Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Juana Adcock

WATCHWORD

WACHTWOORD

Het was een dinsdag en mijn computer begon Nederlands tegen me te spreken
omdat hij mijn Eurofiele sympathieën herkende
of mijn semi-clandestiene reizen.
Hij vroeg me naar een woord als een wachttoren
omdat een wachtmeester nooit op de tijd hoeft te letten.
Ik kon het geluid horen van
ijs krakend onder voeten
kon mezelf zien grijpen naar lagen bevroren water in mijn handen
een halve duim dik en deels doorzichtig
als matglas ontworpen om op ijs te lijken.
Ik wilde zeggen ga onder water, zeggen
kijk
ik was bang
om te zeggen dat delen helen is en ik wilde
zeker weten dat ik voor je kon zorgen.

De horizon was zacht met paars en blauw in de schemering
die eeuwig leek te duren, verward in de kale takken
We volgden de hagen en de wereld begon uiteen te vallen in diamanten
vormen
die van de bomen hingen als kerstversieringen, of dadelpruimen,
zodat we van binnen vrolijk werden, warm van de sprankjes licht.

Je vroeg me wat ik voelde
en het enige wat ik kon zeggen was ‘rode koperrivier
zilvergesis en het vuur binnen de kou.’

Overal waren dadelpruimenbomen
en de winterkaalheid, bespikkeld met volmaakte oranje bollen,
bood vanuit de verte een verlokkelijke aanblik
toch wilde niemand eten.
Vaak aangepikt door vogels, of rottend op de grond,
leken de dadelpruimen amper nog op luxe-voedsel.
En dan te bedenken dat ze ooit golden
als kostbare verboden vruchten.




WATCHWORD

It was a Tuesday and my computer had started speaking to me in Dutch
in recognition of my Europhile sympathies
or my semi-illicit travels.
It asked me for a word as a watchtower
as a watchwearer needs never to check for time.
I could hear the sound made by
cracking ice under feet
could see myself grasping at sheets of frozen water in my hands
half an inch thick and partially translucent
like frosted glass designed to look like ice.
I wanted to say submerge, to say
look
I was scared
to say sharing is caring and I wanted
to make sure I could look after you.

The horizon was soft in pinks and blues with the dusk
seeming to last forever, tangled in the bare branches
We followed the hedgerows and the world began fragmenting into diamond shapes
that hung from the trees like Christmas ornaments, or persimmons,
brightening up our insides, warming from the flickers of light.

You asked me what I was feeling
and all I could say was ‘red copper river
silver sizzle and the burn inside the cold.’

There were persimmon trees everywhere,
and the winter bareness, dotted with perfect orange spheres
from afar was enticing to look at
yet no one wanted to eat.
Often pecked by birds, or rotting on the ground
the persimmons hardly reminded of gourmet fare.
To think they were once
the prized forbidden fruit.





Close

WATCHWORD

It was a Tuesday and my computer had started speaking to me in Dutch
in recognition of my Europhile sympathies
or my semi-illicit travels.
It asked me for a word as a watchtower
as a watchwearer needs never to check for time.
I could hear the sound made by
cracking ice under feet
could see myself grasping at sheets of frozen water in my hands
half an inch thick and partially translucent
like frosted glass designed to look like ice.
I wanted to say submerge, to say
look
I was scared
to say sharing is caring and I wanted
to make sure I could look after you.

The horizon was soft in pinks and blues with the dusk
seeming to last forever, tangled in the bare branches
We followed the hedgerows and the world began fragmenting into diamond shapes
that hung from the trees like Christmas ornaments, or persimmons,
brightening up our insides, warming from the flickers of light.

You asked me what I was feeling
and all I could say was ‘red copper river
silver sizzle and the burn inside the cold.’

There were persimmon trees everywhere,
and the winter bareness, dotted with perfect orange spheres
from afar was enticing to look at
yet no one wanted to eat.
Often pecked by birds, or rotting on the ground
the persimmons hardly reminded of gourmet fare.
To think they were once
the prized forbidden fruit.





WATCHWORD

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