Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Judith Herzberg

SPECTACLES

He always used to look out through the OO’s
of his DOOR, but now there are glasses in front
of his eyes that enlarge the business.
Sometimes he knows he’s a professor
and not a stupid one. There’s so much to see
and larger may not be the right word.
More precise. Deeper. The most in the finest
detail. He sees the numbers on the farthest bus.
Or is it the farthest? Who says how far
a man is supposed to see, where is the limit?
This irks him. His eye-hunger is aroused
and even if he sees more sharply the wrinkles
in his skin, the seeing itself is younger.
He would like to take the whole optician’s guild
in his arms and embrace it, same as he always
wanted to squeeze his mother especially
when he felt that because of her he belonged
to the whole world and the other way round a little.
He considers binoculars and a microscope.
There’s still so much more, but he sees the meaning
of his life when he comes home, stares up
from his bed and makes out the newest crack
in the ceiling. That’s how far it is.

BRIL

BRIL

Hij keek steeds door de oo’s van zijn kantoor
maar nu zitten er glazen voor zijn ogen die
de zaak vergroten. Soms weet hij zich professor
en geen domme ook. Zo veel is er te zien
en groter is misschien ook niet het juiste woord;
preciezer, dieper, een maximum tot in miniem
detail – hij ziet de nummers op de verste tram.
Of is het wel de verste? Wie zegt hoe ver
een mens moet kunnen zien, waar is de grens?
Dit ergert hem. Zijn kijkhonger is opgewekt
hij ziet wel beter hoe zijn huid verlept maar
het zien zelf is jonger. Hij zou het hele brille-
slijpersgilde in zijn armen willen nemen
en omhelzen zoals hij vroeger ook zijn moeder
wilde smoren juist als hij voelde
dat hij door haar de hele wereld toebehoorde
en andersom een beetje. Hij overweegt
een verrekijker en een microscoop; er is
nog zoveel méér, maar ziet de zin
van zijn bestaan al als hij thuisgekomen,
van zijn bed naar boven staart
en daar de allernieuwste scheur in het plafond ontwaart.
Zo ver is het.
Close

SPECTACLES

He always used to look out through the OO’s
of his DOOR, but now there are glasses in front
of his eyes that enlarge the business.
Sometimes he knows he’s a professor
and not a stupid one. There’s so much to see
and larger may not be the right word.
More precise. Deeper. The most in the finest
detail. He sees the numbers on the farthest bus.
Or is it the farthest? Who says how far
a man is supposed to see, where is the limit?
This irks him. His eye-hunger is aroused
and even if he sees more sharply the wrinkles
in his skin, the seeing itself is younger.
He would like to take the whole optician’s guild
in his arms and embrace it, same as he always
wanted to squeeze his mother especially
when he felt that because of her he belonged
to the whole world and the other way round a little.
He considers binoculars and a microscope.
There’s still so much more, but he sees the meaning
of his life when he comes home, stares up
from his bed and makes out the newest crack
in the ceiling. That’s how far it is.

SPECTACLES

He always used to look out through the OO’s
of his DOOR, but now there are glasses in front
of his eyes that enlarge the business.
Sometimes he knows he’s a professor
and not a stupid one. There’s so much to see
and larger may not be the right word.
More precise. Deeper. The most in the finest
detail. He sees the numbers on the farthest bus.
Or is it the farthest? Who says how far
a man is supposed to see, where is the limit?
This irks him. His eye-hunger is aroused
and even if he sees more sharply the wrinkles
in his skin, the seeing itself is younger.
He would like to take the whole optician’s guild
in his arms and embrace it, same as he always
wanted to squeeze his mother especially
when he felt that because of her he belonged
to the whole world and the other way round a little.
He considers binoculars and a microscope.
There’s still so much more, but he sees the meaning
of his life when he comes home, stares up
from his bed and makes out the newest crack
in the ceiling. That’s how far it is.
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