Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

William Cliff

THE NANTES TRAM

the people smoke the people drink something distilled
the people swallow coffee the people eat quantities of meat
they eat the flesh of animals they’ve killed
the people talk while they eat they stand with their weight on one foot
as they swig their wine the people make babies
while they sleep the people put their bodies together
the people pair up the people without realizing it
in putting their bodies together the people make each other fruitful
and like all the animals in creation
the people reproduce themselves the people enjoy liberation
from their anxieties by propagation

and then when they walk on the pavements of the city
the people smoke again as they wait for the tram
since for the people the tram doesn’t come very fast
the people rush onto the tram when it comes at last
and then the tram starts off again as it had come
other people are going to await the coming of the tram
which is going to take them where they want to go
the Nantes tram takes them outside the city
to breathe the air of the birds the people go away
on the Nantes tram to the fresh forests
to refresh their rightful needs

later on the tram the people re-enter Nantes
where they will re-smoke the people will eat meat
and they will re-speak the people will drink wine
they will swallow coffee and after that they
will catch the tram in order to go away
to breathe the air of the birds that chant to Nantes
in full-throated triumph the Immense Existence

DE TRAM VAN NANTES

de mensen roken de mensen nemen een kop koffie
de mensen drinken de mensen eten heel veel vlees
ze eten het vlees van de beesten die ze hebben geslacht
de mensen praten onder het eten de mensen komen los
als ze er eentje nemen de mensen maken kinderen
terwijl ze slapen leggen de mensen hun lijven naast elkaar
de mensen paren de mensen bevruchten elkaar ongemerkt
door hun lijven ’s nachts met elkaar te verstrengelen
en zoals alle dieren hier op deze aarde
vermenigvuldigen de mensen zich de mensen bevrijden
zichzelf van hun angst door kinderen te verwekken

en dan als ze door de straten van de stad rondlopen
roken de mensen nog steeds terwijl ze wachten op de tram
want voor de mensen komt de tram niet snel genoeg
bij het instappen verdringen de mensen elkaar
en dan vertrekt de tram zoals hij was gekomen
terwijl weer andere mensen gaan staan wachten op de tram
die hen daarheen zal brengen waar de mensen heen willen
de tram van Nantes brengt hen buiten de stad
om de lucht van de vogeltjes op te snuiven de mensen
gaan met de tram van Nantes naar de vruchtbare bossen
om hun gewettigde behoeften te verkwikken met natuur

vervolgens gaan de mensen met de tram terug naar Nantes
waar ze weer zullen roken weer vlees zullen eten
weer zullen praten weer wijn zullen drinken
ze zullen een kop koffie nemen de mensen begeven
zich dan naar de tram om een luchtje te scheppen
de lucht van de vogeltjes die zingen in Nantes
luidkeels jubelend over het Grootse Bestaan

LE TRAM DE NANTES

les gens fument les gens absorbent du café
les gens boivent les gens mangent beaucoup de viande
ils mangent la chair des bêtes qu’ils ont tuées
les gens en mangeant parlent les gens se déhanchent
en s’envoyant du vin les gens font des enfants
pendant qu’ils dorment les gens rapprochent leurs corps
les gens s’accouplent les gens sans s’en rendre compte
en rapprochant leurs corps les gens s’entrefécondent
et comme tous les animaux sur cette terre
les gens se reproduisent les gens se libèrent
de leurs angoisses en engendrant des enfants

et puis quand ils vont sur les trottoirs de la ville
les gens fument encore en attendant le tram
car le tram pour les gens ne vient pas assez vite
les gens en entrant dans le tram se précipitent
et puis le tram repart comme il était venu
d’autres gens vont attendre la venue du tram
qui va les emporter où ils veulent aller
le tram de Nantes les emporte hors de la ville
pour respirer l’air des oiseaux les gens s’en vont
avec le tram de Nantes dans les bois fertiles
pour refertiliser leurs besoins légitimes

ensuite avec le tram les gens rentrent dans Nantes
où ils refumeront les gens prendront des viandes
et ils reparleront les gens boiront du vin
ils absorberont du café les gens alors
iront chercher le tram afin d’aller dehors
respirer l’air des oiseaux qui chantent à Nantes
à gorge triomphante l’Existence Immense
Close

THE NANTES TRAM

the people smoke the people drink something distilled
the people swallow coffee the people eat quantities of meat
they eat the flesh of animals they’ve killed
the people talk while they eat they stand with their weight on one foot
as they swig their wine the people make babies
while they sleep the people put their bodies together
the people pair up the people without realizing it
in putting their bodies together the people make each other fruitful
and like all the animals in creation
the people reproduce themselves the people enjoy liberation
from their anxieties by propagation

and then when they walk on the pavements of the city
the people smoke again as they wait for the tram
since for the people the tram doesn’t come very fast
the people rush onto the tram when it comes at last
and then the tram starts off again as it had come
other people are going to await the coming of the tram
which is going to take them where they want to go
the Nantes tram takes them outside the city
to breathe the air of the birds the people go away
on the Nantes tram to the fresh forests
to refresh their rightful needs

later on the tram the people re-enter Nantes
where they will re-smoke the people will eat meat
and they will re-speak the people will drink wine
they will swallow coffee and after that they
will catch the tram in order to go away
to breathe the air of the birds that chant to Nantes
in full-throated triumph the Immense Existence

THE NANTES TRAM

the people smoke the people drink something distilled
the people swallow coffee the people eat quantities of meat
they eat the flesh of animals they’ve killed
the people talk while they eat they stand with their weight on one foot
as they swig their wine the people make babies
while they sleep the people put their bodies together
the people pair up the people without realizing it
in putting their bodies together the people make each other fruitful
and like all the animals in creation
the people reproduce themselves the people enjoy liberation
from their anxieties by propagation

and then when they walk on the pavements of the city
the people smoke again as they wait for the tram
since for the people the tram doesn’t come very fast
the people rush onto the tram when it comes at last
and then the tram starts off again as it had come
other people are going to await the coming of the tram
which is going to take them where they want to go
the Nantes tram takes them outside the city
to breathe the air of the birds the people go away
on the Nantes tram to the fresh forests
to refresh their rightful needs

later on the tram the people re-enter Nantes
where they will re-smoke the people will eat meat
and they will re-speak the people will drink wine
they will swallow coffee and after that they
will catch the tram in order to go away
to breathe the air of the birds that chant to Nantes
in full-throated triumph the Immense Existence
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère