Poetry is an act…

There is no poem that gives a good reason why some words are called poetry and what impact this can have on someone. The Dutch writer and poet Remco Campert, wrote the poem Poetry is an act (Poëzie is een daad).

About the poet

Remco Campert (full: Remco Wouter Campert)(1945) is a Dutch writer. He is responsible for various novels, poems and columns. He was born as the son of Jan Campert, who wrote the important poem Het lied der achttien dooden (The song of the eighteen dead). This poem was written after the execution of eighteen men who were part of the Dutch resistance on March 13 1941.

When Campert was three years old, his parents separated. In 1943 his father died in captivity in the Nazi concentration camp Neuengamme. From that time on, Campert lived with his mother. After the war they returned to Amsterdam. He followed his education at the Amsterdam Lyceum, but did not finish his study.

His debut was the series of poems combined into Ten lessons with Timothy in 1950. From that moment on, he became more and more popular.

Poetry is an act…

Poetry is an act...

By Remco Campert

Poetry is an act
of confirmation. I confirm
that I live, that I don’t live alone.

Poetry is a future, thinking
about next week, another country,
about you when you are old.

Poetry is my breath, moves
at my feet, faltering sometimes
about the earth who asks for this.

Voltaire had smallpox, but
cured himself by drinking among others
120 liters of lemonade: it is poetry.

Or take the waves. Broken on the rocks,
it is not really defeated,
but recaptures itself and it’s poetry.

Every word written
is an attack on old age.
Finally, death wins, for sure,

but death is only the silence in the hall
When the last word has sounded.
Death is an emotion.

The Dutch original

Poëzie is een daad…

Door Remco Campert

Poëzie is een daad
van bevestiging. Ik bevestig
dat ik leef, dat ik niet alleen leef.

Poëzie is een toekomst, denken
aan volgende week, aan een ander land,
aan jou als je oud bent.

Poëzie is mijn adem, beweegt
mijn voeten, aarzelend soms,
over de aarde die daarom vraagt.

Voltaire had pokken, maar
genas zichzelf door o.a. te drinken
120 liter limonade: dat is poëzie.

Of neem de branding. Stukgeslagen
op de rotsen is zij niet werkelijk verslagen,
maar herneemt zich en is daarin poëzie.

Elk woord dat wordt geschreven
is een aanslag op de ouderdom.
Tenslotte wint de dood, jazeker,

maar de dood is slechts de stilte in de zaal
nadat het laatste woord geklonken heeft.
De dood is een ontroering.

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