Homeless

Homeless

The Dutch poet Jan Jacob Slauerhof (published his work as J. Slauerhof) died a long time ago. His legacy still is very important to the Dutch language when it comes to writing. This time I used a translation that I found online.

Slauerhof is known for his books and verses. As this website is all about poetry, I will only write about that last part. However, we do have to take in consideration that Slauerhof had meant a lot for the Dutch literary world. Some of his work is even translated in other languages.

Homeless

By J.J. Slauerhoff
Translated by A.Z. Foreman

Only in my poems can I make my home.
I have found shelter in no other form.
There is no hearth I’ve pined for as my own.
A tent could be uprooted in the storm.

 

Only in my poems can I make my home.
While I still know that I can find those doors
In wilderness, in woods, on streets or moors,
I have no care, wherever I may roam.

 

Long though it be, the time shall surely come
When before eve my old powers lose their spark
And beg in vain for tender words of old
That I once built with, and the earth must fold
Me to my rest as I bow to the cold
Space where my grave bursts open in the dark.

The Dutch original

Woningloze

Alleen in mijn gedichten kan ik wonen,
Nooit vond ik ergens anders onderdak;
Voor de eigen haard gevoelde ik nooit een zwak,
Een tent werd door den stormwind meegenomen.

 

Alleen in mijn gedichten kan ik wonen.
Zoolang ik weet dat ik in wildernis,
In steppen, stad en woud dat onderkomen
Kan vinden, deert mij geen bekommernis.

 

Het zal lang duren, maar de tijd zal komen
Dat vóór den nacht mij de oude kracht ontbreekt
En tevergeefs om zachte woorden smeekt,
Waarmee ’k weleer kon bouwen, en de aarde
Mij bergen moet en ik mij neerbuig naar de
Plek waar mijn graf in ’t donker openbreekt.

My thanks goes out to Poems found in translation

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