Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Jan H. Mysjkin

BUTTERFLY-FISH

The sea was a pink, purple and pearly glaze,
without a rimple of surprise.

* * *
 
I thought I had seen flying fish before.
I was mistaken. I only saw some
today: from six in the morning to six in the evening
they whizzed fin-flapping past.

From afar they are butterflies. From
nearby they are birds.
They never look like fish except
when dipping back into the water.

I saw them – exactly like swallows
at the threat of a summer shower – skimming
over medusas like giant beads of amethyst.

* * *
 
In the setting sun they look like
microscopically small skaters.

VLINDERVISSEN

VLINDERVISSEN

De zee was een roze, zachtpaars en parelgrijs glacis,
zonder de minste overrimpeling.
 
* * *
 
Ik dacht dat ik al eens vliegende vissen had gezien.
Ik heb me vergist. Ik zag er pas
vandaag: van zes uur ’s morgens tot zes uur’s avonds
schoten ze vinwiekend voorbij.
 
Van ver zijn ze vlinders. Van
dichtbij zijn ze vogels.
Ze zien er nooit als vissen uit, behalve
wanneer ze opnieuw in het water duiken.

Ik zag ze – absoluut gelijk aan zwaluwen
bij een dreigende zomerbui – scheren
over kwallen als amethisten reuzenparels.
 
* * *
 
In de ondergaande zon zien ze eruit
als microscopisch kleine schaatsenrijders.
Close

BUTTERFLY-FISH

The sea was a pink, purple and pearly glaze,
without a rimple of surprise.

* * *
 
I thought I had seen flying fish before.
I was mistaken. I only saw some
today: from six in the morning to six in the evening
they whizzed fin-flapping past.

From afar they are butterflies. From
nearby they are birds.
They never look like fish except
when dipping back into the water.

I saw them – exactly like swallows
at the threat of a summer shower – skimming
over medusas like giant beads of amethyst.

* * *
 
In the setting sun they look like
microscopically small skaters.

BUTTERFLY-FISH

The sea was a pink, purple and pearly glaze,
without a rimple of surprise.

* * *
 
I thought I had seen flying fish before.
I was mistaken. I only saw some
today: from six in the morning to six in the evening
they whizzed fin-flapping past.

From afar they are butterflies. From
nearby they are birds.
They never look like fish except
when dipping back into the water.

I saw them – exactly like swallows
at the threat of a summer shower – skimming
over medusas like giant beads of amethyst.

* * *
 
In the setting sun they look like
microscopically small skaters.
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Prins Bernhard cultuurfonds
Lira fonds
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère