Tuesday, 17 November 2009

The Dutch poet J.C. Bloem - two famous poems


It’s raining and it is November:
Autumn lays siege now to the heart
That sadly, though more wont than ever,
Endures its secret pains apart.

And in the room, where resignation
Sees daily life pass as it may,
From streets that speak of desolation
A bleak light falls at close of day.

The years pass by but never alter,
The difference will soon be gone
Between dim memories that falter
And what is lived and is to come.

Lost are the ways I knew of gaining
Release from time in earlier days;
Always November, always raining,
Always this empty heart, always.



Nature is for the blank or satisfied.
And then: what can we boast of naturewise?
A stretch of woodland, postage stamp in size,
A hill with some small houses on the side.

Give me the town roads with their greyish cast,
The harbour quays of interlocking stone
The clouds whose beauty cannot be outdone
When, skylight-framed, they all go drifting past.

Everything’s much if much is not expected.
Life hides its miracles till, without warning,
They’re suddenly displayed in all their art.

This on my own I thought I had detected,
Rain-sodden, on a drab and drizzly morning,
Just downright happy, in the Dapperstraat.

For more poems by Bloem go to here.

For a workshop account of the translation process
of 'November' go to here.


Thi said...

Dear John,

I am the editor for the Amsterdo publication, a small, freely distributed english written paper on all things Amsterdam and would like to publish your translation of the Dapperstraat poem. Please contact me as soon as possible with your permission. Thank You

John Irons said...

dear thi,

you are welcome to use the translation - just check that it is exactly as in the blog!



bernard said...

hi john,

thanks for your great translation of November. i've discussed it here, as a way of close-reading the poem:


John Irons said...

many thanks, bernard. what you write makes interesting reading. i wondered why there was a sudden upsurge of interest until i checked the date.
willem jan otten has a beautiful november poem - on the blog 13.08.12.