Good news. A very fine young Dutch poet, who also writes and published in English, Nikki Dekker, has translated several of Mark Boog's poems from the Dutch for Eyewear. Boog is one of the most popular and criticaly appreciated poets currently writing in The Netherlands. Here they are, published here online for the first time.
It seems it will rain
It seems it will rain.
In silent anticipation the grey morning,
which just can’t help being dry, little.
Somewhere the relief of expectations
that come true, no matter how bleak. Not to rain
The other, accomplished, and the shortcomings,
they complete each other. Illustrations,
nothing but illustrations.
On the bed, in the room that looks colourless, bled to death,
a colourless figure. White, scrawny and forthcoming
the facade and the linens.
What is the bed doing in the living room?
The bed lives in the living room.
It will rain, it is dry.
How can something not exist
of which we harbour a presumption?
Such are the questions that keep us going,
that keep us standing, tenuous as a heron
brooding at that waterside,
the clear water a horrific mirror –
find a fucking fish like that,
we only see ourselves, presume ourselves
in the bewitched wrinkling.
Because profit and loss
are so hard to distinguish,
we do not distinguish.
Then what do we see?
How the same repeats itself?
It does not repeat itself. Even we can see that.
The weather? The weather! Predicted by those better than us
it nonetheless withdraws itself. Overwhelms, overthrows,
And high, higher than we thought possible, birds.
There is always hope
This is the way in which I wish to waste my life,
not the way in which you wish to waste your life.
No matter how much I value feedback, shut up.
Let the fish question, along the surface search for breath,
give them the bowl they wish for: have. Catch them only
for hunger or by way of gentle pastime. Or just because.
Still unexpected. That they didn’t see it coming,
of course surely saw it coming, that they until the end,
until the early, redeeming, way too early redeeming end,
And somewhere gods, amount unknown,
who for example hover and stay unruffled.
It lightens the path to the supermarket
barely, to know that the path is unlit.
We lose ourselves in blissful rationalizing,
which is thoughtlessness but then lovelier.
We guard the unsaid bravely, fanatical,
as fuming dogs their prison.
Behind us the signposts
The fact that decisions have already been made
before we make them, ought to reassure
but does not, as is decreed,
and bearable is merely the knowledge
that we know everything, or at least nearly everything,
in any case enough. We reason ourselves a way
through the raging landscape,
which would immediately be overgrown
with asphalt, if it existed. Still we twist
the pompous signposts behind us. At the loss
of them who follow us. Our example,
after all, can hardly be called exemplary.
Among the people
Wide spreading himself he goes.
The streets empty, actually empty.
Others? As little as possible.
They hinder the wide, the being.
Nonetheless: the stars, somewhere the stars,
recognized by street lanterns.
In other seasons too, there are problems,
but now they particularly catch the eye.
Teeth bare, hair erect, froth
in the corners of his mouth – facing us,
the Other, who makes us what we are.
It is finally Spring, still a bit chilly,
bright weather. Wasn’t it a long winter?
Sun, birds, coffee, news, no news,
children, body that won’t co-operate.
Hat off. Rolled up sleeves. Deep and
dark growling. Cautious orbit.
To shake the outstretched hand,
the smile and the greeting. The day. The day!
The above poems were translated from the series Nergens Vis (Nowhere Fish) as published in Het Liegend Konijn (The Lying Rabbit) issue 2, October 2011. They will be included in Boog’s latest collection, Maar zingend (But Singing), is forthcoming from Publisher Cossee in January 2013.
Nikki Dekker (Amersfoort, 1989) writes and translates in Dutch and English.