Saturday, 18 July 2020

P.C. Boutens: 'Mysterieuze bloemelamp der maan'

Boutens' collection Sonnetten (1920) contained 64 sonnets, but all of them had been first published much earlier in periodicals (1899-1905), and in a very restricted number of copies as Verzamelde Sonnetten, in 1907. One poem which only appeared in periodical form is a fine example of his use of imagery - it appeared only in De Gids 1899, IV:


Mysterieuze bloemelamp der maan,
Zilveren iris, die de oneindigheid
Der nachten bevend tegen openspreidt
Uw hart zoo licht van liefde niet verstaan, - 

De ruimte is vol van uw helle eenzaamheid,
En blind verlangen vliedt in lichte laan
Tot zon, uw bruigom, in wien te vergaan,
Bleek beeld in ‘t blauw, uw bidden bloeien beidt...

Zoo bloeien zielen in den stillen nacht
Tot zilvren kelken uit haar zwaarrood goud,
Totdat heur duister blank van bloesem staat,
Witte verrukking, die zon tegensmacht,
Maar, rasse rijp, voor liefdes dag vergaat,
Als al wat teêr en godlijk is en koud.


Mysterious flower-lantern of the moon,
A silver iris, opening quiveringly
Your heart towards the nights’ infinity
A heart so light with love perceived by none, - 

All space is filled by your lone clarity,
And blind desire, whose fleeing, gleaming rays run
To the sun, your bridegroom, absorbed by whom
Your blossom, sky-pale image, waits to be...

Thus do souls blossom in the silent night
To silver calices from crimson gold,
Until their dark is held in blossom’s sway,
White rapture, yearning for the sun’s clear light,
But, ripe too soon, they fade before love’s day
Like all that’s delicate, divine and cold.

For more information about Boutens' imagery and examples of poems in English translation from various periods of his production, go to here

No comments: