ROOM WITH A VIEW   (©Words and Music by Paul F. Cowlan)

Next time you’re in Amsterdam search out the ‘Himalaya’ bookshop-café, buy a politically correct fruit tea and a slice of ideologically-sound chocolate cake, take a window-seat overlooking the canal and tourist-boats by Central Station, and I’ll be surprised if you don’t see this mysterious figure for yourself.


There’s a figure in a window,
high up and gazing to the street;
in a garret with his back to the sky and the city at his feet.
No-one’s ever seen him move or even glance away.
Above the crowds in Amsterdam, with never a word to say.

Cobbled lanes and café tables,
bridges where the boats go by,
open market stalls and winding canals, where starlings fill the sky.
But standing there behind the glass, he’s seen it all before;
sun and snow and wind and rain, so what is he waiting for?

While the sun shines down on the lost and on the found;
wondering where they’re going, wondering where they’ve been,
burning up like paper in a flame.


Every year I look to see him,
and every year he’s just the same;
silhouetted by the window alone, a stranger without a name.
Sometimes I think that I should ring the bell and ask to climb the stair;

but then I wonder what would I do if he’s not really there!