Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Judith Herzberg

OW!

Could there be such a thing, a law
for the conservation of pain,
so that if we fight it here,
someone somewhere will be hurt
worse than the sound of ow?

Or does pain, like energy
(sorry, analogy), transform itself
not into heat, but somehow
into a kind of freeze
worse than the sound of ow?

Or could it be the pain we drive out
takes on a different form,
unlaughed, unsung, disavowed,
stiffens our pain-thirsty bodies
aching for the sound of ow?

AU

AU

Zou dat er zijn, een wet
tot het behoud van pijn?
Zodat, als wij hem hier bestrijden
iemand, ergens, pijn moet lijden
erger dan het woordje au?

Of zou pijn, als energie
(even nog, analogie)
zich omzetten, niet in warmte,
maar bijvoorbeeld in een armte
erger dan het woordje au?

Of zou de pijn die wij verdrijven
in een ándere vorm hier blijven
lachloos, zangloos doen verstijven
onze pijn-dorstige lijven
hunkerend naar het woordje au?
Close

OW!

Could there be such a thing, a law
for the conservation of pain,
so that if we fight it here,
someone somewhere will be hurt
worse than the sound of ow?

Or does pain, like energy
(sorry, analogy), transform itself
not into heat, but somehow
into a kind of freeze
worse than the sound of ow?

Or could it be the pain we drive out
takes on a different form,
unlaughed, unsung, disavowed,
stiffens our pain-thirsty bodies
aching for the sound of ow?

OW!

Could there be such a thing, a law
for the conservation of pain,
so that if we fight it here,
someone somewhere will be hurt
worse than the sound of ow?

Or does pain, like energy
(sorry, analogy), transform itself
not into heat, but somehow
into a kind of freeze
worse than the sound of ow?

Or could it be the pain we drive out
takes on a different form,
unlaughed, unsung, disavowed,
stiffens our pain-thirsty bodies
aching for the sound of ow?
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
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