Friday, 1 April 2011

A typical tour de force by the Dutch poet Gerrit Komrij

Villanelle for the Dutch East India Company

Always keep eldorados within sight.
Yet sail, on profit bent, with each high tide:
Not all trade missions mean financial plight.

In foreign climes they often did alight
In search of pepper, nutmeg, plucked and dried.
Always keep eldorados within sight.

Debit and credit was their chief delight,
Although sweet dreams as stowaways did hide.
Not all trade missions mean financial plight.

They killed, as many bandits uncontrite
Who in the far East saw a new-decked bride.
Always keep eldorados within sight.

Rounding the Cape, their salty shanty’s flight
Was spiked with a new sound, as yet untried.
Not all trade missions mean financial plight.

They sailed weighed down with lead and dynamite
Yet in a magic boat did homeward glide.
Always keep eldorados within sight.
Not all trade missions mean financial plight.


The poem of the day in 'Dagkalender voor de po√ęzie 2011' is Komrij's poem 'Atlas' from 'The Ox on the Bell-Tower'. For a parallel text of this poem and the entire cycle go to here
 

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