Tuesday, 10 November 2009

P.C. Boutens - a neglected Dutch poet


Through the approaching evening shade
Blazes a pear-tree, blossom-white,
Transfigured in its flaring light,
A tree no more, remade

A vessel, whose ethereal shroud
And hood is sequin-cloaked
With fiery snow invoked
From banks of fading evening cloud -

Is this a mirror to your eye,
Soul, unconcealed in earthly bliss,
Your soul in rising blossom-mist
As dew descending from on high?

Still earthbound, yet from earth released,
Smile that is blind from tears and joy,
Gaining an entrance to love's ways
Past life and death's extremities...

Calmly, behind the gutting brand,
Does night the keeper hold at heaven's verge
The swarm of star-bees, lost to daytime search,
Cupped in the hivelike shadow of his hand.

For the original poem, plus a German, Swedish and Danish translation with commentaries, go to here.

For more about Boutens' imagery and six poems in translation from different periods of his writing, go to here for the English article, or here for the Dutch article.

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