told johan
how fine that boy had sung
that was me
he said

hands in pockets
we talked religion a bit
and to my surprise i discovered
that he loved
the same jesus
i love
we found a stone
and between the two of us
kicked it all the way home

Herman de Jong


About: Newmaker Notes - writings, photos and collections - by Henry J. de Jong. Newmaker is the spirit that drives a lifetime of creativity, and is a reflection of the Creator who continues to make all things new.