P/P | r2c | Out of an April: Dealing with the Suffering of the Past
"...I do not want revenge,
but am full of bitter hurt.
The heart, so deeply disturbed,
wants to heal itself..."
a poem by Jan H. de Groot.
This week, an image not of
spring but of alpine fall, together
with a tragic and historic poem
taken from 20th century
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The guest poem for this week is a new translation from the work of the Dutch poet,
Jan H. de Groot.
In the English version of the text, I have not tried to stay within the simple six-step rhythm in groups
of four beats, nor did I make any attempt to transpose the abab rhyming scheme. This is because I felt
that this might trivialize the dramatic point-blank character of the sound of the Dutch.
Dealing with the Suffering of the Past . . .
My primary reason for featuring such a dark poem for this second week of April
is that this is traditionally when the people of the Lowlands remember the horrible
violence and suffering of the Second World War.
One of the central themes of the texts and photographs which compose the whole
of Picture/Poems is the possibility of healing—one at a time and all at once—
of both ourselves and the culture we have created, and the vast tracts of wild earth
we have severely weakened if not destroyed.
From the point where the above photograph was made, all water flows North,
making a journey of approximately 1,300 kilometers from mountain top to the North Sea.
Along the way, what I think of as the Germanic family tree of languages
is spoken, which includes many different dialects of both German and Dutch.
That the peoples of this great and beautiful watershed but half a century ago turned
so violently against one another is a terrible fact of history. How was this possible?
The poem does not ask this question; it simply states the horrible details—
the precise time: ten o'clock in the morning; the precise location: a beautiful public
gardens I know well in the heart of Amsterdam; and the response: righteous anger—
all of which still hover as a mist of unresolved human emotion.
Dealing with the suffering of the past is to this day difficult indeed.
(Amsterdam, 12 maart 1945, 9.15-9.35 uur)
Ik heb het niet gezien.
|EXECUTION AT THE WATERCOURSE GARDENS
(Amsterdam, 12th of March, 1945, 9:15-9:35 AM)
I didn't see it.
A collection of contemporary Dutch poetry
in English translation, with commentary
and photographs by Cliff Crego
See also another website
by Cliff Crego:
The Poetry of
Rainer Maria Rilke
A presentation of 80 of the
best poems of Rilke in
both German and
new English translations:
biography, links, posters