Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Willem Jan Otten

TO THE BUBBLE-BLOWER

Forty-six years ago, bubble-blower, the great
event took place, in the river-name district
of Amsterdam, just to the west of
my memory – my one and only birth.

Love was showered upon me right away,
as love is showered on those who are most,
most rare and who emerge before your
very eyes, drenched to their naked skin.

I was deemed from the outset to be worth more
than I would ever be in my own eyes.

My most patient poem, my pithiest sentence,
my swiftest pitch into a son’s glove,
have not offset the fact that I then,
on the sole occasion of my birth,

was for those present the world and more besides,

the bubble that mother-of-pearl comes drifting
through the garden and does not know the breath
that blew, cannot turn into the wind.

TOT DE BELLENBLAZER

TOT DE BELLENBLAZER

Zesenveertig jaar geleden, bellenblazer,
greep het plaats, in de Rivierenbuurt
van Amsterdam, even ten westen van
mijn geheugen: mijn ene geboorte.

Er werd terstond van mij gehouden,
zoals er wordt gehouden van de zeer,
zeer zeldzamen die voor je ogen
ontstaan en dan kleddernaakt zijn.

Ik was van meet af aan van groter waarde
dan ik in mijn eigen ogen worden zou.

Mijn geduldigste gedicht, mijn bondigste zin,
mijn strakste worp in de handschoen van een zoon,
hebben niet vergolden dat ik toen,
die ene keer dat ik geboren werd,

voor de aanwezigen minstens alles was,

de bel die paarlemoer komt aangedreven
door de tuin en niet de adem kent
die blies, niet terug de wind in kan.
Close

TO THE BUBBLE-BLOWER

Forty-six years ago, bubble-blower, the great
event took place, in the river-name district
of Amsterdam, just to the west of
my memory – my one and only birth.

Love was showered upon me right away,
as love is showered on those who are most,
most rare and who emerge before your
very eyes, drenched to their naked skin.

I was deemed from the outset to be worth more
than I would ever be in my own eyes.

My most patient poem, my pithiest sentence,
my swiftest pitch into a son’s glove,
have not offset the fact that I then,
on the sole occasion of my birth,

was for those present the world and more besides,

the bubble that mother-of-pearl comes drifting
through the garden and does not know the breath
that blew, cannot turn into the wind.

TO THE BUBBLE-BLOWER

Forty-six years ago, bubble-blower, the great
event took place, in the river-name district
of Amsterdam, just to the west of
my memory – my one and only birth.

Love was showered upon me right away,
as love is showered on those who are most,
most rare and who emerge before your
very eyes, drenched to their naked skin.

I was deemed from the outset to be worth more
than I would ever be in my own eyes.

My most patient poem, my pithiest sentence,
my swiftest pitch into a son’s glove,
have not offset the fact that I then,
on the sole occasion of my birth,

was for those present the world and more besides,

the bubble that mother-of-pearl comes drifting
through the garden and does not know the breath
that blew, cannot turn into the wind.
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Prins Bernhard cultuurfonds
Lira fonds
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère