Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Peter Holvoet-Hanssen

THE PRINCESS IN THE GLASS MIRROR

1

                        In every stage of life is given
                        A warning voice, it speaks from Heaven


Two thousand mice slept in two thousand matchboxes.
King Rat in his air balloon coloured everything in his flight: a
Friesian cow became a Belgian flag, mooed in shock until
it rained frogs. But still there fell no pennies from heaven.

A lamppost that waved and betrayed a young couple to death. After
25 minutes the girl was reanimated. A white dove that
flew against your window the night she departed this life. Did she call
on the emergency frequency? The dove on the roof stared at you. Don’t ask
why. Coincidence or no coincidence: that wavelength. Inflation everywhere.

            Brain-dead.
            Death leads life in randomly snipped-off courses.
            In youth it whispers as a friend.

            Is she still alive, pearl-fisherman?
            She is still alive.


2

                        In joy and grief, in ease and care,
                       In every age, prepare, prepare.


Reynard, you’d amicably asked the rat to leave.
Two weeks later he lay on the lawn. You tattered and torn.

’99 frogs took a horse to Paris.’ You saw a raven fly
to the other side of the world to make it dark.
Ice on fire. Mouse in trap. What song haunted your head?
Come, father, come on home with me.

Her pony mourns and dances to the thunder. Silverplate green.
Around her starry bed the family flattened like the clouds.

           The magic lantern has been put out.
           Mother stays strong, continues talking to her daughter.
           Somewhere she can hear me still, she thinks.

           Is she dead, child on the pier?
           Dead she is.

De prinses in de glazen spiegel

De prinses in de glazen spiegel

1

                        In every stage of life is given
                        A warning voice, it speaks from Heaven


Tweeduizend muizen sliepen in tweeduizend lucifersdoosjes.
Koning Rat in zijn luchtballon kleurde alles in zijn vlucht: een
zwart-witte koe werd een Belgische vlag, loeide in shock tot
het kikkers regende. Maar nog viel geen stuiver uit de hemel.

Een lichtmast die wenkte en een stel aan de dood verried. Na
25 minuten werd het meisje gereanimeerd. Een witte duif die
tegen je raam vloog de nacht toen zij het leven liet. Riep ze op
de noodfrequentie? De duif op het dak keek je aan. Vraag niet
waarom. Toeval en geen toeval: die golflengte. Inflatie alom.

            Hersendood.
            Dood leidt het leven in lukraak afgeknipte banen.
            In youth it whispers as a friend.

            Leeft zij nog, parelvisser?
            Nog leeft zij.


2

                        In joy and grief, in ease and care,
                        In every age, prepare, prepare.


Reynaerdijn, je had de rat vriendelijk verzocht te vertrekken.
Twee weken later lag hij in het midden van de tuin. Jij in puin.

‘99 kikkers pakten een paard naar Parijs.’ Je zag een raaf naar
de andere kant van de wereld vliegen om het donker te maken.
IJs in brand. Muis in val. Welk liedje spookte door je hoofd?
Kom vader, kom huiswaarts met mij.

Haar pony treurt en danst op de donder. Verzilverd groen.
Rond haar sterrenbed het gezin platgeslagen als de wolken.

            De toverlantaarn is uitgedoofd.
            Moeder houdt zich sterk, blijft tegen haar dochter praten.
            Ergens moet ze me nog horen, denkt zij.

            Is zij dood, kind op de pier?
            Dood zij is.
Close

THE PRINCESS IN THE GLASS MIRROR

1

                        In every stage of life is given
                        A warning voice, it speaks from Heaven


Two thousand mice slept in two thousand matchboxes.
King Rat in his air balloon coloured everything in his flight: a
Friesian cow became a Belgian flag, mooed in shock until
it rained frogs. But still there fell no pennies from heaven.

A lamppost that waved and betrayed a young couple to death. After
25 minutes the girl was reanimated. A white dove that
flew against your window the night she departed this life. Did she call
on the emergency frequency? The dove on the roof stared at you. Don’t ask
why. Coincidence or no coincidence: that wavelength. Inflation everywhere.

            Brain-dead.
            Death leads life in randomly snipped-off courses.
            In youth it whispers as a friend.

            Is she still alive, pearl-fisherman?
            She is still alive.


2

                        In joy and grief, in ease and care,
                       In every age, prepare, prepare.


Reynard, you’d amicably asked the rat to leave.
Two weeks later he lay on the lawn. You tattered and torn.

’99 frogs took a horse to Paris.’ You saw a raven fly
to the other side of the world to make it dark.
Ice on fire. Mouse in trap. What song haunted your head?
Come, father, come on home with me.

Her pony mourns and dances to the thunder. Silverplate green.
Around her starry bed the family flattened like the clouds.

           The magic lantern has been put out.
           Mother stays strong, continues talking to her daughter.
           Somewhere she can hear me still, she thinks.

           Is she dead, child on the pier?
           Dead she is.

THE PRINCESS IN THE GLASS MIRROR

1

                        In every stage of life is given
                        A warning voice, it speaks from Heaven


Two thousand mice slept in two thousand matchboxes.
King Rat in his air balloon coloured everything in his flight: a
Friesian cow became a Belgian flag, mooed in shock until
it rained frogs. But still there fell no pennies from heaven.

A lamppost that waved and betrayed a young couple to death. After
25 minutes the girl was reanimated. A white dove that
flew against your window the night she departed this life. Did she call
on the emergency frequency? The dove on the roof stared at you. Don’t ask
why. Coincidence or no coincidence: that wavelength. Inflation everywhere.

            Brain-dead.
            Death leads life in randomly snipped-off courses.
            In youth it whispers as a friend.

            Is she still alive, pearl-fisherman?
            She is still alive.


2

                        In joy and grief, in ease and care,
                       In every age, prepare, prepare.


Reynard, you’d amicably asked the rat to leave.
Two weeks later he lay on the lawn. You tattered and torn.

’99 frogs took a horse to Paris.’ You saw a raven fly
to the other side of the world to make it dark.
Ice on fire. Mouse in trap. What song haunted your head?
Come, father, come on home with me.

Her pony mourns and dances to the thunder. Silverplate green.
Around her starry bed the family flattened like the clouds.

           The magic lantern has been put out.
           Mother stays strong, continues talking to her daughter.
           Somewhere she can hear me still, she thinks.

           Is she dead, child on the pier?
           Dead she 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