Thursday, 28 July 2016

To the distant princess

One of my favourite Dutch poets is Jan Jacob Slauerhoff. Slauerhoff lived from 1898 to 1936. He was a  Poet, novelist, general practitioner and a ship's doctor. He spent most of his life at sea. Slauerhoff is known to be not a kind man, and had a "difficult character". 
He did write beautiful poetry, like:

J.J. Slauerhoff
JOUW oogen zijn diep en blauw
Als golven in de' oceaan,
Soms loom, vol vrede, soms wild en troebel
Van hartstocht, als zij door de' orkaan.

YOUR eyes are deep blue
As ocean waves
Sometimes languid, full of peace, sometimes wild and cloudy
Of passion, as by hurricane.

I fell in love with this poem: "Voor de verre princes" (To the distant princess). I had to learn it to recite it by heart in high school.  And although not many people will understand any of it (it's about the love of a man to a woman far, far away) it's so much part of my history, I want to keep it close to my heart so I may never forget. And if I forget a few words in the times to come, may I come back and read it with the same wonderment as I read it long, long ago.

Voor de verre prinses

Wij komen nooit meer saam:
De wereld drong zich tussenbeide.
Soms staan wij beiden ’s nachts aan ’t raam,
Maar andre sterren zien we in andre tijden.

Uw land is zo ver van mijn land verwijderd:
Van licht tot verste duisternis—dat ik
Op vleuglen van verlangen rustloos reizend,
U zou begroeten met mijn stervenssnik.

Maar als het waar is dat door grote dromen
Het zwaarst verlangen over wordt gebracht
Tot op de verste ster: dan zal ik komen,
Dan zal ik komen, iedre nacht.

4 comments:

  1. Thank you , Han, for Mr. J.S.
    Beautiful poem, for sure..
    I understand it us your favorite.

    Mona Lisa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Soms staan wij beiden ’s nachts aan ’t raam,
      Maar andre sterren zien we in andre tijden.
      translated:

      We both stand at the window at night,
      But we see different stars in different times.

      Pretty, don't you agree?
      Han

      Delete
    2. Very pretty, Han and sad.
      Don't you agree?

      Mona Lisa

      Delete
    3. There is beauty even in sadness.

      Han

      Delete

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