Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Rutger Kopland

postcard from a greek island

Herman, I was going to write you a card,
one of those silly postcards, complete with a joke
about, well, you know - you know about what,

but I heard you had already died
before I’d found a joke to tell.

I’m still alive, our conversation is not finished,
but these last few days I live bent over, over words
I cross out, write again -

What were we talking about, where had we
got to, without expecting death
you don’t write poetry, we’d both
touchingly agreed on that

poetry was happiness, the happiness of finding a few words
that wanted to share a moment together
before death came to fetch us,

a joke, a joke left carefully unsaid
about death, crossing this out and writing it again,
that was poetry.

So I’ll never see you again.

These last days I live bent over, before all that,
before that shy body, that melancholy head
with which you spoke, before all that
is buried alive,

I mean, I live bent over that card,
you know the sort, far too blue a sea,
far too blue a sky:
Happy days in Greece.

kaart van een grieks eiland

kaart van een grieks eiland

Herman, ik had je nog een kaart willen schrijven,
zo’n lullige ansicht, voorzien van een grap
over, nou ja, je weet wel waarover,

maar ik hoorde datje al dood was
voor ik een grap had gevonden.

Ik leef nog, ons gesprek is niet af,
maar ik leef deze laatste dagen gebogen, over woorden
die ik doorstreep, weer opschrijf -

Waar hadden we het over, waar
waren we gebleven, zonder de dood te verwachten
schrijf je geen poëzie, daar waren we
het hartroerend over eens,

poëzie was geluk, het geluk om een paar woorden
te vinden die even bij elkaar wilden horen
voor de dood ons kwam halen,

een grap, een zorgvuldig verzwegen grap
om de dood, deze doorstrepen en weer opschrijven,
zo was poëzie.

Ik zal je dus nooit meer zien.

Ik leef deze laatste dagen gebogen, voor dat alles,
voor dat verlegen lichaam, dat weemoedige hoofd
waarmee je sprak, voor dat alles
levend wordt begraven,

ik bedoel, ik leef gebogen over die kaart,
je weet wel, zo\'n veel te blauwe zee,
zo\'n veel te blauwe hemel:
Happy days in Greece.
Close

postcard from a greek island

Herman, I was going to write you a card,
one of those silly postcards, complete with a joke
about, well, you know - you know about what,

but I heard you had already died
before I’d found a joke to tell.

I’m still alive, our conversation is not finished,
but these last few days I live bent over, over words
I cross out, write again -

What were we talking about, where had we
got to, without expecting death
you don’t write poetry, we’d both
touchingly agreed on that

poetry was happiness, the happiness of finding a few words
that wanted to share a moment together
before death came to fetch us,

a joke, a joke left carefully unsaid
about death, crossing this out and writing it again,
that was poetry.

So I’ll never see you again.

These last days I live bent over, before all that,
before that shy body, that melancholy head
with which you spoke, before all that
is buried alive,

I mean, I live bent over that card,
you know the sort, far too blue a sea,
far too blue a sky:
Happy days in Greece.

postcard from a greek island

Herman, I was going to write you a card,
one of those silly postcards, complete with a joke
about, well, you know - you know about what,

but I heard you had already died
before I’d found a joke to tell.

I’m still alive, our conversation is not finished,
but these last few days I live bent over, over words
I cross out, write again -

What were we talking about, where had we
got to, without expecting death
you don’t write poetry, we’d both
touchingly agreed on that

poetry was happiness, the happiness of finding a few words
that wanted to share a moment together
before death came to fetch us,

a joke, a joke left carefully unsaid
about death, crossing this out and writing it again,
that was poetry.

So I’ll never see you again.

These last days I live bent over, before all that,
before that shy body, that melancholy head
with which you spoke, before all that
is buried alive,

I mean, I live bent over that card,
you know the sort, far too blue a sea,
far too blue a sky:
Happy days in Greece.
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