Poem By Paul Snoek
How could it be?
Originally I had hoped
to go through the house unnoticed,
disguised and redundant as a man
amongst the houses and their inhabitants.
And carry my grief as a commonplace
till it grew as translucent
and bearable as daylight.
I thought it was sufficient
to sob all night in a long, thick bed
and cry one time to the heart's core.
I'm used to crying in the first person
So I pretend I'm smiling
and live in my body with all my limbs.
How could it be
I did not know that my grief
of love smooths out the fierce contrast
and that life is not an ultimate
but a standstill.
Even so it's a pity
there is no secret language
a convenient code
that I can stealthily write in
about the phenomenon nostalgia
and pretend I'm writing about the moon
yes, writing fat books
about the so-called moonlight.
But in reality
about the house I lived in
with the warmth of so much future regret
in my marrow.
My skin turns white from it
and whiter yet my trembling,
when I read in bright mirrors
the ancient texts about the eye.
The eye turned porcelain.
When I see how clear are the traces
my shadow leaves in my past.
My shadow, people,
that is so lonely it
no more maintains, no more recognizes
its bearer's body.
A language, as I said,
that I can write with
about the heart and its thermic inertia.
in the empty house of my memory.
About my life,
whose future I vaguely remember.
Translated by James S. Holmes
From: A quarter century of poetry from Belgium