Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Peter Holvoet-Hanssen

SONG FOR THE DEAD

Upsadaisy. From hobby-horse to hearse over the cobblestones.
It drizzled when grandmother was buried.

In September her daughter scrubs the grave though no one
ever comes by. My knees are ruined, she muses. So many
wasted years. If I ever get Alzheimer’s, give me a jab. Or:
poor old granny was afraid the rabbits would nibble at her toes
in the cemetery. When my time comes, I’m going to let myself be
cremated. Mr Death’s a gourmet underground.

In the mist above the graves: a little room at her house. Grey
dove stares at the tube, doesn’t recognise her. ‘I only get twenty
degrees and the TV guide offers only lousy programmes. You’re
not sleeping with that man from downstairs, are you? How could you? He’s
a thief, I hide my money.’

The smell of burning potato leaves. Mum says goodbye
to the swans. The skies are heavy, the mud sucks. Arthritis
in the shoulder. Quickly back to the house.

A radio drama in the living room. Nobody listens.
The hit parade. Anti-wrinkle cream. And a rosary in the drawer.

Dodenlied

Dodenlied

Hopsa. faldera. Van hobbelpaard tot lijkauto over de kasseien.
Het druilde toen grootmoeder werd begraven.

In september schrobt haar dochter het graf al komt er nooit
iemand langs. Mijn knieën zijn kapot, mijmert ze. Zo veel
verloren jaren. Geef mij een spuitje als ik Alzheimer krijg. Of:
arme bonne-maman had schrik dat de konijnen op het kerkhof
aan haar tenen zouden knagen. Als het zover is, laat ik mij
cremeren. In de grond is magere Hein een lekkerbek.

In de mist over de graven: een kamertje bij haar thuis. Grijze
duif staart naar de buis, herkent haar niet. \'Ik heb maar twintig
graden en de televisiegids geeft geen goede programma\'s. Gij
slaapt toch niet met die man van beneden? Hoe kunt ge! Hij is
een dief, ik verstop mijn geld.\'

De geur van brandend aardappelkruid. Moeder neemt afscheid
van de zwanen. De lucht drukt zwaar, de modder zuigt. Artritis
in de schouder. Vlug naar huis.

Een hoorspel op de radio in de woonkamer. Niemand luistert.
De hitparade. Anti-rimpelcrème. En een rozenkrans in de lade.
Close

SONG FOR THE DEAD

Upsadaisy. From hobby-horse to hearse over the cobblestones.
It drizzled when grandmother was buried.

In September her daughter scrubs the grave though no one
ever comes by. My knees are ruined, she muses. So many
wasted years. If I ever get Alzheimer’s, give me a jab. Or:
poor old granny was afraid the rabbits would nibble at her toes
in the cemetery. When my time comes, I’m going to let myself be
cremated. Mr Death’s a gourmet underground.

In the mist above the graves: a little room at her house. Grey
dove stares at the tube, doesn’t recognise her. ‘I only get twenty
degrees and the TV guide offers only lousy programmes. You’re
not sleeping with that man from downstairs, are you? How could you? He’s
a thief, I hide my money.’

The smell of burning potato leaves. Mum says goodbye
to the swans. The skies are heavy, the mud sucks. Arthritis
in the shoulder. Quickly back to the house.

A radio drama in the living room. Nobody listens.
The hit parade. Anti-wrinkle cream. And a rosary in the drawer.

SONG FOR THE DEAD

Upsadaisy. From hobby-horse to hearse over the cobblestones.
It drizzled when grandmother was buried.

In September her daughter scrubs the grave though no one
ever comes by. My knees are ruined, she muses. So many
wasted years. If I ever get Alzheimer’s, give me a jab. Or:
poor old granny was afraid the rabbits would nibble at her toes
in the cemetery. When my time comes, I’m going to let myself be
cremated. Mr Death’s a gourmet underground.

In the mist above the graves: a little room at her house. Grey
dove stares at the tube, doesn’t recognise her. ‘I only get twenty
degrees and the TV guide offers only lousy programmes. You’re
not sleeping with that man from downstairs, are you? How could you? He’s
a thief, I hide my money.’

The smell of burning potato leaves. Mum says goodbye
to the swans. The skies are heavy, the mud sucks. Arthritis
in the shoulder. Quickly back to the house.

A radio drama in the living room. Nobody listens.
The hit parade. Anti-wrinkle cream. And a rosary in the drawer.
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