Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Gerrit Kouwenaar

How does one kill time, inherit

How does one kill time, inherit
the poem that’s rolling in it, the nightingale is
striking down language with talons of steel



dust keeps blowing into the clock, snow
is keeping the afterbirth warm, freshly laid the egg
is unshelling itself on the red-hot slate



when love surrendered to death again, had spent
itself in someone else’s flesh, how
it would bleed if ink
were not so white –

Hoe besterft men de tijd, erft men

Hoe besterft men de tijd, erft men
het steenrijk gedicht, de nachtegaal slaat
met stalen nagels de taal dicht



steeds weer waait stof in de klok, sneeuw
houdt de moederkoek warm, legvers ontpelt
zich het ei op de gloeiende lei



als de liefde nog eenmaal bestierf, in ander
mans vlees zich verteerd had, hoe
zou het bloeden als inkt
niet zo wit was -
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How does one kill time, inherit

How does one kill time, inherit
the poem that’s rolling in it, the nightingale is
striking down language with talons of steel



dust keeps blowing into the clock, snow
is keeping the afterbirth warm, freshly laid the egg
is unshelling itself on the red-hot slate



when love surrendered to death again, had spent
itself in someone else’s flesh, how
it would bleed if ink
were not so white –

How does one kill time, inherit

How does one kill time, inherit
the poem that’s rolling in it, the nightingale is
striking down language with talons of steel



dust keeps blowing into the clock, snow
is keeping the afterbirth warm, freshly laid the egg
is unshelling itself on the red-hot slate



when love surrendered to death again, had spent
itself in someone else’s flesh, how
it would bleed if ink
were not so white –
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Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
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