Monday 26 September 2011

A poem by the Dutch poet P.C. Boutens


To J. Th. Toorop
after having seen the crayon drawing of the same name

You who the coloured splendour of the East
Exalted in our paler Northern sun,
Until our joy-infatuated eyes
Gleam after gleam once more gained from your eyes;
You who pursued with keenly whetted point
The silent symbol’s tautly vaulting grace,
The blatant power: of gesture hard at work;
That caught the earthly star of childlike face,
Whose rays our quivering emotion saw,
In the sure stroke of pure artistic line, –
You came, oh happy pilgrim, to my land,
My blond-duned Zealand island, as it lies
Forever for me in the mystic gleam
Of all the many suns that this life brings,
Youth and both joy and pain, and once more joy?...
This is the inner country of my dream;
For all horizons shimmer in the gleam
Of summer evening, and the foreground lies
In fleeting shadow of a shower just past
Through which God’s radiant arc bends to the earth:
A young man whets his brightly flashing scythe,
And next him stock-still in the evening light:
A country maid aglow with red as by the dream
In which she lives and cannot comprehend.

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