out of africa

walt whitman traveled in my handbag, the very handbag i drew in my previous post. i bet the late poet didn't see that coming. myself traveling back from the museum on an airconditioned train, i lay the hard back in my lap, and let myself be blown away. i (only just now) realize SPECIMEN DAYS was written by mr. whitman, whilest michael cunningham reapplied said title in his 2005 novel (inspired by whitman). therefore i dare to conclude, that mr. cunningham loves walt too.

however. not my intention to go on about word and poetry right now. the africa museum in tervuren (brussels) hasn't moved since i was last there on a federal national holiday twenty years ago. 

back then fighter planes flew over low, as part of the day's patriotic show off. i was so young. i was without son. it's a fickle thing we can't look into the future. who knows. i may head back to tervuren in twenty years time. (and probably get off at maison stoclet this time. i noticed it briefly from the tram window, heading back downtown).

if i'd hoped to trip over inspirational african jewelry at all on this museum viewing, i assure you, i did not. 

the taxidermic elephant and giraffe seemed smaller than i randomly recall. 

the butterflies really spoke to me this time, in fluttering their wings complacently. 

as did the beetles. they smirked even. which made me wonder on how beauty also conspires to a mere impression in the mind, irrevocably leading to personal interpretation. 

loitering from one monumental hall to the next, feeling small for colossal surrounding walls, in term oozing mahogany colonialism, i felt suddenly lost for my own little country, that simply won't settle. 

i really felt/fell. for belgium. today. 


  1. afrika, ben ik toevallig mee bezig! juf van matanja gaat een paar maanden daar naar toe dus ik zei: laten we een reisboekje maken! dus daar ben ik alvast mee begonnen!
    dank je voor je lieve berichtjes!

  2. interesting angle for the giraffe shots... commentary on politics, perhaps? or politicians? i would tend to agree...

  3. You and that giraffe were having so much fun, you silly girl!!
    what an amazing museum....love all the bugs best!

  4. what a wonderful place, maybe i can visit a similar museum in bremen tomorrow. you are all so quick in posting and drawing these days, i feel like a snail...♥♥♥ julia

  5. The beetles are living large? Oh what I would be afraid.

  6. This brings back memories, i went to the museum on a shool trip when i was very young and was impressed. I went back a few years ago, still impressed. The museum did stay the same as it was in my imagination all these years. x

  7. Poor giraffe, poor Belgium...
    But thanks for the visit. Shame on me: I've never been to that museum (though I lived not far from it). And I definitely want to visit the maison Stoclet (...still closed to the public?). Have you ever visited the Villa Empain (http://www.villaempain.com)? Finally one can access to those spectacular "houses" (except me, shame again)...

  8. So that must be a male giraffe then. Fantastic looking museum, reminds me of the Pitt Rivers in Oxford.