Monday, 24 May 2010

Poem by the Dutch poet C.O. Jellema


A slender bird that rarely lets itself
be seen. Just recently it flew between this
house and that next door out of my
chestnut tree into next-door’s tall ash and called
cuckoo. And thus I recognised it.
What he sought there? not roaming over
scattered fields, but all at once
close by. A mocking bird. I would
have liked to call to someone: quick,
a cuckoo, cheated though, my dog
because of it erratically began
to bark away.
                        So with unasked-for
suddenness between two thoughts,
you’re squatting down to weed a flowerbed,
cuckoo rings out oh you what’s new how come
still here, not there already, off, a cry
from inside-out. You straighten up
with trails of catchweed on your hands,
a statue of stock-stillness for a moment
in all of that indifference
of growing, flowering, sunshine – while the dog,
who would be where you were, sleeps
blissfully, outstretched on the warm grass.

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