Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Marjolijn van Heemstra

YOLK

My first made it no further than a small
cardboard box, too wet for a grave. The doctor
indicated approximately the head, a ridiculous
beginning, a pinprick, there was no person there
to be seen, we held it to be a yolk, fertilised
accidentally. It slithered into the sink, like something
made for the clear water that sucked it away
and not for a cot.

But, time and again, there is a week like this in which a
first conker sits safely ensconced in its shell,
goats are stalled, the garden chairs are decked with sturdy
waterproof protective sheaths, everything seeks cover
and finds shelter. The time of year in which the one
takes care of the other, the leaf of the bumblebee,
the ground of the shoot, and the cold releases a warmth in me
broader than my own body, a warmth like an arm
stretching out from me, grasping
and missing

like the arms of the stick insects
that I kept in a home-made wooden cage,
and fed with ivy, the legs for ever lifted
stretched out as if their cool, green bodies wanted
to be picked up. Sometimes, by accident
I closed the cage too quickly
and a leg broke
but it didn't matter; whatever the stick insects lost
grew back again, regeneration.
Undoing loss.

DOOIER

DOOIER

Mijn eerste schopte het niet verder dan een klein
kartonnen bakje, te nat voor een graf. De arts
wees bij benadering het hoofd aan, een lachwekkend
begin, een speldenprik, er was in hem (of het?) geen mens
te bekennen, we hielden het op een dooier, per ongeluk
bevrucht. Soepel gleed het de gootsteen in, als iets
gemaakt voor het heldere water dat het meezoog
en niet voor een wieg.

Maar steeds komt er een week als deze waarin een
eerste kastanje veilig verschanst ligt in zijn huls,
geiten op stal gaan, het zeil stevig en waterafstotend
om de tuinstoel wordt geknoopt, alles dekking zoekt
en toevlucht vindt. Het jaargetijde waarin het een
zich ontfermt over het ander, blad over hommel,
grond over stek, en de kou in mij een warmte losmaakt
wijder dan mijn eigen lijf, een warmte als een arm
die zich uit mij strekt en tast
en misgrijpt 

als de armen van de wandelende takken
die ik hield in een zelfgetimmerd hok,
en voerde met klimop, hun poten permanent omhoog
gestrekt alsof hun koele groene lijven wilden
worden opgetild. Soms sloot ik
per ongeluk het hok te vroeg,
dan brak een poot
maar dat gaf niet, want wat de takken verloren
groeide weer terug, regeneratie.
Ongedaan maken van verlies.

 

Close

YOLK

My first made it no further than a small
cardboard box, too wet for a grave. The doctor
indicated approximately the head, a ridiculous
beginning, a pinprick, there was no person there
to be seen, we held it to be a yolk, fertilised
accidentally. It slithered into the sink, like something
made for the clear water that sucked it away
and not for a cot.

But, time and again, there is a week like this in which a
first conker sits safely ensconced in its shell,
goats are stalled, the garden chairs are decked with sturdy
waterproof protective sheaths, everything seeks cover
and finds shelter. The time of year in which the one
takes care of the other, the leaf of the bumblebee,
the ground of the shoot, and the cold releases a warmth in me
broader than my own body, a warmth like an arm
stretching out from me, grasping
and missing

like the arms of the stick insects
that I kept in a home-made wooden cage,
and fed with ivy, the legs for ever lifted
stretched out as if their cool, green bodies wanted
to be picked up. Sometimes, by accident
I closed the cage too quickly
and a leg broke
but it didn't matter; whatever the stick insects lost
grew back again, regeneration.
Undoing loss.

YOLK

My first made it no further than a small
cardboard box, too wet for a grave. The doctor
indicated approximately the head, a ridiculous
beginning, a pinprick, there was no person there
to be seen, we held it to be a yolk, fertilised
accidentally. It slithered into the sink, like something
made for the clear water that sucked it away
and not for a cot.

But, time and again, there is a week like this in which a
first conker sits safely ensconced in its shell,
goats are stalled, the garden chairs are decked with sturdy
waterproof protective sheaths, everything seeks cover
and finds shelter. The time of year in which the one
takes care of the other, the leaf of the bumblebee,
the ground of the shoot, and the cold releases a warmth in me
broader than my own body, a warmth like an arm
stretching out from me, grasping
and missing

like the arms of the stick insects
that I kept in a home-made wooden cage,
and fed with ivy, the legs for ever lifted
stretched out as if their cool, green bodies wanted
to be picked up. Sometimes, by accident
I closed the cage too quickly
and a leg broke
but it didn't matter; whatever the stick insects lost
grew back again, regeneration.
Undoing loss.

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