Saturday 2 May 2020

Bernlef: 'Handen'


The one and the other hand
Know nothing of each other
The one long gone, the other lived on
Separated by 372 years
I gaze at it, then at my hand that writes

How stroke by stroke he
Laid his hand on his heart
With his fingers almost touched the painted one,
The truth of the weary head resting
On the finely folded lace ruff

The man long gone, his portrait living on
The still hand pointing to the painter’s hand
That came here to a standstill.
I withdraw and lift the hand
From what I’ve thus far written.

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