Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Jules Deelder

ORACLE

On occasion we are granted
After sucking the smoke
Of medicinal herbs through hol-
Low vessels beneath auspicious
Planetary constellations
A glimpse round yonder hair-
Pin turn through the usually
Foggy window of the mind
At that which still occurs
Parallel to this in a world
Where off-the-rack clothing
Remains a wishful thought
And the Word is out
There by fire and sword
And bold knights lying in
Wait in thickets alongside
Beaten paths where count-
Less people give their blood-
Curdling best constantly
Fucked up the arse and pro-
Cessed according to closely
Guarded recipe into nutritional
Yet delicious paté where-
As life in general is hardly
Ideal and rich and poor in equal
Measure dropping of plague
And cholera and the grisly
Spectre of War on all
Fronts up to the Last Judgement
Has commenced and human
Inanity in deepest darkness
And with terrible festering
Along a path through the back-
Streets and alleys of cities
Crumbling into final dust
Under ruthless oppression
The daily reign of terror
In the shadow of the scaffold
Heads rolling one after the other
In the name of Justice
In reality long since relocated
To a suburb where the streets
Are named after composers
Still unpunished in 1950
History unfurls several metres
Above the surface like
A slowed-down motion
Picture oppressively empty
Streets and squares desperate
Men in white shirts and collars
Standing at bay windows dis-
Believing while bombs drop
Only adding emphasis to
The suffocating Sunday
Silence maliciously rustling
Next-door neighbors humming
Of sanitary plumbing
And religious maniacs
Wives sinking slowly into
Insanity and unexpectedly
Around the midnight hour
Before rushing express trains
Or at remote intersections
Confessing henchmen of Evil
Or consorting with various
Disreputable characters in
Full-length leather coats
Looming in ominous door-
Ways of a dubious past
During the war – but if you
Got up and asked us: What’s
It all mean? the answer
Would be: We haven’t
Got the foggiest! Being an
Oracle’s tough enough as it is
There’d be no end to it if
We had to turn around and
Explain the whole thing as well

ORAKEL

ORAKEL

Soms gewordt ons na het
Zuigen van rook van genees-
Krachtige kruiden door holle
Buizen bij gunstige planeten-
Stand doorheen het doorgaans
Zwaarbeslagen venster van de
Geest achter gindse haarspeld-
Bocht een glimp van wat zich
Parallel aan deze afspeelt
In een wereld waarin maat-
Confectie nog een vrome wens
En het Woord in de buiten-
Gewesten te vuur en te zwaard
En koene ridders in hinder-
Lagen in ’t struweel bezijden
Gebaande paden door hele
Volksstammen onder ’t slaken
Van bloedstollende in hun
Reet genaaid en naar streng
Bewaakt recept tot voedzame
Paté verwerkt terwijl ook
De levens in het algemeen
Verre van ideaal te noemen
En arm en rijk gelijkelijk
Aan pest en cholera te gronde
En het Spook van den Oorlog
Allerwegen het Laatste Oor-
Deel van start en het
Mensdom in diepe duisternis
En met vreselijke zweren
Zijns weegs gaat door sloppen
En stegen van stilaan tot
Gruis verpuinende steden waar
Genadeloze terreur het schrik-
Bewind van dagelijks leven
In de schaduw van het schavot
Onophoudelijk koppen rollen
In naam van de Gerechtigheid
In werkelijkheid allang de
Wijk naar veiliger oorden
Als de Componistenbuurt waar
1950 nog ongestraft voort
En de geschiedenis zich op
Enkele meters boven de grond
Als een vertraagde film ont-
Rolt in beklemmende leegte
Van straten en pleinen aan
Wanhopige mannen in witte
Overhemden voor ramen van
Erkers in voorkamers ver-
Lossende bommenwerpers de
Wurgende zondagsrust extra
Benadrukt kwaadaardig ge-
Ritsel van buren het suizen
Der waterleidingbuizen
En religieus bevlogen
Hunner langzaam in waanzin
Verzinkende vrouwen zich
Rond middernachtelijk uur
Onverhoeds aanstormende
Sneltreinen werpen of op
Afgelegen wegkruisingen
Trawanten van den Booze
Laten bekennen of gemeen-
Schap schimmige gedaanten
In lange lederen jassen
In de heilloze portieken
Twijfelachtig oorlogs-
Verleden – maar als je ons
Nou vraagt wat heeft dit
Te betekenen? luidt het
Antwoord: Al sla je ons
Dood! We hebben ’t als
Orakel al moeilijk genoeg
En het eind is zoek als we
De boel óók nog es een keer
Uit moeten gaan leggen
Close

ORACLE

On occasion we are granted
After sucking the smoke
Of medicinal herbs through hol-
Low vessels beneath auspicious
Planetary constellations
A glimpse round yonder hair-
Pin turn through the usually
Foggy window of the mind
At that which still occurs
Parallel to this in a world
Where off-the-rack clothing
Remains a wishful thought
And the Word is out
There by fire and sword
And bold knights lying in
Wait in thickets alongside
Beaten paths where count-
Less people give their blood-
Curdling best constantly
Fucked up the arse and pro-
Cessed according to closely
Guarded recipe into nutritional
Yet delicious paté where-
As life in general is hardly
Ideal and rich and poor in equal
Measure dropping of plague
And cholera and the grisly
Spectre of War on all
Fronts up to the Last Judgement
Has commenced and human
Inanity in deepest darkness
And with terrible festering
Along a path through the back-
Streets and alleys of cities
Crumbling into final dust
Under ruthless oppression
The daily reign of terror
In the shadow of the scaffold
Heads rolling one after the other
In the name of Justice
In reality long since relocated
To a suburb where the streets
Are named after composers
Still unpunished in 1950
History unfurls several metres
Above the surface like
A slowed-down motion
Picture oppressively empty
Streets and squares desperate
Men in white shirts and collars
Standing at bay windows dis-
Believing while bombs drop
Only adding emphasis to
The suffocating Sunday
Silence maliciously rustling
Next-door neighbors humming
Of sanitary plumbing
And religious maniacs
Wives sinking slowly into
Insanity and unexpectedly
Around the midnight hour
Before rushing express trains
Or at remote intersections
Confessing henchmen of Evil
Or consorting with various
Disreputable characters in
Full-length leather coats
Looming in ominous door-
Ways of a dubious past
During the war – but if you
Got up and asked us: What’s
It all mean? the answer
Would be: We haven’t
Got the foggiest! Being an
Oracle’s tough enough as it is
There’d be no end to it if
We had to turn around and
Explain the whole thing as well

ORACLE

On occasion we are granted
After sucking the smoke
Of medicinal herbs through hol-
Low vessels beneath auspicious
Planetary constellations
A glimpse round yonder hair-
Pin turn through the usually
Foggy window of the mind
At that which still occurs
Parallel to this in a world
Where off-the-rack clothing
Remains a wishful thought
And the Word is out
There by fire and sword
And bold knights lying in
Wait in thickets alongside
Beaten paths where count-
Less people give their blood-
Curdling best constantly
Fucked up the arse and pro-
Cessed according to closely
Guarded recipe into nutritional
Yet delicious paté where-
As life in general is hardly
Ideal and rich and poor in equal
Measure dropping of plague
And cholera and the grisly
Spectre of War on all
Fronts up to the Last Judgement
Has commenced and human
Inanity in deepest darkness
And with terrible festering
Along a path through the back-
Streets and alleys of cities
Crumbling into final dust
Under ruthless oppression
The daily reign of terror
In the shadow of the scaffold
Heads rolling one after the other
In the name of Justice
In reality long since relocated
To a suburb where the streets
Are named after composers
Still unpunished in 1950
History unfurls several metres
Above the surface like
A slowed-down motion
Picture oppressively empty
Streets and squares desperate
Men in white shirts and collars
Standing at bay windows dis-
Believing while bombs drop
Only adding emphasis to
The suffocating Sunday
Silence maliciously rustling
Next-door neighbors humming
Of sanitary plumbing
And religious maniacs
Wives sinking slowly into
Insanity and unexpectedly
Around the midnight hour
Before rushing express trains
Or at remote intersections
Confessing henchmen of Evil
Or consorting with various
Disreputable characters in
Full-length leather coats
Looming in ominous door-
Ways of a dubious past
During the war – but if you
Got up and asked us: What’s
It all mean? the answer
Would be: We haven’t
Got the foggiest! Being an
Oracle’s tough enough as it is
There’d be no end to it if
We had to turn around and
Explain the whole thing as well
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