On January 2nd (2017) we published the translated version of the poem Zelfkant written by the Dutch poet and writer Simon Vestdijk. As we are currently updating some old articles, to provide more background information, we decided to re-publish this article. This is a poem about the wish to be elsewhere. Anywhere but in the city.
About the poet
Simon Vestdijk is well known in The Netherlands. He wrote many books and left us many poems. Many of them were written in the period just before or after the Second World War. It shows a world that is captured by someone who was suffering from depression.
Vestdijk was born on October 17 1989 in the Dutch city Harlingen. He studied medicine and started out as a doctor. He decided to quit this job and start writing on professional basis. Not only novels, also poetry. Vestdijk translated some of the work of Emily Dickinson too.
He was nominated fifteen times for the Nobel prize in literature, but never won this award. He died on March 23 1971 in Utrecht (The Netherlands).
About the poem
The poem is obviously a translation. Therefore it is changed. Still, the message is the same. It is about the feeling of being trapped inside a city. A city with a large industry, that encourages the longing to be anywhere but there; elsewhere.
Take in consideration, that this poet suffered from depression since he was seventeen years old. This might explain the feeling of being trapped in this city. Or does it? You be the judge!
This poem was published previously on our website. We added the background information to this poem, to complete the article. We also changed the title of this article.
I love most of the half rusticity:
Vague prairie winds with lines
play full laundry; of factory sites
Between poorly grass rides the trolley,
Freighted with the secret of railway lines.
For I know, there’s where you live out your life
And yet not alive, wandering more loneliness
To find than in mountains or canyons.
The smoke of steam tram and bleaching
Or the ovens where they lit shells
More than thyme scent instigator of dreams,
And it black calf ‘s meadow on the edge
Is freed by an unexpectedly poem
And integrated into a single image with cinders.
— Simon Vestdijk
The Dutch version, the original one, can be found at our Dutch website.
And now time for your work! What do you have to offer us? We look forward reading your work. Use this link to submit your work.