Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Poem by the Dutch writer René Puthaar


(after Mallarmé's 'Brise Marine')

The sailors are silent. Only the heart sings now.
Beneath the keel the deep reef calls, the mast is tall,
A zephyr softly strokes the ship’s deck and its prow;
No seaman’s grave is once more promised by some gale.
By hope so sorely vexed all human senses grow
Contrary now the flag flies from the harbour wall.

Farewell, exotic nature. Lower your anchor,
Steamer, homecoming draws near. See the people wave.
Nothing about the mother and her child has altered,
Nothing still guards from stories the empty page
When morning light pronounces doom on loneliness
And, capable of all questions, pulls up more weeds.
Waylaid the heart fast plummets, but with steely face.
Between the so familiar foam and sky I see
Birds, foolhardy, drunk, though almost home. Home ahead!
The flesh is sad, alas! and all the books are read.

(To see the original poem and Arthur Symon's translation, go to here)

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