Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Peter Verhelst

AFTER

After tens of thousands of flamingos dragged a pink lake from the Mumbai wetlands up into
the sky.

After antelopes (with drumming hooves) scoured the streets of Delhi, deer in Chandigarh,
elephants in Haridwar, civets (elongated, spotted, curly-tailed) in Kerala.

After summer.

After seasons no less.

After groundwater.


A transparent child climbs out of a drain

followed by a leopard (pinkish-white coat the spots show through, ruby eyes).


Milk-glass child

astride the albino leopard,

have mercy on us.

White shadow

melting into the rough, white coat,

have mercy on us.

Beast with two backs

and four blazing eyes,

have mercy on us.



Strutting down the street, leopard with child rider
(final backward glance), walking straight
through the wall of the bank –


is the narrative locked in its vaults,

the longing, the gold, the cash, the sex, the hassle,
the fiction, the lies, the cheating, the violence, the hit,
the pleasure, the lubricant, the utmost, the most beautiful
prospects of salvation, the sweet illusion
that salvation will one day come from a story?

NADAT

NADAT

Nadat tienduizenden flamingo’s een roze meer uit de wetlands van Mumbai de lucht
in hebben getrokken.

Nadat antilopen (met roffelende hoeven) de straten afschuimden in Delhi, edelherten
in Chandigarh, olifanten in Haridwar, civetkatten (langwerpig, gevlekt, ringstaart) in Kerala.

Nadat de zomer.

Nadat de seizoenen evenmin.

Nadat het grondwater.


Uit een regenput klimt een doorzichtig kind

gevolgd door een luipaard (witrozige pels waardoor vlekken schemeren, robijnen ogen).


Melkglazen kind

op de rug van de albinoluipaard,

ontferm u over ons.

Witte schaduw

versmeltend met stugge, witte pels,

ontferm u over ons.

Beest met twee ruggen

en vier gloeiende ogen,

ontferm u over ons.



Op hoge poten schrijdt luipaard met kind

door de straat, (kijkt nog één keer om), loopt dwars
door de muur van het bankgebouw –


zit daar het narratief opgeslagen in kluizen,

het verlangen, het goud, de poen, de seks, het gedoe,
de fictie, de leugen, het bedrog, het geweld, de moordaanslag,
het lekkers, het glijmiddel, het hoogste, het mooiste
uitzicht op redding, de zoete illusie
dat er ooit ergens uit een verhaal redding zal komen.
Close

AFTER

After tens of thousands of flamingos dragged a pink lake from the Mumbai wetlands up into
the sky.

After antelopes (with drumming hooves) scoured the streets of Delhi, deer in Chandigarh,
elephants in Haridwar, civets (elongated, spotted, curly-tailed) in Kerala.

After summer.

After seasons no less.

After groundwater.


A transparent child climbs out of a drain

followed by a leopard (pinkish-white coat the spots show through, ruby eyes).


Milk-glass child

astride the albino leopard,

have mercy on us.

White shadow

melting into the rough, white coat,

have mercy on us.

Beast with two backs

and four blazing eyes,

have mercy on us.



Strutting down the street, leopard with child rider
(final backward glance), walking straight
through the wall of the bank –


is the narrative locked in its vaults,

the longing, the gold, the cash, the sex, the hassle,
the fiction, the lies, the cheating, the violence, the hit,
the pleasure, the lubricant, the utmost, the most beautiful
prospects of salvation, the sweet illusion
that salvation will one day come from a story?

AFTER

After tens of thousands of flamingos dragged a pink lake from the Mumbai wetlands up into
the sky.

After antelopes (with drumming hooves) scoured the streets of Delhi, deer in Chandigarh,
elephants in Haridwar, civets (elongated, spotted, curly-tailed) in Kerala.

After summer.

After seasons no less.

After groundwater.


A transparent child climbs out of a drain

followed by a leopard (pinkish-white coat the spots show through, ruby eyes).


Milk-glass child

astride the albino leopard,

have mercy on us.

White shadow

melting into the rough, white coat,

have mercy on us.

Beast with two backs

and four blazing eyes,

have mercy on us.



Strutting down the street, leopard with child rider
(final backward glance), walking straight
through the wall of the bank –


is the narrative locked in its vaults,

the longing, the gold, the cash, the sex, the hassle,
the fiction, the lies, the cheating, the violence, the hit,
the pleasure, the lubricant, the utmost, the most beautiful
prospects of salvation, the sweet illusion
that salvation will one day come from a story?

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