Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Hassan El Ouazzani

Celebrating the Remains

My dear,
Come closer
So I can see the remains of my youth’s sorrow.
Which of us is the child? Which of us is the old man that I will become?

You
Always
Took shelter
In rhetoric to delay the raid of snow on
Your low voice, and the rest of your small dreams.
Not to leave behind the naughtiness of childhood. To stay as you are. Excessively fond of
What will not be. To open your eyes every morning and find out that you have
Just emerged from a beautiful nightmare.
That you are as you have always been. A wanderer behind the purity of the wind.

I said to the snow, oh, what a poor comparison
It was something other than snow
A desert for example
Alone
You were there

Smuggling the remainder of your purity into the drawers of metaphors.
It was not easy watching the erosion of your brown colour.
It was more difficult gathering the remnants of your childhood
To look down at me from the balcony of your naughty days.

You were
The martyr fallen
So your clamorous silence made it through.

You were
The hero. Celebrating
Your death to stay THE HERO.

Often
We would
Meet. In the hall of our old house. Around the family album.
Close to the books we read together. And at nights we stayed up.

Often
You looked down from the balcony of speech
To thwart my desire to write about something other than
Your own brokenness. And about a horizon clearer
Than your vanity. And about water other than
Your own
Desert.

Back then, I preferred to turn further away.

It would have been better for you
Had you been
Other than what you became.

It would have been better for me
Had I been
Other than what you were.

I am not you.
Is my shadow yours? Is your voice mine?

Who commissioned you, then,
To displace me from a horizon which is not yours
To a homeland
Which is not mine?

O
Old man
Whom I will become

You do not
Trust
Death a lot.
That’s why when it lands on your shoulders
You put aside your tie and your bundle of losses.

You feign a little wisdom
And much cunning.

You do not
Trust
The night. When it falls you light up the remains of your mornings.

Was it
Necessary then
To fight all these wars
To win spoils of vanity?

To feign all this death
To realise at last the purity of life?

To pass into heaven
Through the gate of hell?

Beware
The traps I will lay in your path.
I will bequeath a vain body to you. Fewer dreams. Many losses.

Desolate will your home be. On its door weeds will grow.
From its sides clouds beyond the grasp of your hands will emerge.

I will walk
At your funeral.

On your epitaph I will inscribe your ultimate biography:
‘Here lies Hassan, son of Mohammed son of Ahmed.
The last passerby
Found dead.
Beside him,
A tie and a bundle of losses.’

EEN FEESTJE VOOR WAT OVER IS

Beste vriend
kom dichterbij
om te zien wat van mijn droeve jeugd over is
wie van ons het kind is en wie de oude man die ik zal zijn
 
Jij
beschermde jezelf
steeds met welsprekendheid om de voort kruipende sneeuw
over je bedeesde stem en de resten van je kleine dromen te vertragen
om de onrust van het kind te houden, te blijven wie je was, vol verlangen
naar wat niet zal gebeuren. Om ’s morgens de ogen te openen en te ontdekken
dat je net uit een prachtige nachtmerrie ontwaakte
en dat je bent zoals je was, hollend achter de vrolijke wind
 
Ik zei tegen de sneeuw, oef, wat een flauwe vergelijking
het was iets anders dan sneeuw
woestijn bijvoorbeeld
jij alleen
was daar
 
Jij verstopte de resten van je vrolijkheid in de laden van de beeldspraak
het was niet eenvoudig voor je de neergang van je bruine kleur te zien
maar het was moeilijker de resten van je kindertijd bijeen te rapen
om mij te zien vanaf het balkon van je onrust
 
Jij was
de martelaar. Jij viel opdat
jouw schreeuwende stilte zou doorgaan
 
Jij was
de held. Jij verwelkomde
de dood om held te zijn
 
Vaak
ontmoetten wij
elkaar in de hal van ons oude huis bij het familiealbum
naast de boeken die wij samen lazen, in doorwaakte nachten
 
Vaak
verscheen je op het praatbalkon
om mij te storen in mijn wens over iets anders te schrijven
dan over jouw verdriet, over een zuivere horizon
en niet over jouw stof, over water
en niet over jouw woestijn
jij
 
Dan strompel ik liever ver weg
 
Het zou beter voor je zijn
als je anders was
dan ik ben geworden
 
 
 
Het zou beter voor mij zijn
als ik
anders was
dan jij
 
Ik ben niet jij
is mijn schaduw jouw schaduw, jouw stem de mijne?
 
Wie gaf jou volmacht
om mij van een horizon die niet van jou is
naar een land te brengen
dat niet van mij is?
 
Jij
oude man
die ik zal zijn
 
Jij
vertrouwt
de dood niet al te veel
en daarom leg je, als hij op jouw schouders springt
je stropdas en je pak ellende neer
 
Je verzint een beetje wijsheid
en veel sluwheid
 
Jij
vertrouwt
de nacht niet. Als die invalt
steek je de resten van je morgens aan
 
Was
het nodig
om al deze oorlogen te voeren
om stof buit te maken
 
dat je deze dood verzint
om de glorie van het leven te ontdekken
 
dat je naar de hemel gaat
door de hellepoort
 
Pas op
voor de val die ik voor jou zet
Ik zal jou een lichaam van stof nalaten, met weinig dromen en veel verdriet
 
 
Jouw huis zal verlaten zijn, op jouw deur zal onkruid groeien
uit de zijkanten zullen nevels komen buiten jouw handbereik
 
Ik zal
achter je baar lopen
 
Op je grafsteen zal ik je laatste daden schrijven
“Hier rust Hassan de zoon van Mohamed  de zoon van Ahmed
laatstelijk overleden
hij werd dood gevonden
met naast zich
een stropdas en een pak ellende”.

Close

Celebrating the Remains

My dear,
Come closer
So I can see the remains of my youth’s sorrow.
Which of us is the child? Which of us is the old man that I will become?

You
Always
Took shelter
In rhetoric to delay the raid of snow on
Your low voice, and the rest of your small dreams.
Not to leave behind the naughtiness of childhood. To stay as you are. Excessively fond of
What will not be. To open your eyes every morning and find out that you have
Just emerged from a beautiful nightmare.
That you are as you have always been. A wanderer behind the purity of the wind.

I said to the snow, oh, what a poor comparison
It was something other than snow
A desert for example
Alone
You were there

Smuggling the remainder of your purity into the drawers of metaphors.
It was not easy watching the erosion of your brown colour.
It was more difficult gathering the remnants of your childhood
To look down at me from the balcony of your naughty days.

You were
The martyr fallen
So your clamorous silence made it through.

You were
The hero. Celebrating
Your death to stay THE HERO.

Often
We would
Meet. In the hall of our old house. Around the family album.
Close to the books we read together. And at nights we stayed up.

Often
You looked down from the balcony of speech
To thwart my desire to write about something other than
Your own brokenness. And about a horizon clearer
Than your vanity. And about water other than
Your own
Desert.

Back then, I preferred to turn further away.

It would have been better for you
Had you been
Other than what you became.

It would have been better for me
Had I been
Other than what you were.

I am not you.
Is my shadow yours? Is your voice mine?

Who commissioned you, then,
To displace me from a horizon which is not yours
To a homeland
Which is not mine?

O
Old man
Whom I will become

You do not
Trust
Death a lot.
That’s why when it lands on your shoulders
You put aside your tie and your bundle of losses.

You feign a little wisdom
And much cunning.

You do not
Trust
The night. When it falls you light up the remains of your mornings.

Was it
Necessary then
To fight all these wars
To win spoils of vanity?

To feign all this death
To realise at last the purity of life?

To pass into heaven
Through the gate of hell?

Beware
The traps I will lay in your path.
I will bequeath a vain body to you. Fewer dreams. Many losses.

Desolate will your home be. On its door weeds will grow.
From its sides clouds beyond the grasp of your hands will emerge.

I will walk
At your funeral.

On your epitaph I will inscribe your ultimate biography:
‘Here lies Hassan, son of Mohammed son of Ahmed.
The last passerby
Found dead.
Beside him,
A tie and a bundle of losses.’

Celebrating the Remains

My dear,
Come closer
So I can see the remains of my youth’s sorrow.
Which of us is the child? Which of us is the old man that I will become?

You
Always
Took shelter
In rhetoric to delay the raid of snow on
Your low voice, and the rest of your small dreams.
Not to leave behind the naughtiness of childhood. To stay as you are. Excessively fond of
What will not be. To open your eyes every morning and find out that you have
Just emerged from a beautiful nightmare.
That you are as you have always been. A wanderer behind the purity of the wind.

I said to the snow, oh, what a poor comparison
It was something other than snow
A desert for example
Alone
You were there

Smuggling the remainder of your purity into the drawers of metaphors.
It was not easy watching the erosion of your brown colour.
It was more difficult gathering the remnants of your childhood
To look down at me from the balcony of your naughty days.

You were
The martyr fallen
So your clamorous silence made it through.

You were
The hero. Celebrating
Your death to stay THE HERO.

Often
We would
Meet. In the hall of our old house. Around the family album.
Close to the books we read together. And at nights we stayed up.

Often
You looked down from the balcony of speech
To thwart my desire to write about something other than
Your own brokenness. And about a horizon clearer
Than your vanity. And about water other than
Your own
Desert.

Back then, I preferred to turn further away.

It would have been better for you
Had you been
Other than what you became.

It would have been better for me
Had I been
Other than what you were.

I am not you.
Is my shadow yours? Is your voice mine?

Who commissioned you, then,
To displace me from a horizon which is not yours
To a homeland
Which is not mine?

O
Old man
Whom I will become

You do not
Trust
Death a lot.
That’s why when it lands on your shoulders
You put aside your tie and your bundle of losses.

You feign a little wisdom
And much cunning.

You do not
Trust
The night. When it falls you light up the remains of your mornings.

Was it
Necessary then
To fight all these wars
To win spoils of vanity?

To feign all this death
To realise at last the purity of life?

To pass into heaven
Through the gate of hell?

Beware
The traps I will lay in your path.
I will bequeath a vain body to you. Fewer dreams. Many losses.

Desolate will your home be. On its door weeds will grow.
From its sides clouds beyond the grasp of your hands will emerge.

I will walk
At your funeral.

On your epitaph I will inscribe your ultimate biography:
‘Here lies Hassan, son of Mohammed son of Ahmed.
The last passerby
Found dead.
Beside him,
A tie and a bundle of losses.’
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Prins Bernhard cultuurfonds
Lira fonds
Partners
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