Friday 21 October 2011

After a back-racking day in the garden, this translation of a poem by the Dutch writer Ida Gerhardt


Labor improbus

I am a gardener, nothing more,
with earth and muck bespattered sore;
I stretch up tall, I bend down low
I tightly clasp my spade and hoe.

I weed, observe my deepest law
when planting seedlings frail and raw:
I bend down low, I stretch up tall.
A gardener am I, that is all.

I go home stiffly in the shade,
pain racks both groin and shoulder blade.
I still keep watch when rest I may.
My land, my land: brief is the day.

Prepare for me a wedge of ground,
forget where I lie safe and sound.
Past trouble, need and pain must be
a garden strewn with stars for me.

To see the original poem, go to here

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