Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Miriam Van hee

FILM

1

there was a film once that I didn’t understand
until I saw the end after I’d floated for hours
in a dark, colourless space
and had listened to conversations about emptiness,
truth, the isolation of nations

then the cameraman came to a house
with a garden round it, a swing, a cat
in the grass, oak trees and larches as I recall,
a fine web of light in the forest, and green,
I can still picture it now, green was the end

after all the grey and the black and the white,
green was invented, a miracle
of transience, short-lived and speechless


2

we had missed the boat to the island
the road didn’t correspond with the map,
we passed the empty holiday homes
on the wrong side of the brook
there was a chorus of birds high up in the trees
it was a dizzying spring

suddenly before our eyes a steppe
unfolded, a kind of azeri plain
that foreshadowed the sea, a long stretch of land,
something in the distance moved, a horse,
slowly a blanket of clouds approached,
was this the end already or the beginning

our eyes looked for a second horse
and found it, reclining, quite
close to the first, a small, dark
spot in time and we decided to wait
until this second one too moved its tail
in the soft, lingering light of the day

 
3

slowly the guests move up the slope
we watch them and see with the same eyes
the gorge in which the sun had disappeared
we hear their voices, now they get into their cars,
we hear the car doors, we remain
standing on the edge of the night that
stretches out endlessly like dark blue water

now they switch on lights, they depart and nothing
suggests big changes, the trees are rustling
softly, now and then an owl hoots in the distance

there is no end and no beginning
we don’t dissolve, we cannot hide
we hear how somewhere, nearby, a cricket
begins its song, first falteringly, then bravely
and unruffled, we do not find it
but we search, we search

FILM

FILM

1

ooit was er een film die ik niet begreep
tot ik het einde zag nadat ik uren had
rondgezweefd in een duistere, kleurloze ruimte
en naar gesprekken geluisterd over leegte,
waarheid, vereenzaming onder de volkeren

toen kwam de cameraman bij een huis
met een tuin eromheen, een schommel, een kat
in het gras, eiken en lorken herinner ik me,
een spinsel van licht in het bos, en groen,
ik zie het nog voor me, groen was het einde

na al het grijs en het zwart en het wit
werd het groen uitgevonden, een wonder
van sterfelijkheid, kortstondig en sprakeloos


2

we hadden de boot naar het eiland gemist
de weg kwam niet met de kaart overeen,
we passeerden de lege vakantieverblijven
aan de verkeerde kant van de beek
het galmde van vogels hoog in de bomen
het was een duizelig makende lente

plots ontvouwde zich voor onze ogen
een steppe, een soort azerische vlakte
die op de zee vooruitliep, een lengte,
iets in de verte bewoog, een paard,
traag kwam een wolkendek nader,
was dit het einde al of het begin

onze ogen zochten een tweede paard
en vonden het, liggend, betrekkelijk
dicht bij het eerste, een kleine, donkere
vlek in de tijd en we besloten te wachten
tot ook het tweede zijn staart bewoog
in het zachte, talmende licht van de dag


3

traag gaan de gasten de helling op
wij kijken hen na en zien met dezelfde ogen
de kloof waar eerder de zon in verdween
wij horen hun stemmen, nu stappen zij in,
wij horen de autoportieren, wij blijven
staan aan de rand van de nacht die zich
eindeloos uitstrekt als donkerblauw water

nu steken zij lichten aan, zij vertrekken en niets
wijst op grote veranderingen, zachtjes ruisen
de bomen, af en toe roept in de verte een uil

er is geen einde en geen begin
wij lossen niet op, wij kunnen niet schuilen
wij horen hoe ergens, dichtbij, een krekel
begint met zijn lied, haperend eerst, dan dapper
en onverstoord, we vinden hem niet
maar we zoeken, we zoeken
Close

FILM

1

there was a film once that I didn’t understand
until I saw the end after I’d floated for hours
in a dark, colourless space
and had listened to conversations about emptiness,
truth, the isolation of nations

then the cameraman came to a house
with a garden round it, a swing, a cat
in the grass, oak trees and larches as I recall,
a fine web of light in the forest, and green,
I can still picture it now, green was the end

after all the grey and the black and the white,
green was invented, a miracle
of transience, short-lived and speechless


2

we had missed the boat to the island
the road didn’t correspond with the map,
we passed the empty holiday homes
on the wrong side of the brook
there was a chorus of birds high up in the trees
it was a dizzying spring

suddenly before our eyes a steppe
unfolded, a kind of azeri plain
that foreshadowed the sea, a long stretch of land,
something in the distance moved, a horse,
slowly a blanket of clouds approached,
was this the end already or the beginning

our eyes looked for a second horse
and found it, reclining, quite
close to the first, a small, dark
spot in time and we decided to wait
until this second one too moved its tail
in the soft, lingering light of the day

 
3

slowly the guests move up the slope
we watch them and see with the same eyes
the gorge in which the sun had disappeared
we hear their voices, now they get into their cars,
we hear the car doors, we remain
standing on the edge of the night that
stretches out endlessly like dark blue water

now they switch on lights, they depart and nothing
suggests big changes, the trees are rustling
softly, now and then an owl hoots in the distance

there is no end and no beginning
we don’t dissolve, we cannot hide
we hear how somewhere, nearby, a cricket
begins its song, first falteringly, then bravely
and unruffled, we do not find it
but we search, we search

FILM

1

there was a film once that I didn’t understand
until I saw the end after I’d floated for hours
in a dark, colourless space
and had listened to conversations about emptiness,
truth, the isolation of nations

then the cameraman came to a house
with a garden round it, a swing, a cat
in the grass, oak trees and larches as I recall,
a fine web of light in the forest, and green,
I can still picture it now, green was the end

after all the grey and the black and the white,
green was invented, a miracle
of transience, short-lived and speechless


2

we had missed the boat to the island
the road didn’t correspond with the map,
we passed the empty holiday homes
on the wrong side of the brook
there was a chorus of birds high up in the trees
it was a dizzying spring

suddenly before our eyes a steppe
unfolded, a kind of azeri plain
that foreshadowed the sea, a long stretch of land,
something in the distance moved, a horse,
slowly a blanket of clouds approached,
was this the end already or the beginning

our eyes looked for a second horse
and found it, reclining, quite
close to the first, a small, dark
spot in time and we decided to wait
until this second one too moved its tail
in the soft, lingering light of the day

 
3

slowly the guests move up the slope
we watch them and see with the same eyes
the gorge in which the sun had disappeared
we hear their voices, now they get into their cars,
we hear the car doors, we remain
standing on the edge of the night that
stretches out endlessly like dark blue water

now they switch on lights, they depart and nothing
suggests big changes, the trees are rustling
softly, now and then an owl hoots in the distance

there is no end and no beginning
we don’t dissolve, we cannot hide
we hear how somewhere, nearby, a cricket
begins its song, first falteringly, then bravely
and unruffled, we do not find it
but we search, we search
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère