Thursday, 13 October 2011

A poem by the Dutch writer Jean-Pierre Rawie


My Father’s dying; as I hold his hand,
I feel the bones protruding through his skin.
I search for words – speech has deserted him,
each breath is laboured in this final stand.

So I plump pillows, smooth the crumpled spread
at which a clutching hand now feebly grasps;
remain his child, though centuries should pass,
and as his child am ever in his debt.

The selfsame path we follow one by one,
the selfsame yardstick every time applies;
I sit here on the bed in which he lies

as he beside his father once sat down:
soon he’ll be gone and will have never known
how helplessly I’ve loved him as his son.

For other Rawie translations, go to here and here 

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