Farewell

Unlike many other Dutch poets, there is no online information available in English about the poet Adriaan Morriën. Together with the translation of his poem “Afscheid” (“Farewell”), it’s time to tell more about this poet.

Adriaan Morriën
Adriaan Morriën in 1987
Image source: Wikipedia

Who was Adriaan Morriën?

Adriaan Morriën was born on 5 June 1912 in the Dutch municipality Velsen. He made his debut in 1935 with a poem in the Dutch-Flemish literary magazine “Forum.” His collection of poems entitled “Hartslag” (“Heartbeat”) was published in 1939.

After World War II he worked on several translations and reviewed literary works for Dutch newspapers. Also, he worked at the University of Amsterdam as a French teacher.

He was closely involved at the start of the “Stichting Fonds voor de Letteren” (“Foundation Fund of Literature”) in 1965. He would later become an editor for several literary magazines and was closely attached to some major Dutch publishing companies. It was because of him, other Dutch writers such as Harry Mulish, Gerard Reve and W.F. Hermans were discovered. He was also one of the first to read the work of the Dutch poet Hans Lodeizen.

As a translator, he worked on works of Heinrich Böll, Sigmund Freud, Guy de Maupassant and many others.

Morriën passed away on 7 June 2002.

About Farewell

About “Farewell”

Having to say goodbye is never easy. Especially when the goodbye is a farewell. When you say farewell, it means you’re probably not going to see the other person again.

When saying farewell to a loved one, this can be very emotional. It doesn’t matter if this is a relative, close friend of a lover. Farewells are never easy.

How about that moment when your loved one goes to the shop? Is the use of the word “farewell” justified? It is not that the other will not return. He knows that his love will only go to the shop on the corner. A lot can happen when walking to that shop.

What if his lover will travel more or further? What if the clothes aren’t warm enough? That seems strange. But is it? Remember that there were times in The Netherlands and the rest of Europe that people could get arrested. This was during the reign of the nazis. Perhaps Morriën is thinking about these dark times.

Farewell

Farewell

Will you promise to be careful?

I know that you will only
go to the shop
just around the corner
and that you’re not dressed
for a long journey

Your kiss is light feathered
your look is safe
and peaceful are both hand and foot

Around the corner
a part of the world
behind this moment
a sea of time

Will you promise to be careful?

— Adriaan Morriën

Afscheid

Afscheid

Zul je voorzichtig zijn?

Ik weet wel dat je maar een
boodschap doet
hier om de hoek
en dat je niet gekleed bent voor
een lange reis.

Je kus is licht,
je blik gerust
en vredig zijn je hand en voet.

Maar achter deze hoek
een werelddeel,
achter dit ogenblik
een zee van tijd.

Zul je voorzichtig zijn?

— Adriaan Morriën

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