Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Anne Vegter

MORATORIUM

When we returned home after John’s funeral
there was no one who asked: did John actually want to live?
 
(he was mad on funerals, always went,
maybe suddenly had had enough of them).
 
He visited us once more after that, two years later.
Said: ‘My mother won’t stop harping on about that heater,
 
don’t hold it against her, she misses me.
She believes payments help against the pain.’
 
When we crawled towards the exit you heard no one say
that John had made a mess of things.
 
Just past the gate we kept a close eye on each other
but every one stayed silent, as the dead tend to.
 
His mother perched high up on a branch, a little uncomfortable
in the body of an Eagle-Owl. 
 
The bird’s real name is Bubo bubo, which experts say
means ‘I seize you’.

MORATORIUM

MORATORIUM

Toen we van John’s begrafenis thuiskwamen 
was er niemand die vroeg: wilde John eigenlijk wel leven?
 
(was gek op begrafenissen geweest, ging altijd,
had er misschien ineens genoeg van gekregen).
 
Hij kwam nog een keer op bezoek, twee jaar later.
Zei: ‘ Mijn moeder zeurt lang door over die kachel,
 
neem haar niet kwalijk, ze mist me.
Ze denkt dat afbetalingen helpen tegen pijn.’
 
Toen we naar de uitgang kropen hoorde je niemand zeggen
dat John er een puinhoop van gemaakt had.
 
Net voorbij het hek hielden we elkaar scherp in het oog
maar iedereen zweeg, zoals vaker bij doden.
 
Zijn moeder zat daar hoog op een tak wat ongemakkelijk
in het lichaam van een Oehoe.
 
De vogel heet eigenlijk Bubo bubo, wat volgens kenners
‘ik pluk je’ betekent. 
Close

MORATORIUM

When we returned home after John’s funeral
there was no one who asked: did John actually want to live?
 
(he was mad on funerals, always went,
maybe suddenly had had enough of them).
 
He visited us once more after that, two years later.
Said: ‘My mother won’t stop harping on about that heater,
 
don’t hold it against her, she misses me.
She believes payments help against the pain.’
 
When we crawled towards the exit you heard no one say
that John had made a mess of things.
 
Just past the gate we kept a close eye on each other
but every one stayed silent, as the dead tend to.
 
His mother perched high up on a branch, a little uncomfortable
in the body of an Eagle-Owl. 
 
The bird’s real name is Bubo bubo, which experts say
means ‘I seize you’.

MORATORIUM

When we returned home after John’s funeral
there was no one who asked: did John actually want to live?
 
(he was mad on funerals, always went,
maybe suddenly had had enough of them).
 
He visited us once more after that, two years later.
Said: ‘My mother won’t stop harping on about that heater,
 
don’t hold it against her, she misses me.
She believes payments help against the pain.’
 
When we crawled towards the exit you heard no one say
that John had made a mess of things.
 
Just past the gate we kept a close eye on each other
but every one stayed silent, as the dead tend to.
 
His mother perched high up on a branch, a little uncomfortable
in the body of an Eagle-Owl. 
 
The bird’s real name is Bubo bubo, which experts say
means ‘I seize you’.
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
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