Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Stefan Hertmans

THE BEST YEARS

Tonight the ants and stars have a date in the café;
we are lying on the warm rocks, spread out like shards
of future past, and singing voicelessly.
Above us the Milky Way glitters, white umbilical cord
in growing darkness; irony is far away,
parables get transmitted while lips,
hardened with knowledge, drift high in space,
whispering everywhere, a squeaking of bats
and recklessness, because nothing was hoarded,
everything was squandered, because that’s how it’s always been,
even without us –
this lying on the warm rocks, separate and together
the ants and the stars out on a date in the streets
of the firmament, and just for a while we are
an ancient whole where Descartes loses track,
until the threads snap, we let go of our hands
because finding is losing, and we stay where we are
just for a while, we are part of it without knowing,
listen to them singing along the horizon, down there
the rocks without water, where the rod rules
our lives and saves us from drought, just for a moment,
the last words of a new beginning, but without us.

DE BESTE JAREN

DE BESTE JAREN

Vanavond gaan de mieren met de sterren op café;
we liggen op de warme steen, verspreid als scherven
van toekomstige verleden tijd, en zingen zonder stem.
Daarboven gloeit de Melkweg, witte navelstreng
in groeiende duisternis; de ironie is ver,
parabels worden doorgeseind terwijl de lippen,
hard geworden van het weten, hoog in de ruimte
zweven, alom fluisterend, vleermuisgezang
en roekeloosheid, omdat niets werd opgeslagen,
alles werd verspild, omdat het altijd zo gehoord heeft,
ook zonder ons –
dit liggen op de warme steen, verspreid en bij elkaar,
de mieren met de sterren aan het stappen
langs de hemelboog, en waar Descartes de draad
verliest zijn wij nog even een oeroud geheel, voordat
de draden knappen, wij de handen lossen,
omdat terugvinden verliezen is, en wij niet opstaan,
even nog niet, we zijn het maar we weten niet,
hoor hoe ze zingen langs de hemelrand, daar bij
de rotsen zonder water, waar de stok op onze
levens slaat en ons van dorheid redt, voor even nog,
de laatste woorden van een nieuw begin, maar zonder ons.
Close

THE BEST YEARS

Tonight the ants and stars have a date in the café;
we are lying on the warm rocks, spread out like shards
of future past, and singing voicelessly.
Above us the Milky Way glitters, white umbilical cord
in growing darkness; irony is far away,
parables get transmitted while lips,
hardened with knowledge, drift high in space,
whispering everywhere, a squeaking of bats
and recklessness, because nothing was hoarded,
everything was squandered, because that’s how it’s always been,
even without us –
this lying on the warm rocks, separate and together
the ants and the stars out on a date in the streets
of the firmament, and just for a while we are
an ancient whole where Descartes loses track,
until the threads snap, we let go of our hands
because finding is losing, and we stay where we are
just for a while, we are part of it without knowing,
listen to them singing along the horizon, down there
the rocks without water, where the rod rules
our lives and saves us from drought, just for a moment,
the last words of a new beginning, but without us.

THE BEST YEARS

Tonight the ants and stars have a date in the café;
we are lying on the warm rocks, spread out like shards
of future past, and singing voicelessly.
Above us the Milky Way glitters, white umbilical cord
in growing darkness; irony is far away,
parables get transmitted while lips,
hardened with knowledge, drift high in space,
whispering everywhere, a squeaking of bats
and recklessness, because nothing was hoarded,
everything was squandered, because that’s how it’s always been,
even without us –
this lying on the warm rocks, separate and together
the ants and the stars out on a date in the streets
of the firmament, and just for a while we are
an ancient whole where Descartes loses track,
until the threads snap, we let go of our hands
because finding is losing, and we stay where we are
just for a while, we are part of it without knowing,
listen to them singing along the horizon, down there
the rocks without water, where the rod rules
our lives and saves us from drought, just for a moment,
the last words of a new beginning, but without us.
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère