Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Jacques Roubaud

THAT THE WORLD WAS THERE

Falling asleep I saw the world was there,
the world and all that follows from it;
“now” smaller than a point
behind immense and serious colours.
buzzing years come back from afar,
angle of street and street,
traces washed off by rain,
yellow stuff gathered in my hand.

In falling asleep I saw all this:
the warm ellipse of the well,
the earth where leaves have no more weight,
the water, level, median, in balance.

I saw, falling asleep, I saw
what I had welcomed now for years
but what my memory did not know:
entire years with truth,
that is, if you insist, with death.

I did and did not want to see, falling asleep,
what I had seen too many times.

DAT DE WERELD ER WAS

Toen ik insliep zag ik dat de wereld er was,
de wereld en alles wat eruit volgt;
een ‘nu’, kleiner dan een punt
achter onmetelijke, ernstige kleuren.
gonzende jaren, van ver teruggekeerd
hoek van de straat met de straat,
sporen, uitgewist onder de regen
geel stof, opgevangen in mijn hand.

Toen ik insliep zag ik dat allemaal:
de gloed en de ellips van de waterput,
de aarde, en haar gewichtloze bladeren,
het juiste, middelste water, evenwichtszoekend.

Ik zag, toen ik insliep, ik zag
wat ik gedurende jaren had opgestapeld
in mijn herinnering zonder het te beseffen:
hele jaren, gevuld met waarheid,
dat wil zeggen, als je wilt, met dood.

Ik wilde, en ik wilde niet, toen ik insliep,
zien wat ik al te vaak had gezien.

Que le monde était là

M’endormant je voyais que le monde était là,
le monde et tout ce qui s’ensuit ;
‘maintenant’ plus petit qu’un point
derrière les couleurs immenses et sérieuses.
bourdonnantes années revenues de loin,
angle de la rue avec la rue,
effacées traces sous de la pluie,
jaune matériel rassemblé dans la main.

En m’endormant je voyais tout cela :
la chaleur et l’ellipse du puits,
la terre, où les feuilles n’ont plus de poids,
l’eau juste et médiane, qui balance.

Je voyais, m’endormant, je voyais cela
que j’avais accueilli en des années
que je ne savais pas dans mon souvenir :
années entières, avec vérité,
c’est-à-dire, si on veut, avec mort.

Je voulais, et je ne voulais pas, m’endormant,
Voir ce que trop de fois j’avais vu.
Close

THAT THE WORLD WAS THERE

Falling asleep I saw the world was there,
the world and all that follows from it;
“now” smaller than a point
behind immense and serious colours.
buzzing years come back from afar,
angle of street and street,
traces washed off by rain,
yellow stuff gathered in my hand.

In falling asleep I saw all this:
the warm ellipse of the well,
the earth where leaves have no more weight,
the water, level, median, in balance.

I saw, falling asleep, I saw
what I had welcomed now for years
but what my memory did not know:
entire years with truth,
that is, if you insist, with death.

I did and did not want to see, falling asleep,
what I had seen too many times.

THAT THE WORLD WAS THERE

Falling asleep I saw the world was there,
the world and all that follows from it;
“now” smaller than a point
behind immense and serious colours.
buzzing years come back from afar,
angle of street and street,
traces washed off by rain,
yellow stuff gathered in my hand.

In falling asleep I saw all this:
the warm ellipse of the well,
the earth where leaves have no more weight,
the water, level, median, in balance.

I saw, falling asleep, I saw
what I had welcomed now for years
but what my memory did not know:
entire years with truth,
that is, if you insist, with death.

I did and did not want to see, falling asleep,
what I had seen too many times.
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Prins Bernhard cultuurfonds
Lira fonds
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère