Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Willem Jan Otten

*

I dreamt that the water had come.
Unsurprised I moored on the eighth floor.
Back from a trip – where? what for?
The ferryman rowed off without a word.

You must be upstairs, in our new flat.
Kipling bag and all, I ran up the fire escape.

The water stretched far beyond the Ring,
dark green and not a single ripple.

You led me past the windows, saying,
Look, that’s where the council fountain used to be.
And also, The lift has given up the ghost,
went down the shaft complete with next-door neighbour.
We’re waiting now for someone with a monkey wrench.

The meaning of the dream was not
that everything had changed forever.
You still existed and me with you, we still existed,
pointing, we were, and up above all those who were no more.

Wife, last night it was no less absurd –
our being saved and dry – than it is in the day.

*

*

Droomde dat het water was gekomen.
Onverbaasd meerde ik acht hoog af.
Terug van een reis, waarheen waarom.
Zonder groet roeide de veerman weg.

Jij zou boven zijn, in onze nieuwe flat.
Ik rende met Kiplingtas en al de brandtrap op.

Tot ver voorbij de Zuidas strekte zich
de watervlakte uit, donkergroen en rimpelloos.

Jij leidde me de ramen langs en zei:
Kijk, daar heeft de stadsdeelraadfontein gestaan.
En ook: de lift doet het niet meer,
die is met buur en al de koker ingegaan,
het wachten is op iemand met een tang.

De zegging van de droom was niet
dat alles daar ineens heel anders was.
Jij bestond dus nog en ik met jou, wij bestonden,
wijzende, wij bestonden boven wie er niet meer was.

Vrouw, het was vannacht niet minder ongerijmd
gered te zijn, en droog – dan overdag.
Close

*

I dreamt that the water had come.
Unsurprised I moored on the eighth floor.
Back from a trip – where? what for?
The ferryman rowed off without a word.

You must be upstairs, in our new flat.
Kipling bag and all, I ran up the fire escape.

The water stretched far beyond the Ring,
dark green and not a single ripple.

You led me past the windows, saying,
Look, that’s where the council fountain used to be.
And also, The lift has given up the ghost,
went down the shaft complete with next-door neighbour.
We’re waiting now for someone with a monkey wrench.

The meaning of the dream was not
that everything had changed forever.
You still existed and me with you, we still existed,
pointing, we were, and up above all those who were no more.

Wife, last night it was no less absurd –
our being saved and dry – than it is in the day.

*

I dreamt that the water had come.
Unsurprised I moored on the eighth floor.
Back from a trip – where? what for?
The ferryman rowed off without a word.

You must be upstairs, in our new flat.
Kipling bag and all, I ran up the fire escape.

The water stretched far beyond the Ring,
dark green and not a single ripple.

You led me past the windows, saying,
Look, that’s where the council fountain used to be.
And also, The lift has given up the ghost,
went down the shaft complete with next-door neighbour.
We’re waiting now for someone with a monkey wrench.

The meaning of the dream was not
that everything had changed forever.
You still existed and me with you, we still existed,
pointing, we were, and up above all those who were no more.

Wife, last night it was no less absurd –
our being saved and dry – than it is in the day.
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Prins Bernhard cultuurfonds
Lira fonds
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère