Thursday, 1 April 2010

A poem by the Dutch poet Menno Wigman

Beneath the asphalt

The heat was moaning like a dog
        and through the full, tall window sunlight
poured onto my Atlas of the World.
        I could find Appelscha and India,
America, New York and Wolvega
        and by the red square dot stood Stork.
The world, we were informed, was round –
        and down, straight down beneath our class
in the protection of the day
        New Zealand lay, where it was night.

That afternoon a zebra crossing was
        the place I stopped and read the asphalt’s cracks.
And underneath it’s dark, I thought,
        and saw two fishermen peer by a lamp.
The moon lit up an open safe.
        A looter buried all his swag .
Somewhere a pallid butcher drifted
        in his blood out of the shop.

What did I know of all night’s shady scenes
        when you were penniless and without friends?
I looked up once again – for all I knew
        for me alone the sun held sway,
born in a village time could not subdue
        in the infinity of May.

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