Hades IV – “Orpheus”

IV – “Orpheus”

… Near the lipopotamus in the po, po, Potomacmac.
Or was it? Was it on the Po. Po. Po. Basin?
Ham and cheese. Cheese and Ham. A blow
With a huge hammer. Everyone gets a bit.
His slice, her glass. Where?
Not on this plain of crime and fog.
This paltry plain of crime and fog.
He came from Didone, from Dodona, and was dud.
He stottered from the ladder. Our Tom Mastaba.
We called him ‘Mastaba Tom’.
He polished his lyre until it shone.

Sad, sadder is the weather. Where is Livia?
It doesn’t matter, for we celebrate a sacriment.
A sacred condiment. A ship launch in an army tent.
Where are the Ostrogoths? Ravenna?
We celebrate it, every year, on September 14th, right under Theodora’s nose.
Has she come here? Was she here? Has Theodora seen her?

Did she see the wafer-thin sheets of alabaster?
Stone windows, translucent. She must have seen it!
From the depths of Persephone, but
She looked, in vain, for an exit …

 

Original Dutch version:

 

IV – “Orfeus”

… Bij de lipopotamus in de po, po, Potomacmac.
Of was het op de Po. Po. Po. Vlakte?
Ham en kaas. Kaas en ham. Een klap
Met de grote hamer. Ieder krijgt z’n brok.
Z’n plak, haar glas. Waar?
Niet op deze vlakte van mist en nevel.
De barre vlakte van misdaad en nevel.
Hij kwam van Didone, van Dodona, en was dud.
Hij stuiterde van de ladder. Onze Tom Mastaba.
We noemden hem ‘Mastaba Tom.’
Die zijn lier poetste tot hij glom.

Triest, triester is het weer. Waar is Livia?
Het geeft niet, want we vieren een sacriment.
Een heilig condiment. Een tewaterlating in een legertent.
Waar zijn de Ostrogoten? Ravenna?
We vieren het op 14 september, ieder jaar, voor de neus van Theodora.
Is zij hier naartoe gekomen? Was zij hier. Heeft Theodora haar gezien?

Zag zij de flinterdunne plaatjes van gepolijst albast?
Stenen ramen, lichtdoorlatend. Zij zag het! Vast!
Vanuit de diepten van Persephone, maar,
Tevergeefs zocht zij een uitgang …

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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…

Translation

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…

Comment.

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…

 

Translation

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”

I

… 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.”
“Insgelijks.”
Lino, linoleums; de zwartste de eerste.
Ik vind het, vind het, want het…

Naar mijn Nederlandse website voor een toelichting.

English translation*

I

… 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.”
“Likewise.”
Lino, linoleums; the blackest go first.
I will find it, find it, because it…

Comment

* 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.

My recent haiku’s

Recently I have written 5 new English haiku’s, starting in spring ending about now, in summer. The poems try to capture some very strong images I carry with me. Although these images are more a synthesis of memories, perceptions, and perhaps even made up reality, they could be real captured moments. Perhaps they are, captured distilled moments.

 

I

Sharp images float
On shallow oily water
Thick with summer heat

II

A leaf drops, nearby
Sparrows do not mind, but know
Summer wil soon end

III

Silent gathering
Bald willows along the stream
Nobody watching

IV

As the leaf settles
A deafening resonance
Imperceptible

V

Spring light cuts through dust
Dust settles lightly on wood
Abandoned attic

Sögel, a bronze statue in Schloss Clemenswerth

Photo of a bronze statue in the garden of Schloss Clemenswerth, Sögel, Germany
Bronze statue in the garden of Schloss Clemenswerth, Sögel, Germany

Þingvellir

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

Haikus collected

haiku. I have been relatively indifferent towards this form of poetry until I discovered that it is one of the few ways of getting a more or less conscious observation about your surroundings or nature on paper when a monstrous daily workload prevents you from doing anything that isn’t work-related. When I gradually started to like the haiku there was no way back.

Often when I get up in the morning I see the world reflected in the mirror while shaving. A very small portion of the world, that is. About 45 x 30 cm, which are the dimensions of the bathroom window of our house. From that vantage point I see a disused chimney of the part of the house that was formerly an annex with small stable. Behind the chimney some trees in the neighbouring gardens, now leafless, paint a very picturesque background against the winter sky.

chimney on the annex roof

Throughout the year a crow couple is following its daily routine around the chimney. They probably built a nest there. Beautiful and intelligent birds.

With the recent precious gift of snow the poetry of the scene is perfect. What a waste to let these fleeting images, quiet observations, and associations slip away each day. So I try to make it a daily routine to jot down the lines that cross my mind in a small black notebook while still scuttling around in the bathroom, and later add them to the haiku-group ‘wall’ during the first coffee in the morning after having arrived in my study. And apparently some people like them too. Nice!

Long ago I have made some attempts at writing poetry. Some poems even got published. The specific haiku form however, which I, erroneously, deemed kitsch for a long time, is a great way to force yourself to the utmost clarity. It’s the economy and extreme scarcity of words that sometimes yields very rich images. … Not always though. But it is very nice and rewarding to see many people struggle with the very strict rules, and still get very good, and sometimes brilliant results.

1

silent gathering
prints of small feet in the snow
enigmatic crows

2

a river meadow
cold night covers it swiftly
geese get together

3

distant thunder rings
but snow dampens its effect
the strangest contrast

4

an unused chimney
great location for a nest
the crows like it too

5

dissolved in darkness
little melting hills of snow
will be gone next dawn

6

crow lands on chimney
highly philosophical
and misunderstood

7

complex messages
being sent from tree to tree
black crows in winter

8

darkness has set in
no snow to reflect the light
winter lost its soul

9

snow adrift outside
the fire burning in the hearth
the winter is back

10

like gossamer veins
the blackish leafless branches
cross the grey-white sky

11

wind gaining in strength
and falling in temperature
cuts like a razor

12

the bathroom mirror
frames the chimney on the roof
and the crow on it

13

scent of burning wood
birds silently settling down
a winter evening

14

the quiet river flows
grey fragments of icy snow
sheep on the riverbanks

15

our winter garden
is a blank canvas again
may nature fill it

16

a dog, a man, snow
no cars, no sounds, no echos,
silent saturday

17

peanuts in a net
finches and robins appear
oh no! There’s the crow!

18

roof of the old school
must be large enough to land
if you’re a sparrow

19

smoke leaves the chimney
the logs now only glowing
sparrows gathering