Category Archives: Poetry

Epiloog

Vergeet het jaar dat u weemoedig maakt,
Vergeet het jaartal dat u heeft doen beven,
Vergeet de helden die voor ’t voetlicht sneven,
Vergeet het ziekbed waar gij hebt gewaakt.

Niets is er dat niet in ’t vergeetboek raakt,
Waar zichtbaar slechts het jaar staat opgeschreven
Waarin wij fel en onnadenkend leven,
Zodat men opgelucht het blaad’ren staakt.

Maar and’ren willen, dat men ’t jaar omarmt
Als een geliefde van wie men gescheiden
Ter lange loutering door ’t noodlot is.

En wie zich zó over het jaar erbarmt
Vergeet zijn angst en zijn bekommernis
En vindt een goudmijn in de nacht der tijden.

Simon Vestdijk

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Polonaise

Ik zag Cecilia komen
op een zomernacht
twee oren om te horen
twee ogen om te zien
twee handen om te grijpen
en verre vingers tien
Ik zag Cecilia komen
op een zomernacht
aan haar rechterhand is Hansje
aan haar linkerhand is Grietje
Hansje heeft een rozekransje
Grietje een vergeet-mij-nietje
de menseëter heeft ze niet gegeten
ik heb ze niet vergeten
ei ei ik en gij
de ezel speelt schalmei
voor Hansje en voor Grietje
Hansje met zijn rozekransje
Grietje met haar vergeet-mij-nietje
zijn langs de sterren gegaan
Venus is van koper
de andere zijn goedkoper
de andere zijn van blik
en van safraan
is Janneke-maan
Twee oren om te horen
twee ogen om te zien
Twee handen in het lege
en verre vingers tien

Paul van Ostaijen

Fairy-Tale Logic

Fairy-tale Logic

Fairy tales are full of impossible tasks:
Gather the chin hairs of a man-eating goat,
Or cross a sulphuric lake in a leaky boat,
Select the prince from a row of identical masks,
Tiptoe up to a dragon where it basks
And snatch its bone; count dust specks, mote by mote,
Or learn the phone directory by rote.
Always it’s impossible what someone asks –

You have to fight magic with magic. You have to believe
That you have something impossible up your sleeve,
The language of snakes, perhaps, an invisible cloak,
An army of ants at your beck, or a lethal joke,
The will to do whatever must be done:
Marry a monster. Hand over your firstborn son.

A.E. Stallings

The Power of the Dog

“The Power of the Dog”

THERE is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie –
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find – it’s your own affair –
But… you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!).
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone – wherever it goes – for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we’ve kept ’em, the more do we grieve:
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long –
So why in – Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

Rudyard Kipling

One Art

One Art

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

– Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Elizabeth Bishop

Do not go gentle into that good night

Do not go gentle into that good night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas

Antigonish

Antigonish

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there.
He wasn’t there again today,
I wish, I wish he’d go away…

When I came home last night at three,
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall,
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door…

Last night I saw upon the stair,
A little man who wasn’t there,
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away…

Hughes Mearns

De Ceder

De ceder

Ik heb een ceder in mijn tuin geplant,
gij kunt het zien, gij schijnt het niet te willen.
Een binnenplaats meesmuilt ge, sintels, schillen,
en schimmel die een blinde muur aanrandt,
er is geen boom, alleen een grauwe wand.
Hij is er, zeg ik en mijn stem gaat trillen,
Ik heb een ceder in mijn tuin geplant,
gij kunt hem zien, gij schijnt het niet te willen.

Ik wijs naar buiten, waar zijn ranke, prille
stam in het herfstlicht staat, onaangerand,
niet te benaderen voor noodlots grillen,
geen macht ter wereld kan het droombeeld drillen.
Ik heb een ceder in mijn tuin geplant.

Han G. Hoekstra

If

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling