ENGLISH LANGUAGE TRANSLATIONS
The air’s inert. Each silence listens to the silence.
The house is deader than a snow winter’s night.
—The cauldron has been scoured where soggy swill once seethed,
the beast’s outside. Sluggish wise fingers fumble;
the snow quivers; she stares askance…. And the day is
like a dead woman whom I’m not allowed to love….
—The day is empty. Hear the horses stamping in the stable.
The day’s void; the hollow Christmas bells are sounding….
that their desire did feed and that their lust will slay.
With the rancor they fed my yearning thoughts
and I grew beautiful, and had not grasped their envy….
Now is the time, my God, when they will slaughter me
and—naught that my resistance can fix its fear upon….
(from De gulden schaduw, 1910)
in which the summer’s torch begins to smoke and gutter,
then shudders, and recoils….
who, knowing you are there, autumn compassion,
know myself the more alone;
perpetual sailor in his water furrows
who never to harbor came:
that, ever longing for this autumnal dying,
after winter knows it’s spring….
—Again my autumn blood burns in beseeching gestures;
—How the gold of the chestnut trees is bronzing!
The silver aster blooms…
—Translated from the Dutch by Tanis Guest
seeking to penetrate the unfathomable void
to where it pierces the gaze of God’s eye;
from early green to final purple glow,
but which knows that its smallness cannot be snuffed out;
who only then through rags of mother-of-pearl
lifts their blond bellies to the blowing light;
are inaccessible and secret rays
gathered together in one crystal tear;
no, just that flesh, that flesh and wretched oozing,
and the lowly beast that on the great beast dances;