Poetry International Poetry International

A RESTRAINED SILENCE

May 11, 2020
In our daily reality, waiting is not a strange phenomenon. Many hours are spent waiting, often with a certain purpose. Waiting for the moment you are reunited with your loved one, for the working day to be over, for the game to begin, for when you can finally leave and be home again soon.
But now, during this full or partial ‘lockdown’, to some extent we feel that we are waiting all of the time, that waiting has become part of our nature. This feeling of the inevitability of waiting intrudes on us because we are unsure what it is we’re waiting for. Until everything returns to normal? What then is normal, what are the consequences of this time and the memories that are made during and about the lockdown? Until the virus has left the world, but is that even possible? Until the ‘society of six feet’ becomes a society of inches once again? Is waiting not mainly an inner, restrained silence, a bated breath, in which the emptiness of the world is conceivable and felt? There we are, turned inward, imagining movement returning to our lives. And it will, thus are the laws of life. And, to quote Flemish poet Peter Verhelst: only he who can live, can wait.


Waiting, being part of a restrained silence… Poetry has always proved itself sensitive  to this aspect of reality. Now then, a journey through a restrained silence in 22 poems from the Poetry International Archives. 
© Jan Baeke
Translator: Fleur Jeras
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
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