Friday, 18 March 2016

'Alles terruggevonden/Niets bewaard' by Bernlef

They perished on Vitön, Fraenkel
and Andrée, side by side in their tent

With an aluminium cup, a primus
some roubles, dollars, an empty bottle

33 years later (a reconstruction) they still lie there
snowed-in and huddled close together

The primus is ready for use
for a scalding-hot mug of coffee or tea

But every gesture’s completely gone
I stare at a photo of a heap of stones

Nils Strindberg’s grave, the tent 35 metres away
80 years or so ago, now hangs behind glass

I think of his finger and then of the shutter

One of a cycle of poems 'Alles teruggevonden/Niets bewaard' about a doomed
balloon expedition by Bernlef. To see the whole cycle go to here

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