Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Paul Snoek

Memoirs

How could it be?
Originally I had hoped
to go through the house unnoticed,
disguised and redundant as a man
amongst the houses and their inhabitants.

And carry my grief as a commonplace
till it grew as translucent
and bearable as daylight.

I thought it was sufficient
to sob all night in a long, thick bed
and cry one time to the heart’s core.
But no.

I’m used to crying in the first person
and alone.
So I pretend I’m smiling
and live in my body with all my limbs.

How could it be
I did not know that my grief
of love smooths out the fierce contrast
and that life is not an ultimate
but a standstill.

Even so it’s a pity
there is no secret language
a convenient code
that I can stealthily write in
about the phenomenon nostalgia
and pretend I’m writing about the moon
yes, writing fat books
about the so-called moonlight.

But in reality
about the house I lived in
yet left,
with the warmth of so much future regret
in my marrow.

My skin turns white from it
and whiter yet my trembling,
when I read in bright mirrors
the ancient texts about the eye.

The eye turned porcelain.

When I see how clear are the traces
my shadow leaves in my past.
My shadow, people,
that is so lonely it
no more maintains, no more recognizes
its bearer’s body.

A language, as I said,
that I can write with
about the heart and its thermic inertia.

About love
in the empty house of my memory.

About my life,
whose future I vaguely remember.

Memoires

Memoires

Hoe is het mogelijk?
Oorspronkelijk had ik gehoopt
onopgemerkt doorheen het huis te gaan,
vermomd en overtollig als een mens
tussen de huizen en hun mensen.

En mijn verdriet te dragen alledaags
tot het doorschijnend werd
en draaglijk als daglicht.

Ik dacht dat het voldoende was
een nacht te snikken in een lang, dik bed
en eens tot op het hartsbeen door te huilen.
Maar neen.

Ik ben gewoon te wenen in de eerste persoon
en alleen.
Ik doe dus maar alsof ik glimlach
en met al mijn ledematen in mijn lichaam woon.

Hoe is het mogelijk
dat ik niet wist dat verdriet
van de liefde effent het felle reliëf
en dat het leven geen hoogtepunt is
maar een stilstand.

Toch is het jammer
dat er geen sluiktaal bestaat,
een gerie.ijke code,
waarin ik heimelijk kan schrijven
over het verschijnsel heimwee
en doen alsof ik schrijf over de maan,
ja, dikke boeken schrijf
over het zogezegde maanlicht.

Maar in werkelijkheid
over het huis dat ik bewoonde
en toch verlaten heb,
met in mijn merg de warmte
van nog zoveel toekomstig spijt.

Mijn huid wordt er wit van
en nog witter mijn huiver,
wanneer ik in heldere spiegels lees
de oude teksten over het oog.

Het porselein geworden oog.

Wanneer ik zie hoe duidelijk de sporen zijn
die mijn schaduw achterlaat in mijn verleden.
Mijn schaduw, mensen,
die van eenzaamheid
het lichaam van zijn drager
niet meer behoudt, niet meer herkent.

Een taal, zoals ik zei,
waarmee ik schrijven kan
over het hart en zijn termische traagheid.

Over de liefde
in het leegstaand huis van mijn geheugen.

Over mijn leven,
waarvan ik mij vaag de toekomst herinner.
Close

Memoirs

How could it be?
Originally I had hoped
to go through the house unnoticed,
disguised and redundant as a man
amongst the houses and their inhabitants.

And carry my grief as a commonplace
till it grew as translucent
and bearable as daylight.

I thought it was sufficient
to sob all night in a long, thick bed
and cry one time to the heart’s core.
But no.

I’m used to crying in the first person
and alone.
So I pretend I’m smiling
and live in my body with all my limbs.

How could it be
I did not know that my grief
of love smooths out the fierce contrast
and that life is not an ultimate
but a standstill.

Even so it’s a pity
there is no secret language
a convenient code
that I can stealthily write in
about the phenomenon nostalgia
and pretend I’m writing about the moon
yes, writing fat books
about the so-called moonlight.

But in reality
about the house I lived in
yet left,
with the warmth of so much future regret
in my marrow.

My skin turns white from it
and whiter yet my trembling,
when I read in bright mirrors
the ancient texts about the eye.

The eye turned porcelain.

When I see how clear are the traces
my shadow leaves in my past.
My shadow, people,
that is so lonely it
no more maintains, no more recognizes
its bearer’s body.

A language, as I said,
that I can write with
about the heart and its thermic inertia.

About love
in the empty house of my memory.

About my life,
whose future I vaguely remember.

Memoirs

How could it be?
Originally I had hoped
to go through the house unnoticed,
disguised and redundant as a man
amongst the houses and their inhabitants.

And carry my grief as a commonplace
till it grew as translucent
and bearable as daylight.

I thought it was sufficient
to sob all night in a long, thick bed
and cry one time to the heart’s core.
But no.

I’m used to crying in the first person
and alone.
So I pretend I’m smiling
and live in my body with all my limbs.

How could it be
I did not know that my grief
of love smooths out the fierce contrast
and that life is not an ultimate
but a standstill.

Even so it’s a pity
there is no secret language
a convenient code
that I can stealthily write in
about the phenomenon nostalgia
and pretend I’m writing about the moon
yes, writing fat books
about the so-called moonlight.

But in reality
about the house I lived in
yet left,
with the warmth of so much future regret
in my marrow.

My skin turns white from it
and whiter yet my trembling,
when I read in bright mirrors
the ancient texts about the eye.

The eye turned porcelain.

When I see how clear are the traces
my shadow leaves in my past.
My shadow, people,
that is so lonely it
no more maintains, no more recognizes
its bearer’s body.

A language, as I said,
that I can write with
about the heart and its thermic inertia.

About love
in the empty house of my memory.

About my life,
whose future I vaguely remember.
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