Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Herman Gorter

I once sat quietly and read

*


I once sat quietly and read,
the books were like tombs for the dead
before me, I knew just what
was in each plot.

My body sat there inside,
tree branches crossed panes outside,
bored me and crept to and fro,
green leaves gained an ochre glow.

Amazed, to the daylight my eyes
turned, but couldn’t surmise
themselves what it was or how
it struck their light surface now.

Oh, then how my poor heart hungered,
and so trembled and hankered,
so dry and it would not rain
and each day passed in vain.

I sat in those days of light –
my heart raced in endless flight –
I sat using my eyes and head
it all seemed like tombs for the dead.

Ik zat toen heel stil te werken

*


Ik zat toen heel stil te werken,
de boeken waren als zerken
voor me, ik wist wel wat
elk graf in zich had.

Mijn lijf zat daar in een kamer,
boomtakken voor het raam er
heenkropen en weer vervelend,
met groene bladen al geelend.

Mijn oogen zagen verwonderd
naar ’t buitenlicht, maar zonder ’t
zelf te weten wat of
hun licht oppervlak trof.

O mijn hart was toen zoo hongerig,
zoo angstig en zoo verlangerig,
zoo droog en het regende niet
en elke dag ging te niet.

Ik zat in die lichte dagen –
mijn hart hield nooit op te jagen –
ik zat te zien en te werken,
alles was m’ als doodzerken.
Close

I once sat quietly and read

*


I once sat quietly and read,
the books were like tombs for the dead
before me, I knew just what
was in each plot.

My body sat there inside,
tree branches crossed panes outside,
bored me and crept to and fro,
green leaves gained an ochre glow.

Amazed, to the daylight my eyes
turned, but couldn’t surmise
themselves what it was or how
it struck their light surface now.

Oh, then how my poor heart hungered,
and so trembled and hankered,
so dry and it would not rain
and each day passed in vain.

I sat in those days of light –
my heart raced in endless flight –
I sat using my eyes and head
it all seemed like tombs for the dead.

I once sat quietly and read

*


I once sat quietly and read,
the books were like tombs for the dead
before me, I knew just what
was in each plot.

My body sat there inside,
tree branches crossed panes outside,
bored me and crept to and fro,
green leaves gained an ochre glow.

Amazed, to the daylight my eyes
turned, but couldn’t surmise
themselves what it was or how
it struck their light surface now.

Oh, then how my poor heart hungered,
and so trembled and hankered,
so dry and it would not rain
and each day passed in vain.

I sat in those days of light –
my heart raced in endless flight –
I sat using my eyes and head
it all seemed like tombs for the dead.
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