Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Anneke Brassinga

THE HAPPY ENDING

What on earth are we doing here, we do not
ask ourselves as long as the jigging of tunes
keeps coming from the speaker cabinets, hanging
invisible in the trees, and we go on thinking
that it’s birds there twittering away –

What are we doing here? Just feel first if
our feet are warm enough and their knobbles
bearably painful, then take a good listen
to the gentle bubbling in the deep recesses of
our gut, old soothsayer that lets us know

if we’re once more dying of hunger if not
thirst, there’s no way of knowing otherwise
and please let it not go awry in the
here, the silting up, the woody sand-drift
where the lemonade stalls one after the other

appear to be mirages, if, panting, you thought
you were there – in the here where you walk and,
since you constantly cannot refrain from once more
looking back to see where you have come from,
keep on stumbling over tree stumps,

getting grazed by the rough bark of oaks
and scratched by rust- or blood-red barbed wire,
remains of civilisation. And the more you turn
your head, slogging on, at the magnificent
sunrise motionless at your back above the distant

trees that rustle inaudibly, the more you
know: that waking with the freshness of Tahitian limes,
that paradise-like first bite of tropical
delight in a covering of milk chocolate –
the blindingly pristine does not return.

What are we doing here? What we are not doing
is taking heed. Or is the abyss invisible, or
is there no abyss until you fall into it,
shoot along a smooth rock wall? It happens
swiftly. In the grass by the stream at the bottom

God waits, cheerful as a mother who all that
time has stayed at home, with a bowl of peanuts,
sherry in the glass. And from beyond the flowering
trees, at last there they come, the missing ones
for whom you unmissable, whom you could not bear to miss.

DE GOEDE AFLOOP

DE GOEDE AFLOOP

Wat doen we hier eigenlijk, vragen we
ons niet af zolang het huppelen van wijsjes
uit de luidsprekerboxen voortgaat, in de bomen
hangen ze onzichtbaar, en wij maar denken
dat het vogels zijn die kwinkeleren –

wat doen we hier? Eerst eens voelen of
de voeten warm genoeg en niet al te pijnlijk
verknobbeld zijn, dan even goed luisteren
naar het lichte geborrel in de diepte van ons
ingewand, oude waarzegster die laat weten

of we alweer verrekken van honger zoniet
dorst, je komt er immers niet achter anders
en het moet niet in het honderd lopen in het
hier, het verzandende, de bossige verstuiving
waar de limonadekraampjes de een na de ander

luchtspiegeling blijken als je hijgend dacht
er te zijn – in het hier waar je wandelt en,
door steeds het niet te kunnen laten nog weer
om te kijken naar waar je vandaan kwam,
niet ophoudt te struikelen over stronken,

schrammen op te lopen van ruwe eikenschors
en roest- of bloedrood prikkeldraad,
resten van beschaving. En hoe vaker je terug-
blikt, voortzwoegende, op de wonderschone
zonsopgang roerloos in je rug boven het verre

geboomte dat onhoorbaar ruist, hoe beter je
weet: dat ontwaken met de frisheid van limoenen,
die paradijselijke eerste hap van de tropische
verrassing in een jasje van melkchocolade –
het verblindend prille komt niet weerom.

Wat doen we hier? Wat we niet doen
is opletten. Of is de afgrond onzichtbaar, of
bestaat er geen afgrond voordat je erin valt,
langs gladde steenwand suist? Het gaat
gezwind. In het gras naast de beek op de bodem

wacht God, zo blij als een moeder die al die
tijd thuis is gebleven, met ’n schaaltje pinda’s,
sherry in het glas. En vanachter de bloeiende
bomen, eindelijk daar komen ze, de vermisten
voor wie je onmisbaar, die jij niet missen kon.
Close

THE HAPPY ENDING

What on earth are we doing here, we do not
ask ourselves as long as the jigging of tunes
keeps coming from the speaker cabinets, hanging
invisible in the trees, and we go on thinking
that it’s birds there twittering away –

What are we doing here? Just feel first if
our feet are warm enough and their knobbles
bearably painful, then take a good listen
to the gentle bubbling in the deep recesses of
our gut, old soothsayer that lets us know

if we’re once more dying of hunger if not
thirst, there’s no way of knowing otherwise
and please let it not go awry in the
here, the silting up, the woody sand-drift
where the lemonade stalls one after the other

appear to be mirages, if, panting, you thought
you were there – in the here where you walk and,
since you constantly cannot refrain from once more
looking back to see where you have come from,
keep on stumbling over tree stumps,

getting grazed by the rough bark of oaks
and scratched by rust- or blood-red barbed wire,
remains of civilisation. And the more you turn
your head, slogging on, at the magnificent
sunrise motionless at your back above the distant

trees that rustle inaudibly, the more you
know: that waking with the freshness of Tahitian limes,
that paradise-like first bite of tropical
delight in a covering of milk chocolate –
the blindingly pristine does not return.

What are we doing here? What we are not doing
is taking heed. Or is the abyss invisible, or
is there no abyss until you fall into it,
shoot along a smooth rock wall? It happens
swiftly. In the grass by the stream at the bottom

God waits, cheerful as a mother who all that
time has stayed at home, with a bowl of peanuts,
sherry in the glass. And from beyond the flowering
trees, at last there they come, the missing ones
for whom you unmissable, whom you could not bear to miss.

THE HAPPY ENDING

What on earth are we doing here, we do not
ask ourselves as long as the jigging of tunes
keeps coming from the speaker cabinets, hanging
invisible in the trees, and we go on thinking
that it’s birds there twittering away –

What are we doing here? Just feel first if
our feet are warm enough and their knobbles
bearably painful, then take a good listen
to the gentle bubbling in the deep recesses of
our gut, old soothsayer that lets us know

if we’re once more dying of hunger if not
thirst, there’s no way of knowing otherwise
and please let it not go awry in the
here, the silting up, the woody sand-drift
where the lemonade stalls one after the other

appear to be mirages, if, panting, you thought
you were there – in the here where you walk and,
since you constantly cannot refrain from once more
looking back to see where you have come from,
keep on stumbling over tree stumps,

getting grazed by the rough bark of oaks
and scratched by rust- or blood-red barbed wire,
remains of civilisation. And the more you turn
your head, slogging on, at the magnificent
sunrise motionless at your back above the distant

trees that rustle inaudibly, the more you
know: that waking with the freshness of Tahitian limes,
that paradise-like first bite of tropical
delight in a covering of milk chocolate –
the blindingly pristine does not return.

What are we doing here? What we are not doing
is taking heed. Or is the abyss invisible, or
is there no abyss until you fall into it,
shoot along a smooth rock wall? It happens
swiftly. In the grass by the stream at the bottom

God waits, cheerful as a mother who all that
time has stayed at home, with a bowl of peanuts,
sherry in the glass. And from beyond the flowering
trees, at last there they come, the missing ones
for whom you unmissable, whom you could not bear to miss.
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère