For tomorrow

For tomorrow

It’s time for another translation of a beautiful Dutch poem. This time I chose the poem Voor de dag van morgen (For tomorrow) by Hans Andreus.

About the poet

Hans Andreus was actually a pseudonym for Johan Wilhem van der Zant. He was born op February 21st 1926 in the Dutch capitol (Amsterdam). He died at the age of 51 on June 9th 1977. He was considered to be one of the De vijftigers  (The Fiftiers). A literal movement of young poets and writers who were inspired by the COBRA movement. Hugo Claus and Lucebert were also members of this movement.

He made his debut in 1951 when his first book was released. The title was Muziek voor kijkdieren. Translated to English this means as much as Music for animals that watch.

Andreus was also known for his books for children and the scripts he wrote for television. Furthermore, he also wrote a few novels.

About the poem

This poem is perfection in its simplicity. Not that the subject is simple. It’s about someone who may pass away at any given day. These are the wishes for the ones who are left behind.

For tomorrow

For tomorrow

By Hans Andreus

 

When I die tomorrow
tell the trees
how much I loved you.
Tell the wind,
who climbs in the trees
or falls from the branches,
how much I loved you
Tell a child
that is young enough to understand.
Tell it to an animal,
maybe by just looking at them.
Tell it to the houses made of stone,
tell it to the city
how much I loved you.

 

But tell no human,
they would not believe you.
They wouldn’t believe you,
that only a man
only a woman
that a human loved you so much
as I did.

The original Dutch version:

Voor een dag van morgen

Door Hans Andreus

 

Wanneer ik morgen doodga,
vertel dan aan de bomen
hoeveel ik van je hield.
Vertel het aan de wind,
die in de bomen klimt
of uit de takken valt,
hoeveel ik van je hield.
Vertel het aan een kind
dat jong genoeg is om het te begrijpen.
Vertel het aan een dier,
misschien alleen door het aan te kijken.
Vertel het aan de huizen van steen,
vertel het aan de stad
hoe lief ik je had.

 

Maar zeg het aan geen mens,
ze zouden je niet geloven.
Ze zouden niet willen geloven dat
alleen maar een man
alleen maar een vrouw
dat een mens een mens zo liefhad
als ik jou.

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