Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Robert Hass

THE PROBLEM OF DESCRIBING TREES

HET PROBLEEM BOMEN TE BESCHRIJVEN

De esp glinstert in de wind
En dat verrukt ons.

Het blad fladdert, krult om,
Omdat die beweging in de hitte van augustus
Zijn cellen behoedt voor uitdroging. Zo ook het blad
Van de populier.

De gen-groep bracht een trillende stam voort
En de boom danste. Nee.
De boom kapitaliseerde.
Nee. Er zijn grenzen aan taal
Om te zeggen wat de boom deed.

Het is goed dat poëzie ons soms ontnuchtert.

Dans met mij, danser. O, zal ik doen.

Bergen, hemel,
De esp die iets doet in de wind.

THE PROBLEM OF DESCRIBING TREES

The aspen glitters in the wind
And that delights us.

The leaf flutters, turning,
Because that motion in the heat of August
Protects its cells from drying out. Likewise the leaf
Of the cottonwood.

The gene pool threw up a wobbly stem
And the tree danced. No.
The tree capitalized.
No. There are limits to saying,
In language, what the tree did.

It is good sometimes for poetry to disenchant us.

Dance with me, dancer. Oh, I will.

Mountains, sky,
The aspen doing something in the wind.
Close

THE PROBLEM OF DESCRIBING TREES

The aspen glitters in the wind
And that delights us.

The leaf flutters, turning,
Because that motion in the heat of August
Protects its cells from drying out. Likewise the leaf
Of the cottonwood.

The gene pool threw up a wobbly stem
And the tree danced. No.
The tree capitalized.
No. There are limits to saying,
In language, what the tree did.

It is good sometimes for poetry to disenchant us.

Dance with me, dancer. Oh, I will.

Mountains, sky,
The aspen doing something in the wind.

THE PROBLEM OF DESCRIBING TREES

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