Thursday 13 May 2021

Anneke Brassinga: 'De goede afloop'




What on earth are we doing here, we do not

ask ourselves as long as the jigging of tunes

keeps coming from the speaker cabinets, hanging

invisible in the trees, and we go on thinking

that it’s birds there twittering away—


What are we doing here? Just feel first if

our feet are warm enough and their knobbles

bearably painful, then take a good listen

to the gentle bubbling in the deep recesses of

our gut, old soothsayer that lets us know


if we’re once more dying of hunger if not

thirst, there’s no way of knowing otherwise

and please let it not go awry in the

here, the silting up, the woody sand-drift

where the lemonade stalls one after the other


appear to be mirages, if, panting, you thought

you were there— in the here where you walk and,

since you constantly cannot refrain from once more

looking back to see where you have come from,

keep on stumbling over tree stumps,


getting grazed by the rough bark of oaks

and scratched by rust- or blood-red barbed wire,

remains of civilisation. And the more you turn

your head, slogging on, at the magnificent

sunrise motionless at your back above the distant


trees that rustle inaudibly, the more you

know: that waking with the freshness of Tahitian limes,

that paradise-like first bite of tropical

delight in a covering of milk chocolate—

the blindingly pristine does not return.


What are we doing here? What we are not doing

is taking heed. Or is the abyss invisible, or

is there no abyss until you fall into it,

shoot along a smooth rock wall? It happens

swiftly. In the grass by the stream at the bottom


God waits, cheerful as a mother who all that

time has stayed at home, with a bowl of peanuts,

sherry in the glass. And from beyond the flowering

trees, at last there they come, the missing ones

for whom you unmissable, whom you could not bear to miss.

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