Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Rita Dove

Testimonial

Getuigenis

Ooit toen de aarde nieuw was
en de hemel enkel fluistering,
toen de namen van dingen
zich nog niet hadden gehecht;

ooit toen de flauwste briesjes
zomer versmolten tot herfst
en alle populieren beefden
bevallig in het gelid . . .

riep de wereld en antwoordde ik.
Elke oogwenk ontvlamde tot aanblik.
Ik hield mijn adem in en noemde dat leven,
bezwijmde tussen lepels vol citroenijs.

Ik was pirouette en bloei.
Ik was vlam en filigraan.
Hoe kon ik mijn zegeningen tellen
zonder kennis van hun namen?

Ooit toen alles nog moest komen,
lekte geluk uit alle kieren,
Ik gaf de wereld mijn belofte,
en de wereld volgde me tot hier.

Testimonial

Back when the earth was new
and heaven just a whisper,
back when the names of things
hadn't had time to stick;

back when the smallest breezes
melted summer into autumn,
when all the poplars quivered
sweetly in rank and file . . .

the world called, and I answered.
Each glance ignited to a gaze.
I caught my breath and called that life,   
swooned between spoonfuls of lemon sorbet.

I was pirouette and flourish,
I was filigree and flame.
How could I count my blessings
when I didn't know their names?

Back when everything was still to come,
luck leaked out everywhere.
I gave my promise to the world,
and the world followed me here.
Close

Testimonial

Back when the earth was new
and heaven just a whisper,
back when the names of things
hadn't had time to stick;

back when the smallest breezes
melted summer into autumn,
when all the poplars quivered
sweetly in rank and file . . .

the world called, and I answered.
Each glance ignited to a gaze.
I caught my breath and called that life,   
swooned between spoonfuls of lemon sorbet.

I was pirouette and flourish,
I was filigree and flame.
How could I count my blessings
when I didn't know their names?

Back when everything was still to come,
luck leaked out everywhere.
I gave my promise to the world,
and the world followed me here.

Testimonial

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