Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Judith Herzberg

sentimental

They are sitting in the car in a traffic jam,
the radio is on, exhaust fumes
and music, a song he thinks
is beautiful, about
violins on fire and a dance which goes on
until the end of love.
Not the song but what he says
makes her unable to look at him.
Now something else enters the car:
music and exhaust fumes and shyness.
Shyness because the dance
until the end of love is much too much
stretches too far into the past,
too far ahead, his soul
swells suddenly unprotected, so unprotected,
she only says: \'Sentimental\'.
Yes he says, sentimental.
She will never know if he knew
how she seized upon that word.
He will never know what she
understood, how far and far,
she will never know that he
understood that she understood
what suddenly came over him, unless
someone, an historian perhaps,
later exactly reconstructs the way it used to go
with people in traffic jams with radios.

sentimenteel

sentimenteel

Ze zitten in de auto in een file,
de radio staat aan, uitlaatgassen
en muziek, een lied waarvan hij zegt
dat hij het mooi vindt, over
brandende violen en een dans die doorgaat
tot het einde van de liefde.
Niet het lied maar wat hij zegt
maakt dat zij hem niet aan kan kijken.
Nu komt er in de auto nog iets bij:
muziek en uitlaatgassen en verlegenheid.
Verlegenheid omdat de dans
tot aan het eind van liefde veel te veel
is, te ver naar vroeger reikt,
te ver vooruit, zijn ziel
puilt opeens onbeschermd, zo onbeschermd,
zij zegt alleen: \'Sentimenteel\'.
Ja zegt hij, sentimenteel.
Nooit zal zij weten of hij weet
hoe zij dat woord heeft aangegrepen.
Nooit zal hij weten wat zij
begrepen heeft, hoe ver en ver,
nooit zal zij weten dat hij
begreep dat zij begreep
wat hem opeens beving, tenzij
iemand, geschiedschrijver misschien,
later precies reconstrueert hoe dat met mensen
toen en toen met radio\'s in files ging.
Close

sentimental

They are sitting in the car in a traffic jam,
the radio is on, exhaust fumes
and music, a song he thinks
is beautiful, about
violins on fire and a dance which goes on
until the end of love.
Not the song but what he says
makes her unable to look at him.
Now something else enters the car:
music and exhaust fumes and shyness.
Shyness because the dance
until the end of love is much too much
stretches too far into the past,
too far ahead, his soul
swells suddenly unprotected, so unprotected,
she only says: \'Sentimental\'.
Yes he says, sentimental.
She will never know if he knew
how she seized upon that word.
He will never know what she
understood, how far and far,
she will never know that he
understood that she understood
what suddenly came over him, unless
someone, an historian perhaps,
later exactly reconstructs the way it used to go
with people in traffic jams with radios.

sentimental

They are sitting in the car in a traffic jam,
the radio is on, exhaust fumes
and music, a song he thinks
is beautiful, about
violins on fire and a dance which goes on
until the end of love.
Not the song but what he says
makes her unable to look at him.
Now something else enters the car:
music and exhaust fumes and shyness.
Shyness because the dance
until the end of love is much too much
stretches too far into the past,
too far ahead, his soul
swells suddenly unprotected, so unprotected,
she only says: \'Sentimental\'.
Yes he says, sentimental.
She will never know if he knew
how she seized upon that word.
He will never know what she
understood, how far and far,
she will never know that he
understood that she understood
what suddenly came over him, unless
someone, an historian perhaps,
later exactly reconstructs the way it used to go
with people in traffic jams with radios.
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