Monday, 25 November 2013

Bob Hanf

This is a section from a long poem 'Christiaan Philippus' mijmeringen over de nachtzijde van het leven' written by Robert (Bob) Hanf, (1894-1944).

Amsterdam, home-town unmatched,
by the ruling proles, no less,
sponged on, plundered to excess!

Here I’d still have gone on living
though I’d known this in advance.
Here’s my home. For joy and grieving,
fame, and scorn, and dreamt-of chance
(fame and scorn too but mind’s weaving),
all of this you caused to dance
in canals’ reflecting shine,
in the wide, deserted waters
at the quayside. The old houses
in your nights loomed at close quarters
yet seemed strange; and the moon, in-
quisitive, peeked through slim boughs that
softly swayed on trunks, which smoothing
rain now lent a bronze-green tone;
these, like water-gods aligned,
from their element now risen,
stand, in wavering light imprisoned
like dead people turned to stone.

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