Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Erik Lindner

Witnesses at the threshold

1. Birds tilt at millsails
no longer whirling

barking by the houseboats
chains drag through the gravel

cartwheeling like clockwork
high in the sky

rainwater in a pool
on the lorry roof

the light of the swaying lantern
over the row of doorbells

the gallery round the tower
its guardrail slanting outward

a river sinking away
into a marshy field.


2. A plastic bag slides off a branch

and floats down onto the market
where a girl is crouching to brush her hair
the key-fob clenched in her mouth
the teeth of the key pricking her chin

on the stage bouquets in a pail

two legs together, one
raised higher than the other

the black bird in the field
beside a tall dark tussock of grass

a shepherd resting his chin on his stick
as the flock dreams around him.


3. Horses teaching their foals to run
the horse trotting the foal cantering
the horse walking the foal trotting
past the tape in front of the fence
into the corner of the paddock

a dragonfly hovering over the water

rain splashes up from the paving
the garden hose chicanes through the grass

a bird hops onto the edge of a garden tub
above the bricks laid out in arcs

sunlight traces a line down the corridor
and casts a windowpane onto the wall

the sprinkler sprays across a treetrunk
the mower snags against its cable.


4. Witnesses at the threshold we are
the candle burning in broad daylight
the orange under the bulge in the window

the sorcerer's apprentice holds out a hand
for his bride, the motionless cape, chandelier,
the green dagging on her sleeves

faithful as the dog guarding them
the brush on the chairback
the broom against the seat

we are witnesses at the threshold
no-one can hear them
and yet it somehow still gets through.

Getuigen op de drempel

Getuigen op de drempel

1. Klap van de molen
vogels in de wieken

geblaf bij de woonboten
kettingen slepen door het grint

een regelmatige radslag
hoog in de lucht

regenwater staat op het dak
van de vrachtwagen

het licht van de zwaaiende lampion
over het bellenbord

de overhellende balustrade
aan de rand van het plateau

een rivier die uitmondt
in een drassig veld.


2. Een plastic zak schuift van een boomtak

en daalt op de markt waar een meisje
hurkend het haar borstelt
de sleutelhanger in de mond houdt
de baard van de sleutel prikt haar kin

op het podium boeketten in een emmer

twee benen naast elkaar, de een
meer opgetrokken dan de ander

de zwarte vogel op het grasveld
naast een pol lange donkere sprieten

een herder leunt met zijn kin op zijn stok
terwijl de kudde om hem heen dromt.


3. Paarden die hun veulens leren rennen
het paard in draf het veulen in galop
het paard stapvoets het veulen in draf
langs de band voor het hek
de hoek van de wei in

de libelle die boven het water hangt

regen spat op van de tegels
de tuinslag maakt een bocht in het gras

een vogel hipt op de rand van de bloembak
over de in bogen gelegde stenen

zonlicht trekt een streep door de gang
en werpt een ruit op de muur

de sproeier spuit over een boomstam
de grasmaaier stuit op zijn snoer.


4. Getuigen op de drempel we zijn
de kaars die brandt bij klaarlichte dag
de sinaasappel onder de bolling in het raam

de tovenaarsleerling houdt voor zijn bruid
een hand op, de stille cape, kroonluchter
de groene sleep aan de mouwranden

trouw als de hond die op hen past
de kwast aan de rugleuning
de bezem tegen de stoel

getuigen zijn we op de drempel
niemand die hen hoort
en toch komt het altijd ergens aan.
Close

Witnesses at the threshold

1. Birds tilt at millsails
no longer whirling

barking by the houseboats
chains drag through the gravel

cartwheeling like clockwork
high in the sky

rainwater in a pool
on the lorry roof

the light of the swaying lantern
over the row of doorbells

the gallery round the tower
its guardrail slanting outward

a river sinking away
into a marshy field.


2. A plastic bag slides off a branch

and floats down onto the market
where a girl is crouching to brush her hair
the key-fob clenched in her mouth
the teeth of the key pricking her chin

on the stage bouquets in a pail

two legs together, one
raised higher than the other

the black bird in the field
beside a tall dark tussock of grass

a shepherd resting his chin on his stick
as the flock dreams around him.


3. Horses teaching their foals to run
the horse trotting the foal cantering
the horse walking the foal trotting
past the tape in front of the fence
into the corner of the paddock

a dragonfly hovering over the water

rain splashes up from the paving
the garden hose chicanes through the grass

a bird hops onto the edge of a garden tub
above the bricks laid out in arcs

sunlight traces a line down the corridor
and casts a windowpane onto the wall

the sprinkler sprays across a treetrunk
the mower snags against its cable.


4. Witnesses at the threshold we are
the candle burning in broad daylight
the orange under the bulge in the window

the sorcerer's apprentice holds out a hand
for his bride, the motionless cape, chandelier,
the green dagging on her sleeves

faithful as the dog guarding them
the brush on the chairback
the broom against the seat

we are witnesses at the threshold
no-one can hear them
and yet it somehow still gets through.

Witnesses at the threshold

1. Birds tilt at millsails
no longer whirling

barking by the houseboats
chains drag through the gravel

cartwheeling like clockwork
high in the sky

rainwater in a pool
on the lorry roof

the light of the swaying lantern
over the row of doorbells

the gallery round the tower
its guardrail slanting outward

a river sinking away
into a marshy field.


2. A plastic bag slides off a branch

and floats down onto the market
where a girl is crouching to brush her hair
the key-fob clenched in her mouth
the teeth of the key pricking her chin

on the stage bouquets in a pail

two legs together, one
raised higher than the other

the black bird in the field
beside a tall dark tussock of grass

a shepherd resting his chin on his stick
as the flock dreams around him.


3. Horses teaching their foals to run
the horse trotting the foal cantering
the horse walking the foal trotting
past the tape in front of the fence
into the corner of the paddock

a dragonfly hovering over the water

rain splashes up from the paving
the garden hose chicanes through the grass

a bird hops onto the edge of a garden tub
above the bricks laid out in arcs

sunlight traces a line down the corridor
and casts a windowpane onto the wall

the sprinkler sprays across a treetrunk
the mower snags against its cable.


4. Witnesses at the threshold we are
the candle burning in broad daylight
the orange under the bulge in the window

the sorcerer's apprentice holds out a hand
for his bride, the motionless cape, chandelier,
the green dagging on her sleeves

faithful as the dog guarding them
the brush on the chairback
the broom against the seat

we are witnesses at the threshold
no-one can hear them
and yet it somehow still gets through.
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