Thursday, 1 January 2015

A late sonnet by the Dutch poet P.C. Boutens (1870-1943)


The darkening tide of time has stripped us down –
Bared to the heart, the very soul, we stand
Truly inviolate, alone and grand,
Stark winter trees with rigid antler-crown...

The more our blossom blazed into the sky,
The deeper strove our roots through sand and earth:
For us who, free from care, face spring or death,
The wraithlike shadows of the world swirl by...

And still our first-known spring and all its dreaming
Holds charmed our quiet inner life with meaning...
And then infinity bursts into light...

Our eyes in exultation gain the timeless
Transcending vision of those blessed with blindness,
For whom, though earthbound, God came into sight.

First published in the periodical Helikon 1938, p.49; subsequently published in Boutens’ final collection Tusschenspelen (Interludes, 1942).

1 comment:

John Irons said...

i can't find a version of the original poem on the internet, so have now included it above the translation, which is a slightly revised version of the translation i did back in the 1980s.