(1952 / Gent)


the lady from latvia recounted
how the people ended up where they did:
the finns steadily pushed the lapps

and the prussians were so belligerent,
do you hear, that they all
perished on their campaigns
of conquest

why are there so few
funny poems, sighed
the lady from latvia, she called the waiter
and asked him for more whisky, then
she looked outside and said
there was no one any more
who spoke prussian

the sea and the air
had merged, only the lighthouses
still marked the horizon
they beckoned, not as a father or
a friend, they beckoned from
eternity, the freedom
of coming and going

finally only the palms
remained visible in the light
that came from the hotel rooms
and beyond that you could hear
the lashing of ropes against the masts

for everything there is a setting
for reunions, farewells
and for waiting

the world is large, said
the lady from latvia,
europe, america, my father
died in siberia

we speak the oldest language
in europe, there aren't many of us
that's why we talk a lot,
we should wash out
our mouths with soap
my mother would say, where
is my mother now, why
can't I be silent, why
can't I cry?

life is long, said the lady
from latvia and you can't
trade it in

from where I was seated I saw
an island where the sun
was shining now and then
as it did on me, downstairs
gulls were making their sounds
plaintive, busy and nervous:
they were at home

the island turned dark,
grey and then bright green again
as if it were blushing and I understood
that the sun was worshipped once
it was as if someone
was paying attention to you, even
when you were quite alone

Translation: Copyright Judith Wilkinson

User Rating: 4,6 / 5 ( 7 votes ) 10

Edgar Allan Poe

Annabel Lee

Comments (10)

in 'De bramenpluk' (Publisher: De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam,2002)
Miriam Van Hee tries to delimit the world between time and timeless while describing it through the use of some essential elements.Even the notion of divinity is variable, 'the sun was worshipped once'. It is a beautiful poem.
So captivating! Charm is in settings, in stories and in narrations.
it was as if someone was paying attention to you, even when you were quite alone.g reat poem full of emotions...... tha nk u dear poetess. tony
A wonderful evening peopled by the 'lady from Latvia'
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