Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Pieter Boskma

SELF-PORTRAIT AS FLOWERING LINK

There is a wrinkle in the days.
They no longer spread out properly
as though they are hiding something.

There’s also something odd about the sunlight,
it looks as if it’s  shining through prison bars
although it’s not clear who’s locked up inside.

What is that thing that doesn’t reveal itself?
Or has time itself started to shrink
and are there holes in what you’re going through?

You kiss a woman on the mouth for the first time.
You open your eyes and are no longer touching.
You kneel as a Christian and rise up as a heathen.

The song of a thrush that enchanted you once
now sounds like a marching tune to which
soldiers commit rape, pillage and murder.

You’re young and gaze in rapture at a field of red tulips – 
and all at once a metre of snow has fallen and you pass      
your hand resignedly through your remaining hair.

And every time that you wonder
why your nose points in all directions
without being able to settle for one,

you are ironing the creases out one by one,
the hours stretch out until they shine
and where you imagined riddles or a void

you see the flowering link.

Zelfportret als bloeiende schakel

Zelfportret als bloeiende schakel

Er zit een knik in de dagen,
ze vouwen zich niet meer goed uit
alsof ze iets verborgen houden.

Er is ook wat met het zonlicht,
het lijkt wel door tralies te vallen
al is het onzeker wie vastzit.

Wat is het toch dat zich niet prijsgeeft?
Of is de tijd aan het krimpen geslagen
en vallen er gaten in wat je beleeft?

Je kust een vrouw voor het eerst op de mond,
opent je ogen en bent weer gescheiden.
Je knielt als een christen en staat op als heiden.

Het lied van een merel dat je ooit bekoorde
klinkt nu als een mars waarop soldaten
brandschatten, verkrachten en moorden.

Staar je jong en verrukt naar een veld rode tulpen
dan heeft het ineens wel een meter gesneeuwd
en gaat je hand gelaten door je laatste haren.

En bij elke tel dat je je afvraagt
waarom je neus alle kanten op gaat
zonder één vaste richting te kiezen,

strijk je de kreukels stuk voor stuk glad,
rekken de uren zich glanzende uit
en waar je raadsels of een leemte dacht

zie je de bloeiende schakel.
Close

SELF-PORTRAIT AS FLOWERING LINK

There is a wrinkle in the days.
They no longer spread out properly
as though they are hiding something.

There’s also something odd about the sunlight,
it looks as if it’s  shining through prison bars
although it’s not clear who’s locked up inside.

What is that thing that doesn’t reveal itself?
Or has time itself started to shrink
and are there holes in what you’re going through?

You kiss a woman on the mouth for the first time.
You open your eyes and are no longer touching.
You kneel as a Christian and rise up as a heathen.

The song of a thrush that enchanted you once
now sounds like a marching tune to which
soldiers commit rape, pillage and murder.

You’re young and gaze in rapture at a field of red tulips – 
and all at once a metre of snow has fallen and you pass      
your hand resignedly through your remaining hair.

And every time that you wonder
why your nose points in all directions
without being able to settle for one,

you are ironing the creases out one by one,
the hours stretch out until they shine
and where you imagined riddles or a void

you see the flowering link.

SELF-PORTRAIT AS FLOWERING LINK

There is a wrinkle in the days.
They no longer spread out properly
as though they are hiding something.

There’s also something odd about the sunlight,
it looks as if it’s  shining through prison bars
although it’s not clear who’s locked up inside.

What is that thing that doesn’t reveal itself?
Or has time itself started to shrink
and are there holes in what you’re going through?

You kiss a woman on the mouth for the first time.
You open your eyes and are no longer touching.
You kneel as a Christian and rise up as a heathen.

The song of a thrush that enchanted you once
now sounds like a marching tune to which
soldiers commit rape, pillage and murder.

You’re young and gaze in rapture at a field of red tulips – 
and all at once a metre of snow has fallen and you pass      
your hand resignedly through your remaining hair.

And every time that you wonder
why your nose points in all directions
without being able to settle for one,

you are ironing the creases out one by one,
the hours stretch out until they shine
and where you imagined riddles or a void

you see the flowering link.
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