Rita Dove (1955): The underside of history

De pestmeester van Paul Fürst, Der Doctor Schnabel von Rom. 1656. BELGAIMAGE
"Boccaccio: Jaren van de Plaag”

Zelfs ‘s nachts de lucht rinkelde en rinkelde.
Door het dikke gedraaide glas
zag hij de priesters voorbij bezemen
in hun gepiekte kappen, doden verzamelend.
Op iedere stoep een schotel zoet geronnen
rook brandend. Hij sloot de ogen
om de klap te horen
van vlees op vlees, een
vloeibaar gekraak zoals een druif
als ze op de tong gebroken wordt.

Als jongen zwierf hij
langs dezelfde straten, verliefd
op hij wist niet wie. O de
rieten sonatines en toorts-
flikkering op de koele slijkkanten
van de brug en stoom
in pluimen golvend
door de slachthuisgaten -
twintig jaar.
Uit het licht gerold
leunde hij met zijn wang
tegen de rijen gebonden leder:

koel water. Fiametta!
Hij had haar op honderd
manieren beschreven; iedere keer
bleek ze ontrouw. Kon hij alleen
maar deze stad in twee breken
zodat de maan de wormstekige straten
zou zuiveren! Of
wegwandelen van dit alles, gewoon
weer opnieuw verliefd worden…
Dove has had a tremendous impact on American letters, not only through the scope of her poetry, but also through her work as an advocate. She was named US poet laureate in 1993. Just 40 years old at the time of her appointment, she was the youngest poet ever elected to the position. She was also the first African American to hold the title (Gwendolyn Brooks had been named consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress in 1985). Dove was also the first poet laureate to see the appointment as a mandate to generate public interest in the literary arts. She traveled widely during her term, giving readings in a variety of venues from schools to hospitals. 

Dove noted in the Washington Post that her appointment was “significant in terms of the message it sends about the diversity of our culture and our literature.” Dove has continued to play an important role in the reception of American poetry through her work as editor of the Penguin Anthology of 20th-Century American Poetry (2011). The omnibus collection of a century-worth of American verse stirred controversy and generated new dialogues about the legacy of American poetry, and its current state. Many praised the anthology for its inclusiveness and scope, however. Katha Pollitt in The Nation called it “comprehensive and broad-ranging,” whatever its omissions.

Rita Dove is the recipient of many honors, including the Pulitzer Prize and the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she is a Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia and lives in Charlottesville.
Dove is a sensual, lyrical poet, and her poems often explore female black experience and social history. Her intimate style is said to be capable of dissolving the barriers between the present and the past. Featuring famous black American women, such as Rosa Parks and Billie Holiday, as well as more anonymous, every‑day characters, her poems explore what Dove calls the ‘underside of history’.
“Boccaccio: The Plague Years”

Even at night the air rang and rang.
Through the thick swirled glass
he watched the priests sweep past
in their peaked hoods, collecting death.
On each stoop a dish burning sweet
clotted smoke. He closed his eyes
to hear the slap
of flesh onto flesh, a
liquid crack like a grape
as it breaks on the tongue.

As a boy he had slipped
along the same streets, in love with
he didn’t know whom. O the

reeded sonatinas and torch
flick on the chill slick sides
of the bridge and steam
rising in plumes
from the slaughterhouse vents—
twenty years.
Rolling out of the light
he leaned his cheek
against the rows of bound leather:

cool water. Fiammetta!
He had described her
a hundred ways; each time
she had proven unfaithful. If only
he could crack this city in two
so the moon would scour
the wormed streets clean! Or
walk away from it all, simply
falling in love again . . .

Reprinted from Collected Poems: 1974-2004. Copyright (c) 2016 by Rita Dove. publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
THE BREATHING, THE ENDLESS NEWS

Every god is lonely, an exile
composed of parts:  elk horn,
cloven hoof.  Receptacle

for wishes, each god is empty
without us, penitent,
raking our yards into windblown piles...

Children know this; they are
the trailings of gods.  Their eyes
hold nothing at birth then fill slowly

with the myth of ourselves.  Not so the dolls,
out for the count, each toe pouting from
the slumped-over toddler clothes:

no blossoming there.  So we
give our children dolls, and
they know just what to do -

line them up and shoot them.
With every execution
doll and god grow stronger
Foto door Min Thein op Pexels.com
Heart to Hearth

It's neither red
nor sweet.
It doesn't melt
or turn over,
break or hearden,
so it can't feel
pain,
yearning,
regret.

It doesn't have
a tip tot spin on,
it isn't even
shapely -
just a thick clutch
of muscle,
lopsided,
mute.  Still,
I feel it inside
its cage sounding
a dull tattoo:
I want, I want -

but I can open it:
there's no key.
I can't wear it
on my sleeve,
or tell you from
the bottom of it
how I feel.  Here,
it's all yours, now -
but you'll have
to take me,
too.
Foto door Pixabay op Pexels.com

https://www.poetryinternational.org/pi/poet/23705/Rita-Dove/nl/tile

Voor Poetry International werden verschillende van haar verzen naar het Nederlands vertaald. Klik hierboven.

Herensokken onderweg, een tekst

Geloof me, herensokken zijn babbelaars. Gehecht aan hun linker- of rechtervoet, bekijken zij van daaruit de wereld.

De rechtse heeft het over 'de stevige stap'.
De linkse steekt haar voorbij, denkt: ze overdrijft.
En weer ingehaald blijft ze even op gelijke hoogte,
-de heer begroet een passant-
en nu erg naderbij glimlacht ze met de stoere,
zegt dat ze linksbenigen heeft gekend
(-ze liegt want eergisteren lag ze nog in het sokkenrek-)
die ook wel wisten wat een stapje in de wereld was.
De sokken van de passant zwijgen wijselijk, afgezakt.

Weer op pad wijst de linkse op haar straatzicht: de wereld
ligt aan haar voet terwijl de rechtse dichtbij de huizen loopt.
Mijn verbinding met de bewoners terwijl jij avonturiert, ja het wilde
leven waarbij je toch het pluizen niet mag vergeten om nog te zwijgen
van de natte snuffelsnuit eigen aan een ordinaire straathond.
Voor een etalage wrijft de wandelaar met de rechtervoet even
achter het linkse onderbeen, enfin zegt zij terwijl de rechter
teruggekeerd in uitgangspositie zachtjes sorry mummelt. Weet je
vervolgt zij, het is waarschijnlijk de polyamide, 25% tja, maar
al is de rest volgens het etiket wel van zuiver scheerwol hoor.

Of dat belangrijk is, vraagt de linkse, ik heb het meer voor
'de huidvriendelijkheid' en of het nu het 'Argyle' patroon zou
zijn of het Burlington-logo in de zool… Toch, toch, geen enkele
voet loopt zo vlotjes als in een sok met comfort-boord, antwoordt rechts.
Edinburgh-kousen zijn de ware partner door de week.

'Ik heb die gentleman hierboven aardig horen vloeken', zegt de linkse.
'Vrouwvriendelijk kan ik hem niet noemen, heb je gezien hoe hij ons
uitzwiert en zij de boel mag opruimen! Geheel per toeval kwamen
we deze morgen aan dezelfde voet van gisteren. Zie je mij als rechtse
door het leven wandelen en jou fungeren aan de linkerkant?'

Dat bleek een vraag om over na te denken. Zeker toen de man
na het winkelen op zijn stappen terugkeerde en de linkse langs de huizen
liep terwijl het straatzicht nu voor de rechtse was. 'Orde in 't verkeer, ook
mijn zaak, zei ze dapper. De linker had het over eigendom en bezit.

Heren, zo soepel als uw sokken, moge ook uw denken zijn.
Huidvriendelijkheid echter is van groot belang.
Maar een gentleman zijn is ook mooi meegenomen.
(en leg die sokken ordelijk bij je schoenen, dankuwel)

In afwachting van het onweer

Quelle: WetterOnline / Shutterstock
naderend onweer, regen
Terwijl je de tekst leest kun je het naderende onweer als klankdecor gebruiken, met dank aan het BBC-geluidsarchief.

In afwachting van het onweer

We luisterden.
Tussen bliksem en donderslag was er nog een trage rollende trein.
Boven de wolken?
Neen, dat van die trein dat was geen goed verhaal.
Voor de oorlog niks aan de hand
maar nadat de helft van de families met die treinen...
...
Drie gedachtenpuntjes dus.
Hoe klein ook, die puntjes zouden het droge veld van gekreukte herinneringen
in vuur en vlam zetten -niets brandt zo hevig als gedachten zonder omvang -
verschroeien heet dat, de tactiek van verschroeide aarde- .
Dat is geschiedenis:  een zwart geblakerd landschap als welkom voor de vijand.
Kom kinderen, tijd voor een sprookje.

Er was eens een magazijnier.
Iemand die werkt in een kerkgroot magazijn hoog in de wolken,
volgestapeld met metalen vaten.
Vaten verdriet, vaten verlangen, vaten verrassing.
Hoor je hem bezig?
Hij rolt vaten naar een gat in de wolken.
Hoor je ze rollen?
Dan snijdt de bliksem de vallende vaten open.
Valt de inhoud als koele regen op de uitgedroogde aarde.

Verdriet.
Verlangen.
Verrassing.

Loop naar buiten, kinderen.
De boomgaard geurt naar rijp fruit.
...
's Nachts kun je heel ver horen.
De treinen kwamen leeg terug.
...
Kom kijkers, tijd voor een sprookje.

(Uit ‘Dakloze teksten’, in voorbereiding)

Poems, vehicles for private arguments: Jill Bialosky

Door de tien plagen, stroomde de Nijl-rivier rood van bloed
een gedicht van Jill Bialosky

Door de tien plagen,stroomde de Nijl-rivier rood van bloed, vee
werd ziek, sprinkhanen, steenpuisten, hagelbuien, drie dagen duisternis,

iedere eerstgeborene belaagd door een wrekende engel - je moest de deur
met bloed van een offerlam markeren zodat God die voorbij zou gaan.

Om degenen te identificeren voor deportatie naar de kampen in Nazi-bezet-Oost-Europa, waren zij verplicht een gele Joodse Ster te naaien

op hun jas. Later in de kampen, een witte armband
met een blauwe Joodse Ster rond hun linkerarm gebonden. Ook baby's in koetsen

moesten ze dragen, zuigelingen in de lucht gegooid en als doelen gebruikt
voor machinegeweren. O, heilige oorlog. Omdat iemand een Swastika schilderde

op de deur van een slaapkamer waar drie Joodse studenten huisden,
Joden zullen onze plaats niet innemen, omdat in het complex, alleen de appartementen

van minderheden tekens hadden die hun deur markeerden. Omdat op een college-campus, een Swastika was gesneden in de zuiverheid van wit gevallen sneeuw.

(Excerpt from Asylum c. 2020 by Jill Bialosky, by permission of Alfred A Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC New York.)
Because of the ten plagues, the Nile River ran red with blood.
A Poem by Jill Bialosky

Because of the ten plagues, the Nile River ran red with blood, livestock
diseased, locusts, boils, hailstorms, three days of darkness,

every firstborn threatened by an avenging angel—you had to mark
the door with blood of a sacrificed lamb so that God would pass over it.

Because to identify those when deported to the camps in Nazi-occupied
Eastern Europe they were required to sew a yellow Jewish Star

on their jacket. Later, in the camps, a white armband
with a blue Jewish Star bound on their left arm. Babies in prams, too

had to wear them, infants tossed in the air and used as targets
for machine guns. Oh, holy war. Because someone painted a Swastika

on the door of a dorm room where three Jewish students reside,
Jews will not replace us, because in the complex, only the apartments

of minorities had signs marking their doors. Because on a college
campus, a Swastika was carved into the purity of white fallen snow.

(Excerpt from Asylum c. 2020 by Jill Bialosky, by permission of Alfred A Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC New York.)

Jill Bialosky is the author of four acclaimed collections of poetry, most recently The Players; three critically acclaimed novels, most recently, The Prize; a New York Times best-selling memoir, History of a Suicide: My Sister’s Unfinished Life; and Poetry Will Save Your Life: A Memoir.

Her poems and essays have appeared in Best American Poetry, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, O, The Oprah Magazine, The Kenyon Review, Harvard Review, and The Paris Review, among others. She coedited, with Helen Schulman, the anthology Wanting a Child. She is executive editor and vice president at W. W. Norton & Company. Her work has been a finalist for the James Laughlin Prize, the Patterson Prize, and Books for a Better Life. In 2014, she was honored by the Poetry Society of America for her distinguished contribution to poetry. She lives in New York City.

The Mothers

We loved them.
We got up early
to toast their bagels.
Wrapped them in foil.
We filled their water bottles
and canteens. We washed
and bleached their uniforms,
the mud and dirt
and blood washed clean
of brutality. We marveled
at their bodies,
thighs thick as the trunk
of a spindle pine,
shoulders broad and able,
the way their arms filled out.
The milk they drank.
At the plate we could make out
their particular stance, though each
wore the same uniform as if they were
cadets training for war.
If by chance one looked up at us
and gave us a rise with his chin,
or lifted a hand, we beamed.
We had grown used to their grunts,
mumbles, and refusal to form a full sentence.
We made their beds and rifled through their pockets
and smelled their shirts to see if they were clean.
How else would we know them?
We tried to not ask too many questions
and not to overpraise.
Sometimes they were ashamed of us;
if we laughed too loud,
if one of us talked too long to their friend,
of our faces that had grown coarser.
Can’t you put on lipstick?
We let them roll their eyes,
curse, and grumble at us
after a game if they’d missed a play
or lost. We knew to keep quiet;
the car silent the entire ride home.
What they were to us was inexplicable.
Late at night, after they were home in their beds,
we sat by the window and wondered
when they would leave us
and who they would become
when they left the cocoon of our instruction.
What kind of girl they liked.
We sat in a group and drank our coffee
and prayed that they’d get a hit.
If they fumbled a ball or struck out
we felt sour in the pit of our stomach.
We paced. We couldn’t sit still or talk.
Throughout summer we watched
the trees behind the field grow fuller
and more vibrant and each fall
slowly lose their foliage—
it was as if we wanted to hold on
to every and each leaf.

(Jill Bialosky, "The Mothers" from The Players. Compilation copyright © 2015 by Jill Bialosky. Reprinted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint off Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.)
Source: The Players (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015)
Fathers in the Snow
2.

After father died
the love was all through the house
untamed and sometimes violent.
When the dates came we went up to our rooms
and mother entertained.
Frank Sinatra's "Strangers in the Night,"
the smell of Chanel No.5 in her hair and the laughter.
We sat crouched at the top of the stairs.
In the morning we found mother asleep on the couch
her hair messed, and the smell
of stale liquor in the room.
We knelt on the floor before her,
one by one touched our fingers
over the red flush in her face.
The chipped sunlight through the shutters.
It was a dark continent
we and mother shared;
it was sweet and lonesome,
the wake men left in our house.

(From The End of Desire: Poems, published by Alfred A. Knopf, 1997. Copyright © 1997 by Jill Bialosky.)

‘Poems for me are often vehicles for private arguments. Mostly these arguments have to do with the dichotomies within us as individuals: the pulls between desire and stability; safety and danger; emotion and reason. I’m very interested in these ideas and in my poems I find ways of addressing the questions in a way that interests me and I hope will interest my readers. I’m not aware that my poems seek resolutions per say, but perhaps suggest how we might live in confusion and how this state might be what keeps us most alive.’

Eric Fischl Inexplicable Joy in the Time of Corona, 2020, acrylic and oil on linen, 78″ x 105″

https://www.jillbialosky.com/

‘Adjustments’, gedichten van Alberto Rios (1952)

Fernando Martinez, As If we know 2019: wood, metal, plaster, plastic, acrylic (16” X 14” x 1.5”)
Aanpassingen

Toen koffie voor het eerst in Europa arriveerde,
Werd er naar verwezen als 'Arabische wijn.'

In het San Francisco van de eeuwwisseling,
Begon de bank van Amerika als de Bank van Italië.

Toen Cortès in Tenochtilàn aankwam op 8 november, 1519,
Groette Moctezuma II hem hartelijk en kuste zijn hand.

Dat allemaal. We zijn verbaasd bij de kleinste gebeurtenissen
Die we meemaken, de feiten die ons nu zo vreemd lijken.

Zoals we leven in hun kamers aan de overkant.
In 1935, zegt een bericht, toen Isaac Bashevis Singer

In New York aankwam, hij was toen dertig jaar oud
En kon slechts drie woorden in het Engels spreken:

"Take a chair."
Maar dan leerde hij nog andere woorden. Het hielp.

Isaac Bashevis Singer (Jiddisch: יצחק באַשעוויס זינגער) (Leoncin bij Warschau, 21 november 1904 - Miami, Florida, 24 juli 1991) was een Pools schrijver die in 1943 Amerikaans staatsburger werd. Hij schreef in het Jiddisch. In 1978 werd hij onderscheiden met de Nobelprijs voor Literatuur.
Once there was a cat… 1998
Dmitry Evgenievich Ikonnikov.












"Adjustments”

When coffee first arrived in Europe,
It was referred to as “Arabian wine.”

In turn-of-the-century San Francisco,
The Bank of America began as the Bank of Italy.

When Cortés arrived at Tenochtitlán on November 8, 1519,
Moctezuma II greeted him warmly, and kissed his hand.

All of that. We are amazed by the smallest of things
Coming before us, the facts that seem so strange to us now

As we live in their opposite rooms.
In 1935, reports say, when Isaac Bashevis Singer

Arrived in New York, he was thirty years old
And could speak only three words in English:

“Take a chair.”
But then he learned other words. It helped.

From Not Go Away is My Name by Alberto Ríos. Copper Canyons Press
Foto door Ivo Rainha op Pexels.com

Alberto Ríos, Arizona’s inaugural poet laureate and a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, is the author of eleven collections of poetry, including The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body, a finalist for the National Book Award. His most recent book is A Small Story About the Sky, preceded by The Dangerous Shirt and The Theater of Night, which received the PEN/Beyond Margins Award. Published in the The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, and other journals, he has also written three short story collections and a memoir, Capirotada, about growing up on the Mexican border. Ríos is also the host of the PBS program Books & Co. University Professor of Letters, Regent’s Professor, and the Katharine C. Turner Chair in English, Ríos has taught at Arizona State University for over 35 years. In 2017, he was named director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing.

The Morning News

Seasons will not be still,
Filled with the migrations of birds

Making their black script on the open sky,
Those hasty notes of centuries-old goodbye.

The clouds and the heavens make a memo book,
A diary of it all, if only for a day.

The birds write much, but then rewrite all the time,
News continuous, these small pencil tips in flight.

They are not alone in the day’s story.
Jets, too, make their writing on the blue paper —

Jets, and at night, satellites and space stations.
Like it or not, we are all subscribers to the world’s newspaper

Written big in the frame of the window in front of us.
Today, we wave to neighborhood riders on horses.

We hear the woodpecker at work on the chimney.
There is news everywhere.

All this small courage,
So that we might turn the page.

Foto door freestocks.org op Pexels.com

Alberto Ríos has won acclaim as a writer who uses language in lyrical and unexpected ways in both his poems and short stories, which reflect his Chicano heritage and contain elements of magical realism. “Ríos’s poetry is a kind of magical storytelling, and his stories are a kind of magical poetry,” commented Jose David Saldivar in the Dictionary of Literary Biography. Ríos grew up in a Spanish-speaking family but was forced to speak English in school, leading him to develop a third language, “one that was all our own,” as he described it. Ríos once commented, “I have been around other languages all my life, particularly Spanish, and have too often thought of the act of translation as simply giving something two names. But it is not so, not at all. Rather than filling out, a second name for something pushes it forward, forward and backward, and gives it another life.”

Foto door Pixabay op Pexels.com
We are a tribe

We plant seeds in the ground
And dreams in the sky,

Hoping that, someday, the roots of one
Will meet the upstretched limbs of the other.

It has not happened yet.
We share the sky, all of us, the whole world:

Together, we are a tribe of eyes that look upward,
Even as we stand on uncertain ground.

The earth beneath us moves, quiet and wild,
Its boundaries shifting, its muscles wavering.

The dream of sky is indifferent to all this,
Impervious to borders, fences, reservations.

The sky is our common home, the place we all live.
There we are in the world together.

The dream of sky requires no passport.
Blue will not be fenced. Blue will not be a crime.

Look up. Stay awhile. Let your breathing slow.
Know that you always have a home here.
Foto door Donald Tong op Pexels.com

Resistance and persistence collide in Alberto Rios’s sixteenth book, Not Go Away Is My Name, a book about past and present, changing and unchanging, letting go and holding on. The borderline between Mexico and the U.S. looms large, and Ríos sheds light on and challenges our sensory experiences of everyday objects. At the same time, family memories and stories of the Sonoron desert weave throughout as Ríos travels in duality: between places, between times, and between lives. In searching for and treasuring what ought to be remembered, Ríos creates an ode to family life, love and community, and realizes “All I can do is not go away. / Not go away is my name.”

Foto door Brett Sayles op Pexels.com
I Do Not Go Away

You have terror and I have tears.
In this cruel way, we are for each other.

We are at war. You always win.
But I do not go away.

You shoot me again. Again, I do not go away.
You shoot with bullets, but you have nothing else.
Foto door Pixabay op Pexels.com

‘As if we know’ is van Fernando Martinez. Fernando Martinez was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and studied bio-engineering at Polytechnic Institute of Technology and furniture design and fine arts at S.U.N.Y., Purchase, NY. His work has been shown in solo shows at the P-Cafe in New Rochelle, NY, the Solar Gallery in East Hampton, NY and the Bison Legacy Gallery in Cody, Wyoming. Group shows include the Miranda Fine Arts Gallery and Art-Miami Solar Gallery in East Hampton, NY, as well as the Mobile Show Galleria in Boston, among other East Coast venues.

Foto door Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n op Pexels.com

De maan, mannen en de mode, tekst bij een schilderij van Casper David Friedrich

De maan, de mannen en de mode, ziedaar een klankrijke samenvatting van dit intussen overbekende schilderij van Friedrich gemaakt tussen 1825-1830 of samengevat:

The mood of pious contemplation relates to fascination with the moon as expressed in contemporary poetry, literature, philosophy, and music. Both figures are seen from the back so that the viewer can participate in their communion with nature, which the Romantics saw as a manifestation of the Sublime.
Although the landscape is imaginary, it is based on studies after nature that Friedrich had made in various regions at different times. Both men wear Old German dress, which had been adopted in 1815 by radical students as an expression of opposition to the ultraconservative policies then being enforced in the wake of the Napoleonic Wars. The staunchly patriotic Friedrich deliberately ignored the 1819 royal decree forbidding this practice and depicted figures in traditional costume until his death.

Hier staan  schilder Caspar David Friedrich
en zijn vriend-collega August Heinrich,
beiden in het maanlicht, een praktijk
die in romantische dagen nergens opzien baarde.

Maar dat zij kleren dragen als weleer de Duitsers deden
werd door ultra conservatieve heersers
streng verboden in Restauratie-tijden.
Radicale studenten tooiden zich bij voorkeur
in traditionele spullen, terwijl hier te lande een jeansbroek
nog luidop vloeken was, jaren na expo 58.

Twee dandy' s in het maanlicht.
Een protest tegen stijlloze gehoorzaamheid:
marsjeren vraagt een ander uniform.
De elegante Robert de Montesquiou zou juichen
als hij ons in pantalon, gilet en vest
de maan zag bekijken.

Voor wie de mannenvriendschap schuwt
blijft er nog een versie met een vrouw als gezellin
bij ’t nachtelijk mediteren.

Wie enig vermoeden heeft van andere zaken
kan een klacht indienen
of een ingezonden stuk lanceren.

https://www.tuttartpitturasculturapoesiamusica.com/2011/12/caspar-david-friedrich-1774-1840-german.html

‘Gebed’: gedicht van Laura Kasischke

't Vuil op de voorruit en 't sproeiers spul helemaal leeg, zo
rijden we samen verder in een zon-grijze ruit van vuil
en stof. Mijn zoon

zet de passagierszetel zo ver als mogelijk achteruit, sluit
zijn ogen. Ik draai mijn raampje open voor een beetje
frissere lucht. Het is zo

ongelofelijk fris daar buiten.

Regen, voorbij.
Plassen achtergebleven
in greppels. Zwarte spiegels als we passeren

er in weerspiegeld, meen ik, maar ik
moet daarvoor oversteken en knielen langs de kant
van de weg om het te weten.

Dag voor de boeg-

geen reden om hiervoor de radio
te laten spelen.
Het huis waarin wij gewoon waren te leven

bestaat nog
op een snapshot, waarop
het vergeelt in het plakboek van een andere familie.

En een man op de fiets
rijdt naast ons
al een lange tijd, heel gezwind, tot hij tenslotte

hij kan ons niet bijhouden-

maar voor hij wegglijdt
achter ons, groet hij ons
met zijn linkerhand-

een geheugensteuntje:

dat iedere aparte seconde-
dat iedere gevangene in de dodencel-
dat iedere naam op elke grafsteen-

dat overal waar wij gaan-
dat iedere dag, zoals de deze, mag
zijn zoals de deze, zal
zijn zoals elke andere, nog nooit geweest, nooit

eindigend. Zo
dank u. En, oh-
Ik vergat het bijna te zeggen: amen.

The windshield’s dirty, the squirter stuff’s all gone, so
we drive on together into a sun-gray pane of grime
and dust. My son

puts the passenger seat back as far as it will go, closes
his eyes. I crack my window open for a bit
of fresher air. It’s so

incredibly fresh out there.

Rain, over.
Puddles left
in ditches. Black mirrors with our passing

reflected in them, I suppose, but I’d
have to pull over and kneel down at the side
of the road to know.

The day ahead—

for this, the radio
doesn’t need to be played.
The house we used to live in

still exists
in a snapshot, in which
it yellows in another family’s scrapbook.

And a man on a bicycle
rides beside us
for a long time, very swiftly, until finally

he can’t keep up—

but before he slips
behind us, he salutes us
with his left hand—

a reminder:

that every single second—
that every prisoner on death row—
that every name on every tombstone—

that everywhere we go—
that every day, like this one, will
be like every other, having never been, never

ending. So
thank you. And, oh—
I almost forgot to say it: amen.

“This prayer of thanksgiving was inspired by exactly the things I put in the poem: the ordinary drive with my son beside me in the passenger seat; the man who rode his bike beside us and saluted us; the weather and the sense of stability and gratitude for stability I had at that moment; the sense that things were going to last and be preserved, if only in memories and snapshots, glimpses of recognition passed between strangers, or between human beings and what felt, at that moment to me, like a benevolent creator who deserved some acknowledgment, even if we are really, all of us, on death row, even if the immortality I felt I got a glimpse of might have been the kind of immortality one achieves having had her name chiseled onto a tombstone. But, I had a lovely glimpse of eternity there, for a minute.”
—Laura Kasischke (in ‘Poem-a-day)

Foto Léonard Misonne collectie

Laura Kasischke was born and raised in Grand Rapids, MI. She received an MFA from the University of Michigan in 1987.

In 1991, she published her first collection of poetry, Wild Brides (New York University Press). She is also the author of Where Now: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2017), which was long-listed for the National Book Award; The Infinitesimals (Copper Canyon Press, 2014); Space, In Chains (Copper Canyon Press, 2011); Lillies Without (Copper Canyon Press, 2007); Gardening in the Dark (Ausable Press, 2004); Dance and Disappear (University of Massachusetts Press, 2002); What It Wasn’t (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2002); Fire and Flower (Alice James Books, 1998); and Housekeeping In A Dream (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1995).

She is the author of the short story collection If A Stranger Approaches You (Sarabande Books, 2013). She has also published ten novels, of which three have been made into feature films.

She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as several Pushcart Prizes and numerous poetry awards. She teaches at the University of Michigan, and lives in Chelsea, Michigan.

Bezoek:

https://poets.org/poem-a-day

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/laura-kasischke

MAAK VAN DE NACHT EEN VLAGGETJE

Mayerson__The_Abduction_of_Ganymede_(Rescued_from_the_Eagles_Nest)_(email)__2006__oil_on_linen__48.5_x_61_in._123.19_x_154.94_cm.jpg

Maak van de nacht

een vlaggetje

en zwaai

als de koning der afwezigen

voorbijkomt.

Dag oud kind,

zegt de vorst van het kleinste land

waar de maan

over de bergen van gisteren rolt

zonder pijn te doen.

Dag koning,

zegt de jongen zacht.

Het beetje wind

dat ik maak

mag je koortsig hart verkoelen.

Maak van de nacht een vlaggetje.

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(piano sonate nr 13 in b flat major kv 333 andante cantabile van w.a.mozart)