Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Stefan Hertmans

LATE FORMS

Just that one cloud we saw,
in nothing ever resembling anything else,
suddenly appearing like a funnel above the hill
umbilical pink and deep purple, veined and hollow,
a barrel full of evening wind and menace,
probably a few miles wide,
an enormous oyster drifting in time.

Could I from such a distance see the spot
where, years ago, you and I lay entangled
on a wooden bench, in breezy spring
and bright white light, waving young leaf,
capricious forms, a forest path
blindly leading to a face;

perhaps I could have briefly
seen that cloud appear, even
then, in your dreamlike deep;

for nothing betrays an old force
so much as being silent and disappearing.

Late vormen

Late vormen

Alleen die ene wolk zagen wij,
in niets ook maar aan iets anders ooit gelijk
boven de heuvel als een trechter plots verschijnen
navelstrengroze en dieppaars, dooraderd en hol,
een vat vol avondwind en dreiging,
misschien wel kilometers wijd,
een reusachtige oester drijvend in de tijd.

Kon ik de plek vanop zo’n afstand zien
waarop jij en ik, jaren terug, verstrengeld
lagen op een houten bank, in voorjaarswind
en schel wit licht, waaiend jong blad,
grillige vormen, een bospad dat
blind leidt naar een gezicht;

misschien dat ik die wolk
toen al een ogenblik in
jouw droomachtig diep
had kunnen zien verschijnen;

want niets verraadt een oude kracht
zo zeer als zwijgen en verdwijnen.
Close

LATE FORMS

Just that one cloud we saw,
in nothing ever resembling anything else,
suddenly appearing like a funnel above the hill
umbilical pink and deep purple, veined and hollow,
a barrel full of evening wind and menace,
probably a few miles wide,
an enormous oyster drifting in time.

Could I from such a distance see the spot
where, years ago, you and I lay entangled
on a wooden bench, in breezy spring
and bright white light, waving young leaf,
capricious forms, a forest path
blindly leading to a face;

perhaps I could have briefly
seen that cloud appear, even
then, in your dreamlike deep;

for nothing betrays an old force
so much as being silent and disappearing.

LATE FORMS

Just that one cloud we saw,
in nothing ever resembling anything else,
suddenly appearing like a funnel above the hill
umbilical pink and deep purple, veined and hollow,
a barrel full of evening wind and menace,
probably a few miles wide,
an enormous oyster drifting in time.

Could I from such a distance see the spot
where, years ago, you and I lay entangled
on a wooden bench, in breezy spring
and bright white light, waving young leaf,
capricious forms, a forest path
blindly leading to a face;

perhaps I could have briefly
seen that cloud appear, even
then, in your dreamlike deep;

for nothing betrays an old force
so much as being silent and disappearing.
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