Hades – III – “Nox”

III – “Nox”

… in de Leeuwenkuil. Achtervolgd
Door het Genetisch Manifest.
Sinds onheuglijke tijden, sinds erbarmelijke tijden.
Sinds zij de stier berijden, bij mensenheugenis.
Waar zwarte monniken knielen tijdens de avondmis.
Zij aan zij neuriën in een woordloos a capella.
In het aanschijn van een goddeloos predella.

Ging hij er vandoor met haar. Onaangenaam getroffen.
Door de steunberen op zijn weg.
Het smalle pad, het bochtige pad, het rechte pad, oh … pad.
Langs graaiende armen van zondige querulanten.
Langs nissen vol enge predikanten.
Naar link! Naar links!
Te ver. Te ver uitgeweken.
Te dicht bij de gapende Afgrond van Ongenade.
Een kuil om snikkend in te vallen.

Transformatorhuis in oprichting.
Corpus Eriugena, eriogena, erogenia.
Plato’s norse blik maait als een lichtbundel,
Als een vlijmscherpe zeis, vastgehouden door een stevige vuurtoren
Door de vochtige duisternis en daar is zij,
Zoekend, zoals Daniël…


III – “Nox”

… in the lion’s den. Chased
By the Genetic Manifesto.
From times immemorial, from times miserable.
Since they ride the bull, from the dawn of time.
Where black monks kneel during evensong.
Humming side by side in a wordless a capella.
In the face of an ungodly predella.

He took off with her. Dismayed.
By the buttresses flying in his trajectory.
The narrow path, the sinuous path, the straight path, oh … path.
Along the groping arms of sinful trouble-makers.
Along recesses filled with creepy ministers.
To the left! To the left!
Too far. Swerved too far.
Too close to the gaping Abyss of Ignominy.
A pit to fall into, sobbing.

Distribution substation in statu nascendi.
Corpus Eriugena, eriogena, erogenia.
Plato’s surly gaze sweeps like a beam of light,
Like a razor-sharp scythe, held by a sturdy lighthouse
Through the damp darkness and there she is,
Searching, like Daniel…


Ok. I’m in the zone now. I’m running slighlty ahead of my schedule. But I have to, because the idea of having to create the illustrations accompanying the poems make me slightly anxious.

Hades II – “Styx”

II – “Styx”

… pathogeen neolithicum, van begin tot eind.
Van uitgang tot ingang.
In een omgekeerde viscositeit. Een vicieuze regurgitatie.
Van een cumplementair complement. Peristilium Pterodactyli.

Wat!? Een dagboek van het Annum Pestilentium.
Verdwenen, verseucht, verkramt! Versuchs doch mal.
Nee. Ik ben dokter Drudd. Dokter Jan Drudd.
Mij krijgen ze niet, mijn masker gaat niet af.

Hoofddeksel, mag ik uw hoofd… uw hoofddeksel?
Nog niet. Want, wie staat daar heupwiegend voor het raam?
Wie is Anna Pestilentia? Eerlijk zeggen.
Verdwenen, verseucht, verkramt! Versuchs noch mal.

Fluvius aestatis, Fluvius nocturnus. Feste feste!!
Want ook de dwergen zijn klein begonnen.
Dat zei de hertog onlangs nog, hij zei het zelf.
Is het alweer zo lang geleden? Hoe lang geleden is het?

Bij de gapende ingang, de geeuwende uitgang.
We stonden aan de rand van de groeve bij Memphis.
Een gietijzeren spiltrap met sierlijke ornamenten.
De diepte in. De diepte in.
Oh steenkolos, hoe sleept men u voort?
En waar zijn de stieren gebleven?
Hij heeft haar niet meegenomen,
Want zij dwaalt door het…



II – Styx

… pathogenic neolithicum, from start to finish.
From exit to entrance.
In a reversed viscosity. A viscous regurgitation
Of a cumplementary complement. Peristilium Pterodactili.

What!? A journal of the Annum Pestilentium.
Lost, verseucht, verkramt! Versuchs doch mal.
No. I’m Dr. Drudd. Dr. John Drudd.
They won’t get me, my mask will not drop.

Hat, can I have your head … your hat?
Not yet. For, who is that person, swaying at the window?
Who is Anna Pestilentia? Be honest.
Gone, verseucht, verkramt! Versuchs doch mal.

Fluvius aestatis, Fluvius nocturnus. Feste feste!!
For the dwarfs have started small too.
The duke said it himself, not that long ago.
Is is that long? How long is it?

At the gaping entrance, the yawning entrance.
We stood at the edge of the pit, near Memphis.
Cast-iron helical stairs with elegant ornaments.
Into the depths, into the depths.
O, colossus of stone, how does one drag you on?
And where are the bulls? Where have they gone?
He did not take her with him,
Because she wanders through the …


*Comment: Well, I didn’t translate some German sentences, because they were not translated in the Dutch poem either.
‘Verseucht’ means ‘poisoned’ by something sick, or dirty.
‘verkramt’ is southern German for ‘lost’.
‘Versuchs doch mal’ can be translated as: ‘Just try it’, ‘have a go at it’.
‘Feste feste’, i think means ‘quick quick’. It comes from Werner Herzog’s movie “Auch die Zwerge haben klein angefangen”.

I’m not going to explain everything, because it might spoil the treasure hunt later on.

Hades I “Serapeum”


… is gelukkig niet echt … eg … eg echt weg
Al weet zij er heg noch steg
In haar rode jurk, blauwe jurk
Rood-blauwe bloemenjurk.

Want het stroomt, alles.
Alles stroomt. Volgens de analoog pathonoom
Is de taartpunt de oorsprong van lipogenese.
Lipopotamus in de Po Popotomac.
Het zwaarste beest in een beest van een kist.
Een granieten kist, diep, diep onder het woestijnzand.
Waar het tentdoek klappert in de hete wind.

Salmonella, Salporeum, Peristilium, Peristalticus.
Serapis, Sepaleum, Serapeum. Apis, Apis!
Waar zijt gij Apis?
Uw kolossale sarcofaag is leeg. Hoe!
Hoe kregen ze dat voor elkaar? Hoe?
Meneer de pathograaf, hoe?

“Ik ben autonoom pathograaf. Ex Officio, zogezegd.
Van de Oostelijke Necropool.”
“Dank u. Aangenaam.”
Lino, linoleums; de zwartste de eerste.
Ik vind het, vind het, want het…

Naar mijn Nederlandse website voor een toelichting.

English translation*


… is not really re re really gone, fortunately
Although she is lost
In her red dress, blue dress
Red-blue flowery dress.

Because it all flows, everything.
Everything is in flux. According to the analogous pathonomist
The piece of cake is the origin of lipogenesis.
Lipopotamus in the Po Popotomac.
The heaviest beast in a beastly coffin.
A chest of granite, deep, deep under the sand of the desert.
Where hot winds flap the canvas of the tent.

Salmonella, Salporeum, Peristilium, Peristalticus.
Serapis, Sepaleum, Serapeum. Apis, Apis!
Apis, where art thou?
Your colossal sarcophagus is empty. How!
How did they do it? How?
Mister pathograph, how?

“I am the autonomous pathographer. Ex Officio, so to say.
Of the Eastern Necropolis.”
“Many thanks. Nice to meet you.”
Lino, linoleums; the blackest go first.
I will find it, find it, because it…


* Ok, I’m not really a translator by trade, so probably someone else might do a better job translating my own poems. When I write in English, official documents, or literary text, poems, or haiku’s, I find it much less difficult to find the right words, because they come to me in English. The poem in Dutch is the first of a series of 48 poems that I will post from today on. They consist primarily of associations, colours, moods, that are derived from a period of uneasy sleep in which I became semi-conscious about the idiotic stuff my mind was producing, while at the same time I more or less realised how closely James Joyce’s ‘Finnegans Wake’ actually approaches dream language. So while floating back and forth between waking and sleeping, at the same time suffering from a bad white wine induced splitting headache, an uncontrollable ‘stream of semi-consciousness’ flowed through my mind. I was standing on the river bank of this stream with a little net, trying to catch some of the jewels that shot past me like small silvery fish. Mostly neologisms, or concatenations of loosely related words, partly repetitive images, talking heads. It was quite fearsome.

This morning I started drafting the first poems in a notebook with 96 pages. I use the recto-side and leave the verso open for notes and clues, hence the 48 poems.

Inspired by the strange phenomenon of “Masquerade” by Kit Williams in the late seventies, I decided to start illustrating this work in progress, and to inoculate the poems with a serum of clues that will eventually lead the person who finds the solution to the location of the Underworld where the likes of Euridice, Orpheus, and Beatrice were lost, and found, and lost. There will be a prize. More details will follow.

See for my Dutch site, freshly started, for an introduction in Dutch.

Hommerage to J.A.A.J. of Dublin

Gouache drawing of colourful shapes and fragmented people by Eelco Bruinsma
“Hommerage to J.A.A.J. of Dublin, stream of consciousness” (© Eelco Bruinsma 2018 – gouache on 250 gsm watercolour paper)

Hommerage to J.A.A.J. of Dublin

Liechtenstein and Wittgenstein
Were all but umbered and saffroned
By mere kandleknights of everwhites
For all the wondrous globulisers to ignore.

And evangelically synecdochistic and stochasmic
Appeared a chance to disappear and dissipate
In multiple monoperplexing spectrometrics
Within two miles from Ramesses’ nihilistic Nilometer.

’t Was with great funferall that
A bottle of Craux Magnon
From the cellars of Faux Mignonne
Was decorkitated and capitulised.

With circumspect glossaries of
Dossaries and red-nosed rosaries
While the words of the good man
Were dissecticised with circumflex
Instrumechanics of hardened zinnober
While reciting spoonfuls of Amens.

(Eelco Bruinsma 2018)

My spell checker didn’t like this poem at all. I had to push cmd-z many times to roll back the autocorrected suggestions while typing the handwritten version. It is obviously a hommage to one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, James (Augustine Aloysius) Joyce (1882-1942). I started reading his works when still at school, ages ago, and never stopped.

Of course there have been many people that tried to imitate his layered language, some attempts are better than others. I do not pretend to compete with either of them. Finnegans Wake is one of the most musical works of literature that I know. When you hear the rare recordings of James Joyce reading a passage from the book, you will instantly know why.

This work is written to be read aloud. Try it with this poem too, with a rolling old-fashioned ‘r’. There is one word in the poem, which is directly cited from Finnegans Wake, perhaps one of the most central concepts in the work. Joyce adepts will immediately spot it, do you?

Still, looking at it, I am quite pleased with a few neologisms.

The image preceded the poem. While I was making the drawing a parallel process started in my head, which eventually became the poem. The illustration is a 29,7 x 42 cm gouache.

Arthur’s koude / Arthur’s coldness

Much of Arthur Schopenhauer's writing is focus...
Much of Arthur Schopenhauer’s writing is focused on the notion of will and its relation to freedom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Arthur had beslist gelijk.
Teveel denken is niet goed.
Integendeel. Het barse ritme
Van de invallende gedachten
Snijdt als een reeks onbreekbare ijspegels
Door mijn broze ziel.

Een teergevoelig mens,
zoals ik dat ben,
Arme ik.

Met Arthur’s boek op zak klim ik,
Zoals de leeuwerik,
Hoger en hoger.

Totdat ik bijna bevries
En er zowat dood bij neerval.

Nee … dat wordt niks.


Arthur was right.
Too much thinking isn’t good.
On the contrary. The harsh rhythm
Of incoming thoughts
Cuts through my fragile soul
Like a sequence of unbreakable icicles.

A delicate person,
Like myself,
Poor me.

With Arthur’s book in my back-pocket I ascend,
Like the lark,
higher and higher.

Until I nearly freeze,
And almost drop dead.

No … that’s not gonna work.

Op een Dogon masker / On a Dogon mask

Op een Dogon masker

Een ondoordringbaar vlies van licht
Hangt achter rechthoekige ooggaten
Geen reflectie, geen kwadratisch verval,
Maar in zichzelf gekeerd.

Het masker,
Dof, moe, gegroefd,
Is slechts een houten poort.
Verweerd, gewichtloos, niet substantieel.

Een toegang zonder doorgang,
Reisdocumenten hebben hier hun geldigheid verloren
En de sleutel is zoek.

Waterloos hout,
Aardpigment en kalkhoudend leem.
De warmte van een halogeenspot.
De ziel heeft zich teruggetrokken,
En wacht.

WLA brooklynmuseum Dogon Kanaga Mask in Three ...
WLA brooklynmuseum Dogon Kanaga Mask in Three Pieces (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On a Dogon mask

An impenetrable fleece of light
Draped behind rectangular eyes.
No reflection no quadratic fall-off,
But light, being within itself.

The mask,
Faded, tired, torn,
Is nothing but a wooden gate,
Worn, weightless, insubstantial.

An entrance without an exit,
Where travel-documents have lost their validity,
While the key is missing.

Dessicated wood,
Earth pigments and lime-rich mud,
The heat of a spotlight.
The soul retired,
And waits.

Op een Punu masker / On a Punu mask

WLA metmuseum Mask Mukudj Punu
WLA metmuseum Mask Mukudj Punu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Naargeestig elegant.

Kaolien, zorgvuldig over het verfijnd gelaat gestreken.
Een gezicht dat niet van hier is.
Niet van bij ons, oh nee!
Bovenwerelds, wit, verkalkt, bekalkt, wit.

Geen doodskop, maar een blik,
Niet op ons, maar op hen.
De maat van alle dingen is daar, daarbinnen.
Hun ingetogen trekken verraden geen ontzetting
Over wat zij aan gene zijde zien…

(Informal translation)

On a Punu mask

Dismally elegant.

Lime, carefully covering the refined countenance.
That is not from here.
Not from here with us, oh no!
Otherworldly, white, chalked, white-washed, white.

No skull, but a gaze.
Not towards us, but towards them.
The measure of all things is there, on the inside.
Their introvert features don’t betray dismay,
About what they see on the other side …

(Eelco Bruinsma, 9 oktober 2o12)

It will be illuminated

Sheepskin soaked in lime
A vile and stinking rag
Covered in slime.

Stretched on a wooden frame
A sharp sickle attacking its undulating surface.

Gradual and patient transformation
As grime slowly gives way
For words, images, and marginal notation.

Malodorous matter evades
With grinding movements
Leaving a white receptacle
For the mind.

While the animal subsides
Room is created
For the imaginary.

The end of a woolly animal
Is the beginning of art.



Flashes of light arrive
through the mist of ages.
Slightly colored by interference,
an eerie volumetric haze.

Events, occurring in the distant past.
Declaration of laws, allocation of land,
punishment of crimes, vows of allegiance.

Looking over Þingvellir towards the reddened sun
– that strange nordic semi-permanent late afternoon,
crimson reflections on the lake, distant plumes of steaming vents –
is looking back in time, where history unfolds,
between our eyes and the horizon.

Þingvellir, Iceland
Image via Wikipedia