Van Loon A Song for the late Hendrik Willem van Loon I daresay Van Loon was a man whose destiny should have been working hard Albeit his shoulders and his intelligence could not bear all that; He seemed to have been kiss?d by his lucky star When he had to go away; He?s never gone down into history, we know, But it?s easy to be wise after the event But nobody has ever ask?d an eagle Or a mouse to make a choice; Then, one certain day marks one?s future Or a war breaks the glass like a stone... But I?ve seen mice roaring sometimes And other times eagles falling down. How many years we?ve to live together with somebody, day after day, To understand what he?s got in his mind, what he wants or who he is, Explorers of void, of anybody Who?s not I or myself; Van Loon was alive, yet I believed he was dead Or worse than ever, useless owing to the distance Between his many myths and the proudness of my youth days And my ignorance; I didn?t know how much he had been sailing O?er the foamy main like Sebastian Cabot And that a whalefish had been becoming Day after day a sweetwater fish... Van Loon, Van Loon Tell me what is your burden when your mind Keeps quiet and finally lets you be, Do you cherish a shadow, or is peace Inside you? I?d like to know What are you seeing when you look around, Are they distant sights or are you pleas?d With this daylight like a new gift To you? Van Loon, Van Loon What are you thinking in the september mist Sketching here and there the Appennines Now that you have so much time for thinking, But of what? Go, old man, go Anybody?s his own reasons, don?t be afraid, And his own rights to do anything Even tho? we?ll never know what... Now Van Loon?s preparing his last journey He?s already packed like any far-seeing man, The usual luggage of any simple or wise man So very little, or nothing He?ll really go down to his own place or his own history With all the books that he could not write in his life And with old friends long lost in his memories, With infinite To an everlasting summer, be it even on our mountains, But, if he wants, even to that untroubled winter When the frozen snow crunched under his hobnailed Boots, when he was eighteen.