Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Pieter Boskma

SELF-PORTRAIT AS VOID

A strange wind was blowing; it came from all quarters
and whirled around me like a drunk looking for a fight.
I tried to stay calm; what’s the use of getting upset
about the elements? A failed love affair? A sweetheart who died?

After five years alone I reviewed my life.
I saw I was no longer angry; I had no tears left.
Who would have thought it after that blood-red
summer night when she breathed her last?

The beginnings of a smile gently crossed my lips
which I then pursed like a kiss, for no one and no reason.
I gazed over the empty fields at the empty dunes and the empty sea
and my brain too closed emptily around what was left unsaid.

Only the patient sheets of paper filled up, but when I wanted
to read what had appeared on them, the wind tugged them
out of my hands and blew them each which way, till they
vanished from sight. And no one would ever know.

Zelfportret als leegte

Zelfportret als leegte

Er stond een rare wind, hij kwam van alle kanten
en tolde om mij heen als een dronkenlap die ruzie zocht.
Ik trachtte kalm te blijven, wat heeft men aan woest verdriet
om de elementen? Een mislukte liefde? Een dierbare die stierf?

Na vijf jaar afzondering overzag ik mijn bestaan.
Niet eens meer kwaad, merkte ik, geen traan meer over,
wie had dat gedacht na die bloedrode zomernacht
waarin zij haar laatste adem uitgeblazen had?

De aanzet tot een glimlach trok zachtjes aan mijn lippen
die ik toen maar tuitte in een kus, voor niemand en om niets.
Ik keek over de lege velden naar de lege duinen en de lege
zee daarachter, en ook mijn hoofd sloot leeg om het verzwegene.

Alleen de geduldige papieren vulden zich, maar toen ik terug
wilde lezen wat daarop verschenen was, trok de wind
ze uit mijn hand en blies ze alle kanten op, tot ze
uit zicht verdwenen. En nooit zou iemand weten.
Close

SELF-PORTRAIT AS VOID

A strange wind was blowing; it came from all quarters
and whirled around me like a drunk looking for a fight.
I tried to stay calm; what’s the use of getting upset
about the elements? A failed love affair? A sweetheart who died?

After five years alone I reviewed my life.
I saw I was no longer angry; I had no tears left.
Who would have thought it after that blood-red
summer night when she breathed her last?

The beginnings of a smile gently crossed my lips
which I then pursed like a kiss, for no one and no reason.
I gazed over the empty fields at the empty dunes and the empty sea
and my brain too closed emptily around what was left unsaid.

Only the patient sheets of paper filled up, but when I wanted
to read what had appeared on them, the wind tugged them
out of my hands and blew them each which way, till they
vanished from sight. And no one would ever know.

SELF-PORTRAIT AS VOID

A strange wind was blowing; it came from all quarters
and whirled around me like a drunk looking for a fight.
I tried to stay calm; what’s the use of getting upset
about the elements? A failed love affair? A sweetheart who died?

After five years alone I reviewed my life.
I saw I was no longer angry; I had no tears left.
Who would have thought it after that blood-red
summer night when she breathed her last?

The beginnings of a smile gently crossed my lips
which I then pursed like a kiss, for no one and no reason.
I gazed over the empty fields at the empty dunes and the empty sea
and my brain too closed emptily around what was left unsaid.

Only the patient sheets of paper filled up, but when I wanted
to read what had appeared on them, the wind tugged them
out of my hands and blew them each which way, till they
vanished from sight. And no one would ever know.
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