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Gerrit Achterberg (1905-1962)

Aan de Dood Gezongen / Song to Death
...do it because of this madness,
do it with eyes closed

Beumer & Co / Beumer & Co
Corners with household secrets / are exposed.

December / December
You don't remember...

Democraat / Democrat
In this room I'm finally at home.

Droomlot / Dream-fate
You showed me tonight the rooms again;...

Dryade / Dryad
I have declared this Linden to be holy,...

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik / Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
While he slept beneath the piano...

Hoonte / [A Place called] Hoonte
Close to the windows is the theater of trees.

Hulshorst / Hulshorst
Hulshorst, your name is like
forgotten iron, within the pines

Klankbord / Sounding Board
Against the sounding board of the night
your words still move.

Kleine Kaballistiek voor Kinderen / A Small Cabala for Children
4 is squarely masculine / and 3 round and feminine...

Liberty / Liberty
Sometimes, in a shop window, you appear,...

Marsman / Marsman [for the poet, Hendrik Marsman]
It would have been better, had I died for him,...

Merel / Blackbird
The morning blackbird gargles
cupfuls of bitter wine,...

November / November
The low days of November
have again returned, gray as a pail;.

Punt / Point
You, belovèd, took dimension with you...

Slaapwandeling / Sleepwalk
Tonight I have walked with you..

Slagveld / Battlefield
The twilight falls like ground.

Sneeuwgang / Snow Passage
New distances within me have come into being...

Steenlied / Stone Song
Words going backwards...

Telefoon / Telephone
No death manifests in the number
that connected the two of us...

Verdemen / [A Man called] Verdemen
There's a sign—Verdemen—on the trainline...

Vervulling / Fulfillment
The best of years past pushes against me again this evening...

Vogel van Waanzin / Bird of Insanity
Bird of insanity in this house of nerves...

Zwarte Lente / Black Spring
In the sun death has begun his work.

Hieronymus van Alphen (1746-1803)

De Verwelkte Roos / The Faded Rose
Why for fades the rose so fast?

Hans Andreus (1926-1977)

Bloemen leven lichzinnig . . . / Flowers live so frivolously . . .
...People do as if. Exist in ice-cold
thinking, thinking, thinking that they exist....

Cage / Cage
Cage the composer says:
silence doesn't exist

Vertaling / Translation
Wu-wei: / non-action, / non-interference,...

Voor een dag van morgen / For tomorrow's day
If I die tomorrow,
say then to the trees
how much I loved you.

Anonymous (c. 14th century)

Ich Sech Adieu / I Say Adieu
I say adieu, the two of us must part,...


D.A.M. Binnendijk

Aurora / Aurora
The night's metaphorical secret...

F. Harmsen van Beek

Goedemorgen, hemelse mevrouw Ping /
Good Morning, heavenly Mrs. Ping

...did the balmy night agree with you,

J. Bernlef

Dooi / Thaw
The skater goes criss-cross across the ice...

Gedachten bij een terug gevonden legpuzzel /
Thoughts upon finding a mislaid puzzle
the sky was always the most difficult...

Tussen Denken en Doen / Between Thought and Deed
Balance concentrated / around the contractor muscle /
the buttocks as blind twins / feeling for the seat

Peter Berger

Trajekt / Trajectory
I write down in a notebook / after months of silence
the appropriate words,...

Anna Blaman

Vrouwen / Women
Her arms smooth and clear-skinned in the shadow ...

J.C. Bloem

Aphorismen I / Aphorisms I
Living in the past, in the future, is wrong.

Dapperstraat / Dapperstraat
Nature is for the self-satisfied or vain.

Gure Zomer / Bleak Summer
Without a pause the days so ravage,...

Het Gesloten Kerkhof / The Closed Church Graveyard
Lingering from a more spacious time,...

Het Huisje in de Duinen / The Cottage in the Dunes
Wallflowers blossomed in front of the low window....

Huiswaarts Reizende / Homeward Traveler
In the train. Time passes with dream.

Insomnia / Insomnia
Thinking about death I can't sleep.
And not sleeping, I think about death.

Na de Bevrijding I en II / After Liberation I and II
Beautiful and radiant, just like then, is the spring,...

Rondeel / Rondel
The short of love and the long of suffering,...

Sneeuw / Snow
It 's snowing. To the swarming silence /
the winds give up their wings.

Voorjaar / Spring
The sun broke through the stern spring air.

I.K. Bonset (Theo van Doesburg)

Centra / Centers
a visual sound poem (first published in De Stijl)

P. C. Boutens (1870-1943)

Kussen / Kissing
Red lips, white limbs
Turn aside their narrow embrace

Gerbrand Adriaensz. Bredero

Het Elfde Sonnet van de Schoonheid /
The Eleventh Sonnet to Beauty

O ripe bosom white that steadily before mine eyes /
So dearly drifts,...

C. Buddingh'

Simplicity / Simplicity
one hesitates to say the chair
is in the room the table...

Kees Buurman
(1933 - 1997)

Vlierger (2) / Kites (2)
For a moment I play


Jan Campert

Het Lied der Achttien Dooden /
The Song of the Eighteen Dead

A cell is but six feet long...

Sonnetten voor Cynara (XIV) /
Sonnets for Cynara (XIV)

Rebel. my heart, jailed and enslaved,...

Remco Campert

Binnen en buiten / Inside and Out
What's going on inside, in the shadow...

Credo / Credo
I believe in a river
that flows from the sea to the mountains...

De Liefde Moe / Tired of Love

Love knows the time that is owed it
hours die like aunts on Sunday...

Een beetje natuur / A little bit of nature
A bit of nature
sometimes I think it's a good idea

F. Harmsen van Beek / F. Harmsen van Beek
I guess you're not coming, there's
some reason why you can't come.

Gemompel / Mumbling
The clearer I want to say something...

Ik wil wel... / I'd like to...
I'd like to dig/ For poetry, but not too / Deep.

Koud / Cold
Winter is approaching.
I feel it in the air
And in the words which I write.

Land / Land
...at night prowls / through grandmother's fields
the angry wolf of the cold

Ook de liefde / And Also Love
Yes, those who make love
into a burning flagship or a beautiful horse / are lost...

Verzet begint niet met grote woorden /
Resistance doesn't begin with big words

Resistance doesn't begin with big words /
but with small deeds...

Simon Carmiggelt (1913 - 1987)

Louter Droeffheid / Just Sadness
I'm feeling gloomy, Hey, what shall I do?

J.B. Charles

Brief / Letter
In response to your letter of
the above date I can inform you...

Hugo Claus

Thuis / At Home
"Ass!" screamed Mom. / "Witch" shouted Dad.

Herman de Coninck

Eufemisme / Euphemism
It's already happened so many times,
in this second-hand reality...

Mijn vriend imiteert ongeveer alles /
My friend imitates just about everything
...And later he does a take-off on
the sound of a motorcar made
for riding to the moon.

Vijfjarenplan / Five Year Plan
I love you. You love that which cannot be.

Wraak / Revenge
I've been registered. Birth, place, time.


Charles Ducal (1962)

Toch / And Yet
Does your wife like this? asked a friend...


Clara Eggink (1906-1991)

Verloren / Lost
I read a book, I write a letter,...

Voorgevoel / Premonition
If you my dearest should no longer be...
The days, without use and number...

De Luiaard / The Sluggard
Don't call me lazy, just because /
I while away the days in doing nothing.

Jan Emmens

Meisje / Girl
In the face of this girl I encountered /
to my surprise myself...

Anton Ent

Fietstocht / Bicycle Trip
No poem, no etch, no aquarelle: /
We add nothing to this landscape.

Web / Web
A spider web with drops of dew...


Guido Gezelle (1830-1899)

Zang bij den Haard / Song of the Hearth
Welcome Winter, how cracks your ice?

Paul Gellings

Februari / February
My calendar set ajar
and already smelling the scent
of not-yet-visible green.

P.A. de Génestet (1829-1861)

Dualisme / Duality
My knowledge and my belief,
That live together in disaffection,...

Overwegende Argumenten / Well-considered Arguments
I want nothing to do with the new,...

Ida Gerhardt (1905-1997)

Begrrafenis van Gerrit Achterberg / Funeral of Gerrit Achterberg
Still too poor to belong together /
and confused in ourselves and in one another,...

De Afwijzing / The Rejection
I write you with a raven feather, / Sir....

De Gestorvene / The Departed One
To go seven times around the earth,...

De Hazelaar / The Hazelnut

and I touch for a moment
the darkness of its woody trunk.

De Herschepping / The Transformation
As Orpheus with his lyre sang, the stones /
began to move,

Het Doodsbericht / The Death Notice
Slowly I see them go,

Studentenkamer / Studend's Room
I am a stranger on this earth. /
In this, her dark Garden

Verwachting / Expectation
Meltwater from the mountains, touch me:...

Weespraak / Lamentation
The bird so lonely on the roof

Eva Gerlach (1948)

Boot inbegrepen / Boat included
The oars are under the floor,...

Jan Greshoff (1888-1971)

Ik Groet U / I Greet You
I greet you, neighbor, comrade,

Jan H. de Groot (1901-1990)


(Amsterdam, 12th of March, 9:15-9:35 AM)
I didn't see it. / Others told me about it:


Jan Hanlo (1912-1969)

Aan de Winter / To Winter
O time of winter so scarcely sung

Niet Ongelijk / Not Unlike
Not unlike the line of your eyes ...

Zo meen ik dat ook je bent / So I believe that also you are
like the coolness of night upon lilies...

Willem Frederik Hermans

Nachtgedachte / Night Thoughts
The sun was so intense
That I could see nothing but black...

Judith Herzberg

Afwasmachine / Dishwasher
Adieu knives and forks, I'll never wash you again.

Alleen in een Klein Huis / Alone in a Small House
Alone in a small house you can think pretty good...

Au / Ow
Should that exist, a law
for the conservation of pain?

Bijna Nooit / Almost Never
Almost never do you see a bird in the air...

De Zee / The Sea
You can hear the sea
with your hands over your ears,

Jiddish / Yiddish
My father sang the songs /
that his mother used to sing...

Nazomer / Indian summer
Once shining champions, step by step
grown used to small loss, now gray.

Spreeuw / Sparrow
...unlettered triumphator.

Stadsgeluiden / Sounds of the City
Sounds of the city on a warm night
have, as in a painting, a background.

Vergeefs Blaffen / Idle Barking
An empty morning, Sunday no doubt....

Winterr Bethulie / Winter Bethulie

The trees, so suitable for hanging up roaming thoughts,...

Ziekenbezoek / Hospital Visit
My father sat more than an hour in /    
silence next to my bed.

Ingmar Heytze (1970)

Nachtwerk / Night Work
The alarm ticks. The boiler rustles.
The refrigerator shakes on and off.

Solliciteren / Job Interview
Never before so devastatingly eaten up...

Voor jou / For you
I don't know / where it comes from /
this screaming from / paper roofs...

Vos onder ijs / Fox under ice
Two dead eyes look up at me //
as if he were just about to leap up...

Han G. Hoekstra (1906 - 1988)

Klein Eindspel / Petit Coda
..."choose" you say, somewhere your
husband is making dance music.

A. Roland Holst (1888-1976)

De Vagebond / The Vagabond
They weigh the pros and cons...

Dit Eiland / This Island
How did we get here, /
going where ... from where ...?

Jotie T'Hooft (1956-1977)

In het Gedicht / Inside the Poem
The walls are white and the psychiatrists /
are suspiciously friendly.

Pieter Cornelisz. Hooft (1581-1647)

Sonnet / Sonnet
"My love, my love, my love....." so spoke my love to me,...

Ed. Hoornik (1910-1970)

De Vogels / The Birds
There were always birds in the garden.

Een Vrouw Beminnen... / To Love a Woman...

...Far away is the world, that cannot touch us,
close are the stars, that enchant as they sparkle...

Het Kerstmaal / The Christmas Dinner
The father crossed himself and blessed the food.

Illusie / Illusion
...who live for some goal,
for somehere to go.

[Op School] / [At School]
At school they were both written on the board.
The verb to have and the verb to be;


C.O. Jellema

Foto Negatief / Photo Negative
With great finger dexterity I filled /
the garden with flowers,...


Pierre Kemp (1886-1967)

Het Licht is Rond / The Light is Round

The light is round and rolls on all its sides,

H.W.J.M. Keuls (1883-1968)

Het Klein Helaal van het Gedicht /
The Small Universe of the Poem

...O Heart, find here your counterpoise!

Anton Korteweg (1944)

Op Verzoek / Upon Request
That I love you, I want to finally
have that written down,...

Gerrit Komrij

Epiloog in de Vorm van een Dichtstukje op de Herfst /
Epilogue in the Form of a little Verse on Autumn

They say that, when the leaves are falling,
You become one with sadness,...

Rutger Kopland (1934)

Onder het vee / Among farm animals
And when summer had once again returned...

Over de Liefde / About Love
Therefore, it is in view / of all the previous arguments /
impossible without love...

Psalm / Psalm
Then these sounds shall be wind...

Weggaan / Going Away
Going away is something different /
than sneaking out of the house...

Gerrit Kouwenaar (1923)

Het Moet Groeien / It Needs to Grow
It needs to grow / it needs to grow up...

In de Straten / In the Streets
In the streets of the city lurk rain and people
perhaps it is summer late summer almost autumn...

Gerrit Krol

Zondagmiddag / Sunday Afternoon
That Sunday afternoon in the city—

Jos Kunst

Cyclus / Cycle
As a salmon, struggling without arms, waving...


Pieter Langendijk

Vraag / Question
...Is that not good Christian work?

Joke van Leeuwen

Aankomsthal / Arrival Hall
On the sea of tiles this unruly pile
that won't move along....

Lucebert (1924-1995)

Het Einde / The End
Giving the last sound: song / Has the life eternal


Hendrik Marsman (1899-1940)

Baai bij avond / Bay by evening
Twilight comes.
a large, red moon...

Bazel / Basel
Green is the pulse / of the stream...

Herinnering Aan Holland / Memories of Holland
Thinking about Holland, / I see broad rivers
moving slowly through / endless lowlands,

Lex Barbarorum / Lex Barbarorum
Give me a knife.
I want to cut this sick black
spot out of my body.

Polderland / Polderland
I walk through the polderland
beneath the slanting rain;

Twee Vrienden / Two Friends
The moon makes a snowwhite field of the night.

Vooruitzicht / Looking Ahead
In a few days
it shall belong to the past.

Zonder Weerklank / Without Response
People, I'm going to sink if my song doesn't sound;...

Lizzy Sara May

Bol Circle en Geslacht / Full Circle and Lineage
memory of memory of...

Vrouwen / Women
Women are ones / deeply drowned...

K. Michel

Nee en Ja / No and Yes
An argument demands two opinions
a kiss four lips...

Maurits Mok

Begrafnis van Hans Andreus / Burial of Hans Andreus
How simple really, in Putten
to be carried away out of time...

Pol de Mont (1857-1931)

De Keiklopper / The Breaker of Stones
With a sack on the bent-over back, clothes
frayed, torn, neither beard nor hair combed,...

Adriaan Morriën

Bombardementsvlucht / Bomber Flight
How little we about flying machines know!
It has to be cold up there in the winter night,...

Harry Mulisch

Verzoening / Reconcilliation
late one evening / I looked through a crack:...

(Eduard Douwes Dekker) (1820-1887))

Idee 34. / Idea 34.

My ideas are the "Times" of my soul.

Idee 39. / Idea 39.

Between the soul and language lies the length of a trumpet.

Idee 58. / Idea 58.

There are but few books from which one
cannot learn how not to write.

Idee 63. / Idea 63.
...the beautiful
part of what he said takes up less than half a page.

Idee 65. / Idea 65.
...To appreciate Jesus,
one has to throw away the Bible.

Idee 68. / Idea 68
The idea that one actually understands
is frequently not worth understanding.

Idee 71. / Idea 71.
The general wrote to his lieutenant: kill
all the inhabitants,...

Idee 90. / Idea 90.
It is not fair for a circle,
to blame a corner for being sharp.


Alice Nahon (1896-1933)

Schaduw / Shadow  

I have loved being in love;
perhaps that's why it has not loved me...

Martinus Nijhoff (1894-1953)

Adieu / Adieu
At least dream then that we never separated,...

Bij het graf van de Nederlandse onbekende
soldaat gevallen in de meidagen 1940 /

At the grave of the Dutch unknown soldier
who died during the days of May, 1940

This grave is everything that on Dutch soil /
remains for us to call Holland;

Clown / Clown
...I lean against a pole, and call my deeds good.

De Danser / The Dancer
Under my skin lives a captive animal...

De Moeder De Vrouw / The Mother the Woman
I went to Bommel to see the bridge....

De Wandelaar / The Wanderer
My lonely life wanders in the streets,...

De Wolken / The Clouds
I still wore a little child's clothes...

Het Einde / The End

Strange pizzicato of distant guitars,...

Het Kind en Ik / The Child and I
I wanted to go fishing one day, ...

Het Souper / The Supper
The table fell quiet. It was as if bread and wine /
Were struck from the grip of our hands.

Haar laatste brief / Her last letter
Don't accuse me of being frivolous just
because I have loved without trust

Impasse / Impasse
She stood in the kitchen, she and I.


Paul van Ostaijen

De Oude Man / The Old Man
See how fear chokes through your mouth
he first taste of a narcosis.

Gedicht / Poem

Sun burns the bush
sun burns the shard of glass...

Herfstlandschap / Fall Landscape
In the mist moves slowly an ox and an ox car...

Willem Jan Otten

In de Marge / In the Margin
They sit high up, on thin tires,
in the margin of the traffic.


Piet Paaltjens (1835-1894)

Immortelle III / Immortelles III
Why do I the languid nights
bedew with harsh tears?—

Jacques Perk (1859-1881)

Wilg en Popel / Willow and Poplar
Do not believe, that one virtue is suitable to all!—

Aan de Sonnetten / In Praise of Sonnets
Sound clear, finely-chiseled sonnets,...

B.J. Pot

Biecht / Confession
The portly ladies are eating cake...

Jacob Winkler Prins (1849-1907)

Buiten en Binnen / Outside and Inside
So it is with those who verses write...


Jean-Pierre Rawie (1951)

Advent / Advent
...But everything is irretrievably mislaid.

Interieur / Interior
In this room filled with book stacks on the ground...

Tony de Ridder

Twee Menschen door het Nevel / Two People in the Mist
I saw two people striding through the mist.

Jacobus Revius (1586-1685)

Twee Wegen / Two Ways
Ashen is between white and black,...

Vrede / Peace
Beautiful is gold, most beautiful of all metals...


Louise van Santen

Gesprek / Words in the Night
...I saw an answer in your laugh
a smile—it had no tone
a smile—that lighted up your eye,..

   (tr. Louise van Santen)

J.C. van Schagen (1891-1985)

Werkelijkheid / Reality
I'm a business man.
I have a really big writing table...

C.S. Adama van Scheltema (1877-1924)

De Vagebond / The Vagabond
This morning the wind blew from the South,...

Bert Schierbeek

Hoe / How
...if you could / surround yourself
with not a worry...

Jan Jacob Slauerhoff

In Nederland... / In the Lowlands... (a fragment)
I don't want to live in the Lowlands,...

Woningloze / Homeless One
Only in my poems can I live,...

A.C.W. Staring (1767-1840)

Aan de Eenvoudigheid / Ode to Simplicity
Bring me, gentle Simplicity...


M. Vasalis (1909-1998)

Aan een boom in het Vondelpark /
To a tree in the Vondelpark

There was a tree cut down with long locks of green.

Als je een landschap was / If you were a landscape
If you were a landscape through which I could walk,

De weg terug / The way back
The evening came; unnoticed,...

October / October

Tender and young, as if it were spring...

Voorjaar / Spring
Fits of light pass over the land in waves...

Albert Verwey (1865-1937)

Cirkelloop / Cycle

I am a spark without goal, without direction,

De Crocus / The Crocus
White threads of the roots reach /
The globe on the glass of the vase...

Ik Walg Nu van die Dagen Vol van Zon /
How I Loathe these Days Full of Sun

How I loathe these days full of sun,...

Stille Nacht / Silent Night
There are tones so high / And so low
That human ears / Cannot hear them.

Simon Vestdijk (1898-1971)

Zelfkant / Edge of Myself
The half-rural countryside I love the most:

Eddy van Vliet

De Wandelaar / The Wanderer
Only this: turning back to himself he cannot do.

Marjoleine de Vos

Mevrouw Despina leest een Psalm /
Mrs. Despina reads a Psalm

...indifferent as the sand of a path
that faithfully follows the map until the end.

Victor Vroo

Vuilniszakken / Garbage Bags
The way they in the morning / on the sidewalk lean agains
each other...


Jacqueline van der Waals (1868-1922)

Winterstilte / Winter Silence
White is the ground, white is the mist,

Ellen Warmond

Changement de décor / Changement de décor
By the time the day like a threatening
letter is pushed into my room...

Maandag / Monday
Out of the dull tunnel of night
rattles loose a cheap tin-can...

Naar men zegt / So they say
...no longer moving still as a mountain...

Willem Wilmink (1936)

Echtpaar in de Trein / Married Couple in the Train
...and I ride away from what is past. /
And both before the same bit of glass.


Edithe de Clercq Zubli (1937)

Zwaar weer op til / Awaiting stormy weather
...the sea turns its ear;
and listens,...

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