Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Stefan Hertmans

LETTER FROM A BLIND MAN

I never knew you.
There you were without
That black spot in me
Being aware, a cloud of
Contradictions we
Call the present and forget.
 
And yet a voice somewhere
Negated me, a lie
She whispered no one could deny.
Or she invented truths
While I thought you existed.
 
And so you filled my days
With the shadow of the hours,
And without words you sang
In my open mouth.
 
Crouching, you lay in wait
Till suddenly I saw you,
But you didn’t return my gaze.
 
You stared at vanished images
That nourished you, eyes closed
I no longer could forget.

Brief van een blinde

Brief van een blinde

Ik heb je nooit gekend.
Je was er zonder dat
Die zwarte plek in mij
Er iets van wist, een wolk van
Tegenstrijdigheden die we
Heden noemen en vergeten.

Toch sprak een stem mij
Ergens tegen, ze fluisterde een leugen
Die niemand nog kon loochenen
Of ze verzon waarheden
Terwijl ik dacht dat jij bestond.

Zo vulde je mijn dagen
Met de schaduw van de uren,
En zonder woorden zong je
In mijn open mond.

Je zat gehurkt te wachten
Tot ik je plots herkende,
Maar je keek niet terug.

Je staarde naar verdwenen beelden
Die je de kost gaf met gesloten ogen
Die ik niet meer vergat.
Close

LETTER FROM A BLIND MAN

I never knew you.
There you were without
That black spot in me
Being aware, a cloud of
Contradictions we
Call the present and forget.
 
And yet a voice somewhere
Negated me, a lie
She whispered no one could deny.
Or she invented truths
While I thought you existed.
 
And so you filled my days
With the shadow of the hours,
And without words you sang
In my open mouth.
 
Crouching, you lay in wait
Till suddenly I saw you,
But you didn’t return my gaze.
 
You stared at vanished images
That nourished you, eyes closed
I no longer could forget.

LETTER FROM A BLIND MAN

I never knew you.
There you were without
That black spot in me
Being aware, a cloud of
Contradictions we
Call the present and forget.
 
And yet a voice somewhere
Negated me, a lie
She whispered no one could deny.
Or she invented truths
While I thought you existed.
 
And so you filled my days
With the shadow of the hours,
And without words you sang
In my open mouth.
 
Crouching, you lay in wait
Till suddenly I saw you,
But you didn’t return my gaze.
 
You stared at vanished images
That nourished you, eyes closed
I no longer could forget.
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