Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Mustafa Kör

PASTORAL

Forty. In my development it’s a symbolic number.
Infants may only go outdoors after forty days.
Forty days fasting. Forty times transgressing
 

I have reached it just like that.
But I was a child of the steppes
I learned my mores on red earth

Then life entered our house just like that
carried off my father’s breath and mother’s wings
snapped for the first time. My Arcadia in revolt 

When I lay for dead in a Limburg ditch
they kissed my eyes like a North Sea in February
I heard them through the frost that took my breath away
 

The hiss of poplar trees. Ferocious sheepdogs.
My wounds. My flag and faith. The mountains
where partisans and wolves lay hidden. Forty
 

thousand jet beads on my dreamcatcher

PASTORALE

PASTORALE

Veertig. Symbolisch getal in mijn vorming.
Borelingen mogen pas buiten na veertig dagen.
Veertig dagen vasten. Veertig keer zondigen 

Zomaar ben ik het geworden.
Maar ik was een steppenkind
leerde de mores op rode aarde

Toen stapte het leven gewoon ons huis binnen
nam mijn vaders adem mee en braken moeders
vleugels voor het eerst. Mijn Arcadië in opstand 

Toen ik voor dood lag in een Limburgse greppel
kusten ze mijn ogen als een Noordzee in februari
ik hoorde ze door de vorst die mijn adem benam 

Het geruis van populieren. Woeste herdershonden.
Mijn schaafwonden. Mijn vlag en geloof. De bergen
waar partizanen en wolven scholen. Veertig duizend 

ravenzwarte kralen aan mijn dromenvanger

Close

PASTORAL

Forty. In my development it’s a symbolic number.
Infants may only go outdoors after forty days.
Forty days fasting. Forty times transgressing
 

I have reached it just like that.
But I was a child of the steppes
I learned my mores on red earth

Then life entered our house just like that
carried off my father’s breath and mother’s wings
snapped for the first time. My Arcadia in revolt 

When I lay for dead in a Limburg ditch
they kissed my eyes like a North Sea in February
I heard them through the frost that took my breath away
 

The hiss of poplar trees. Ferocious sheepdogs.
My wounds. My flag and faith. The mountains
where partisans and wolves lay hidden. Forty
 

thousand jet beads on my dreamcatcher

PASTORAL

Forty. In my development it’s a symbolic number.
Infants may only go outdoors after forty days.
Forty days fasting. Forty times transgressing
 

I have reached it just like that.
But I was a child of the steppes
I learned my mores on red earth

Then life entered our house just like that
carried off my father’s breath and mother’s wings
snapped for the first time. My Arcadia in revolt 

When I lay for dead in a Limburg ditch
they kissed my eyes like a North Sea in February
I heard them through the frost that took my breath away
 

The hiss of poplar trees. Ferocious sheepdogs.
My wounds. My flag and faith. The mountains
where partisans and wolves lay hidden. Forty
 

thousand jet beads on my dreamcatcher

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