Saturday, 19 December 2009

A poem by the Dutch poet Rutger Kopland

Die Kunst der Fuge


So do thoughts roam, in their roaming repeating
like mountain-meadow streams, always somehow different,

always somehow the same, all of them longing
for something, a somewhere, elsewhere a memory

searching towards. And their longing is only
the force of water, their memory only

banks of rivers, somewhere, elsewhere they are the sea.


The space of a wood of tall beeches in winter,
from whose tops there is falling, again and again,

repeating this movement from this once to later,
as long as that falling continues, leaf after leaf after

Their memory is only this space, and only
this falling their longing, this merging amongst

all the others, this unretrievably being all over.


The swarms of birds above the valley, the fleeting
moments of belonging together and falling apart.

all that repeating, where there is searching for that
one movement where memory and longing

disappear into each other, the finding of those moments,
and the losing. What binds them and drives them apart

are the cold, wind, grey roofs in the depths.


And high in the rare winter air footprints in the snow,
a man and a woman who came this way, here

- prints were the only thing left of them, a pair of tracks
thin, twining tracks on the roam, memory

and longing, both of them, but of what and to where -
here where we are, only us, and the snow,

snow where no print has been set.


There is roaming, merging, falling apart, disappearing
and all this repeated, as if time and again there is something

that has to be sought, found, lost, sought,
as if time and again something must, must be something

before disappearing and after.

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