Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Pieter Boskma

SELF-PORTRAIT AS SELF

What is the nature of the self? Today I saw
a coughing sheep but I don’t know if this sheds
any light on the question. I also saw a stallion
with a yard-long erection and a soft rain was falling.

The definition and locating of that self
can now begin. You open up your senses and language 
flashes through your skull. You look at something and know
that you’re not that thing, although you can’t be
so sure of it since quantum physics proved

that a thing changes its form when it is observed
and the viewer defines the thing viewed. So that
the borders of that self suddenly become blurred.
It is found in everything you see and hear and feel
and taste. Should you then close off your senses

to keep this self as it were on board? But that would mean
that the one who no longer experiences anything
is the most his own self. Is our true nature
only revealed in a heap of ashes no one looks at any more?

Zelfportret als zelf

Zelfportret als zelf

Wat is de aard van het zelf? Ik zag vandaag
een hoestend schaap maar ik weet niet of dat enig
licht werpt op die vraag. Ook zag ik een hengst
met een erectie van een meter en het regende heel zacht.

Waarmee de afbakening en positionering van dat zelf
een aanvang neemt. Men opent zijn zintuigen
en taal schiet door de schedel. Men kijkt naar iets
en weet dat men dat zelf niet is, al blijft zoiets
onzeker sinds de diepste fysica bewees

dat een ding van vorm verandert als het waargenomen wordt
en de kijker het bekekene dus zelf bepaalt. Waarmee
de grenzen van dat zelf onmiddellijk vervagen,
het zit immers in alles wat men ziet en hoort en voelt
en proeft. Moet men zijn zintuigen dan sluiten

om dat zelf als het ware binnenboord te houden?
Maar dat zou betekenen dat wie niets meer waarneemt
het meest zijn eigen zelf is. Openbaart zich onze ware aard
dan pas in een hoopje as waarnaar geen mens meer omkijkt?
Close

SELF-PORTRAIT AS SELF

What is the nature of the self? Today I saw
a coughing sheep but I don’t know if this sheds
any light on the question. I also saw a stallion
with a yard-long erection and a soft rain was falling.

The definition and locating of that self
can now begin. You open up your senses and language 
flashes through your skull. You look at something and know
that you’re not that thing, although you can’t be
so sure of it since quantum physics proved

that a thing changes its form when it is observed
and the viewer defines the thing viewed. So that
the borders of that self suddenly become blurred.
It is found in everything you see and hear and feel
and taste. Should you then close off your senses

to keep this self as it were on board? But that would mean
that the one who no longer experiences anything
is the most his own self. Is our true nature
only revealed in a heap of ashes no one looks at any more?

SELF-PORTRAIT AS SELF

What is the nature of the self? Today I saw
a coughing sheep but I don’t know if this sheds
any light on the question. I also saw a stallion
with a yard-long erection and a soft rain was falling.

The definition and locating of that self
can now begin. You open up your senses and language 
flashes through your skull. You look at something and know
that you’re not that thing, although you can’t be
so sure of it since quantum physics proved

that a thing changes its form when it is observed
and the viewer defines the thing viewed. So that
the borders of that self suddenly become blurred.
It is found in everything you see and hear and feel
and taste. Should you then close off your senses

to keep this self as it were on board? But that would mean
that the one who no longer experiences anything
is the most his own self. Is our true nature
only revealed in a heap of ashes no one looks at any more?
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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