Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Peter Verhelst

UTOPIA

In the bronze foundry the orange sun quivers, a storm of sparks over the mould that is being
filled with liquid metal, a thousand-year statue
on the empty square: utopia. Its form visible everywhere – behind pillars, in the dark corner,
in traumas, monuments, bodies left on the street, folded flags.
After centuries of utopias, utopia only represents itself.
There is a hole in the form of a building on a square

in the form of a hole, designed to let as many bodies as possible disappear in geometric order

under the approving eye of the bronze horseman, he

who watches over us.
In this utopia the walls of utopia tear open. Slow is the statue’s fall, from plinth to ground.
The statue is pounced on,

dragged to the river by dozens of hands.
The time has come to bring down walls, to follow leaders home

and let fires be fires.

UTOPIE

UTOPIE

In de bronsgieterij davert de oranje zon, gensterstorm boven de mal die volloopt met
vloeibaar metaal, duizendjarig standbeeld
op het lege plein: de utopie. Overal de gestalte ervan zichtbaar achter zuilen, in de donkere
hoek, in trauma’s, monumenten, lichamen die op straat blijven liggen, opgevouwen vaandels.
Na eeuwen van utopieën representeert de utopie alleen nog zichzelf.
Er is een gat in de vorm van een gebouw op een plein

in de vorm van een gat, ontworpen om zoveel mogelijk lichamen geometrisch gerangschikt te
laten verdwijnen

onder het goedkeurende oog van de bronzen ruiter, hij

die over ons waakt.
In deze utopie scheuren de muren van de utopie. Traag is deval van het standbeeld, van
sokkel naar grond.
Het standbeeld wordt besprongen,

door tientallen handen naar de rivier gesleept.
De tijd is gekomen om muren neer te halen, leiders naar hun huis te volgen

en om vuur vuur te laten zijn.
Close

UTOPIA

In the bronze foundry the orange sun quivers, a storm of sparks over the mould that is being
filled with liquid metal, a thousand-year statue
on the empty square: utopia. Its form visible everywhere – behind pillars, in the dark corner,
in traumas, monuments, bodies left on the street, folded flags.
After centuries of utopias, utopia only represents itself.
There is a hole in the form of a building on a square

in the form of a hole, designed to let as many bodies as possible disappear in geometric order

under the approving eye of the bronze horseman, he

who watches over us.
In this utopia the walls of utopia tear open. Slow is the statue’s fall, from plinth to ground.
The statue is pounced on,

dragged to the river by dozens of hands.
The time has come to bring down walls, to follow leaders home

and let fires be fires.

UTOPIA

In the bronze foundry the orange sun quivers, a storm of sparks over the mould that is being
filled with liquid metal, a thousand-year statue
on the empty square: utopia. Its form visible everywhere – behind pillars, in the dark corner,
in traumas, monuments, bodies left on the street, folded flags.
After centuries of utopias, utopia only represents itself.
There is a hole in the form of a building on a square

in the form of a hole, designed to let as many bodies as possible disappear in geometric order

under the approving eye of the bronze horseman, he

who watches over us.
In this utopia the walls of utopia tear open. Slow is the statue’s fall, from plinth to ground.
The statue is pounced on,

dragged to the river by dozens of hands.
The time has come to bring down walls, to follow leaders home

and let fires be fires.
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