Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Ester Naomi Perquin

DAVID H.

Because I knew her face much better than she knew mine – I made her
disappear, a tiny bit first, then more and more until I too
was no longer sure where she had got to –
 
because I had studied her much more carefully than she me and because I understood more
about us, because her face is often so clear in my mind, I sometimes wonder
if she would have seen me at all if I hadn’t asked her something.
If she would have existed if I had let her drive on.
 
Of course it was love – but love is incapable of lying, it doesn’t scream when you say,
hush, it doesn’t run out of breath and doesn’t tie me to anything. Love
lies down before you and listens. True love is always willing.
 
As far as that goes, I know better now. I wouldn’t have looked at her like that,
I would have loved her differently, not in a hurry with both hands
around her neck – but attentively, mournfully, gently.

DAVID H.

DAVID H.

Omdat ik haar gezicht veel beter heb gekend dan zij het mijne – ik liet haar
eerst een klein beetje verdwijnen, daarna steeds meer tot ook ik
niet zeker wist waar ze gebleven was –
 
omdat ik haar veel beter heb bekeken dan zij mij en omdat ik meer begreep
van ons, omdat haar gezicht mij vaak zo helder bijstaat twijfel ik soms
of ze me ook gezien had als ik haar niets had gevraagd.
Of ze had bestaan als ik haar door had laten rijden.
 
Natuurlijk was het liefde – maar liefde is toch niet in staat te liegen, gilt niet
als je zegt: wees stil, raakt geen adem kwijt en bindt mij nergens aan.
Liefde ligt voor je en luistert. Echte liefde wil altijd.
 
Wat dat betreft weet ik nu beter. Ik zou haar niet zo hebben aangekeken,
ik zou haar anders hebben liefgehad, niet gehaast met beide handen
om haar hals – maar aandachtig, droevig, zacht.
Close

DAVID H.

Because I knew her face much better than she knew mine – I made her
disappear, a tiny bit first, then more and more until I too
was no longer sure where she had got to –
 
because I had studied her much more carefully than she me and because I understood more
about us, because her face is often so clear in my mind, I sometimes wonder
if she would have seen me at all if I hadn’t asked her something.
If she would have existed if I had let her drive on.
 
Of course it was love – but love is incapable of lying, it doesn’t scream when you say,
hush, it doesn’t run out of breath and doesn’t tie me to anything. Love
lies down before you and listens. True love is always willing.
 
As far as that goes, I know better now. I wouldn’t have looked at her like that,
I would have loved her differently, not in a hurry with both hands
around her neck – but attentively, mournfully, gently.

DAVID H.

Because I knew her face much better than she knew mine – I made her
disappear, a tiny bit first, then more and more until I too
was no longer sure where she had got to –
 
because I had studied her much more carefully than she me and because I understood more
about us, because her face is often so clear in my mind, I sometimes wonder
if she would have seen me at all if I hadn’t asked her something.
If she would have existed if I had let her drive on.
 
Of course it was love – but love is incapable of lying, it doesn’t scream when you say,
hush, it doesn’t run out of breath and doesn’t tie me to anything. Love
lies down before you and listens. True love is always willing.
 
As far as that goes, I know better now. I wouldn’t have looked at her like that,
I would have loved her differently, not in a hurry with both hands
around her neck – but attentively, mournfully, gently.
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