indian summer again bernd thaller leo vroman

Indian Summer Again (Poem by Leo Vroman)

This poem was translated especially for Dutch the magazine by its author, Leo Vroman, on May 2, 2013. It was published in Issue 12. The original work, Indian Summer, first appeared in Dutch in the poetry bundle 126 Gedichten (126 Poems) in 1964.

Indian Summer Again

On our porch, during a meal,
and innocently drinking
some water, I suddenly feel
as if I am sinking, sinking,

the glass almost falls from my hand
when I think of the endless sea
of water between me
and my old motherland,

water so bitterly cold
that the dolphins and the dead
choking in depth and too old
to remember, drown me instead.

Sometimes I wiggle along
down into fake memories
of the low lands but all these
are slimy like eels, and wrong

for Holland is dark and small,
a pale pink precious queen
without trails fits barely between
its borders if at all.

Who talks there blows in your face,
each gesture becomes a blow,
laughter turns into a row;
love needs more space.

No, closing my ears while trying
to hear that surf break into foam
and those Dutch herring gulls crying,
I’d rather be homesick than home.

Leo Vroman is a well-known Dutch poet, artist and scientific researcher. He began writing poetry and publishing cartoons in 1934, while he was studying biology at the University of Utrecht. In 1940 he fled occupied Holland and went to the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia). From 1941-1945 he was a prisoner of war in Japan. His diaries from this time are preserved in the Museum of Dutch Literature (The Hague). Vroman moved to the United States after the war.

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