Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Another poem by the Dutch poet Alfred Schaffer

All work and no play

How busy it is on the road, what a strange tune you’ve got
there in your head, in a little while you’ll hear cries of despair,
classical languages. Radio-play sounds without love. Warm love,
palms upright and waving. Many daytrippers, unable

to ask you the way. I should actually draw a map of this
ancient site, with columns and temples on it, that the water
is blue everywhere, the commotion by that water, the litter
left lying on the beach, the empty Ferris wheel. And the desire,

I must learn this terrestrial globe by heart like the clappers
before I stand stuttering before my children’s children, yes, just you
laugh, your father stood his ground the old-fashioned way,

he photographed almost the entire war. But that was
before stupidity arrived. Strange, that I always want to speak to you
in the past tense – your father would have found it splendid here.

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