Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Stefan Hertmans

A THOUSAND KISSES DEEP

Memories, I said, are experiences
That sink in the ooze of your emotions.
A bit far-fetched, you said; and I agreed.

Your fingernails – mother of pearl,
The inside of an oyster shell.
For all the years I know you,
I can’t get used to this silent spell.

Do you count syllables when you pray
To gods long since vanished?

Like bream, I said, like bottom fish.
They sink, they sparkle before
An eye in darkness.
Something like that.

Fifty metres at most ahead,
Oh how you walked.
Our kisses deep and out of reach
And, like the years, as dark.

A 1000 xx deep

A 1000 xx deep

Ik zei: herinneringen zijn ervaringen
Die zinken in het slib van je emoties.
Je vond het vergezocht. Ik ook.

Je vingernagels parelmoer,
Het binnenste van oesters.
Ik ken je nu al jaren,
Toch went die stille weerschijn niet.

Tel jij je lettergrepen als je bidt
Tot goden die er niet meer zijn?

Als brasem, zei ik, als moddervis,
Ze zinken, ze fonkelen voor
Een oog in duisternis.
Zoiets.

Hooguit vijftig meter voor me uit,
O hoe je liep,
En onze kussen onbereikbaar diep
En donker als de jaren.
Close

A THOUSAND KISSES DEEP

Memories, I said, are experiences
That sink in the ooze of your emotions.
A bit far-fetched, you said; and I agreed.

Your fingernails – mother of pearl,
The inside of an oyster shell.
For all the years I know you,
I can’t get used to this silent spell.

Do you count syllables when you pray
To gods long since vanished?

Like bream, I said, like bottom fish.
They sink, they sparkle before
An eye in darkness.
Something like that.

Fifty metres at most ahead,
Oh how you walked.
Our kisses deep and out of reach
And, like the years, as dark.

A THOUSAND KISSES DEEP

Memories, I said, are experiences
That sink in the ooze of your emotions.
A bit far-fetched, you said; and I agreed.

Your fingernails – mother of pearl,
The inside of an oyster shell.
For all the years I know you,
I can’t get used to this silent spell.

Do you count syllables when you pray
To gods long since vanished?

Like bream, I said, like bottom fish.
They sink, they sparkle before
An eye in darkness.
Something like that.

Fifty metres at most ahead,
Oh how you walked.
Our kisses deep and out of reach
And, like the years, as dark.
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