Vertalingen van Ezra de Haan


Gefiederte Finger

Wo schläft der Vogel bei Nacht?
Verschwindet er in der Finsternis
dem Geflüster der Äste,
sinken die Federn, die Flügel
in der Tinte der Nacht
auf die Couch aus Stroh
und Schweigen?
Ist er der Macht ausgeliefert,
der Macht aus Stroh und Schweigen?
Verschleißen seine Flügel,
Seine Federn, seine Finger
durch das Schreiben
mit dem Schwarz
der Tinte in der Nacht?



Namenlose Tage
wenn sich alles aneinander reiht
in einer unendlichen Umarmung
streichelnder Beine
knetest du meinen Rücken
als sei er aus Ton
Die Scheren, die wir formen
öffnen und schließen sich
als wären es unsere Lippen
Schlafschweiß schmeckt salzig
bis du dich vor mir spreizt


Afrikaans – vertaling Richard de Nooy


Ek het vandaag ’n skim gesien
van wie jy was
wie jy is
wie jy kon gewees het
nie in die nag soos eers nie
verskuil in skemering en skadu
maar helder asof ek wawyd wakker was
het ek jou sien wegkruip in woorde
gedagtes sien wegsteek asof onder ’n hoed
Ek het die spoor byster geraak, myself gesoek
onder lae klere. Moue vol
vertroue het vergaan. En praat
was slegs ’n stopper
vir trane, die gate in jou jas
want wat baie was
het skielik verdwyn.




Pták jsi říkal. Pták.
Našel příhodnéslovo.
A já to slovo vychutnával
jako exoticky pokrm
který leží sladce na jazyku.
Kočka se mi vloupala do noci
mokra čekáním.
Muj pták vyskočil
A ponořil se do hloubky jako dýka.



Feather fingers

Where do birds sleep at night?
Do they ascend into darkness
the whispering branches
do their feathers, their wings, dissolve
in the ink of the night
the bedding of straw
and silence.
Do their wings, their feathers
their fingers get frayed
as they write
with the black
of the ink
of the night.


Phosphor white lights
up the heavens
in broad nightlight
when thunder strikes the table.
The swaying silhouettes of palms
reflect in puddles
where sidewalks are lacking
the street streams like a river
and cars become ships.
Nature is briefly a beast
growls, snarls ans strikes
out its claws.
Then skulks away.



A man reduced to paper.
Franz. K already wrote:
someone is a component
lines become the knife
cutting the sheets



I knew a man
let me say:
I once had a client
small in stature
always talking
to himself
with those
who were no longer there.
He never stopped talking
never cut his hair.
Evil was in the roots
and never let itself be pruned.


Shaving without a Mirror

I was a country that strewed sand
long before any snow fell.
Fear covers my streets
Which were cold rather than salty.
White, the man drains from my face.
Precipitation threatens my border.
This life now is like shaving
without a mirror.
Only touch guides my blade
Removing years without blood
as long as I don’t swallow.



An unfamiliar sound resounds
steeple bells in sonorous cadence. Once
sleeping dogs, long since dark,
they now bark the evening peace to shreds.
A procession of cars before my window.
Visitors to commemorate the deceased.
The sound of  bronze dies slowly
reminds me of the Waalsdorpervlaktes
The guard dogs too withdraw.
The drone of aircraft the only audible thing.
The echo of worlds reached quickly
for those who prefer their grave elsewhere.

On the Waalsdorpervlakte in dune area Meijendel near The Hague, more than 250 people (the exact number is not known) were executed by the Germans during World War Two. The Waalsdorpervlakte is one of the Netherland’s most prominent war memorials.



The sky ignites
white as phosphorous
in the dead of night
when the thunder slams the table.
Palms sway their silhouettes
reflect in puddles
in the absence of doorsteps
the street turned into waterway
and cars into ships.
Nature behaving briefly like some beast
growling, snarling, thrusting out
its claws.
Then doubling up.




Such rest here
Rusty is the ship
lying at anchor.
Rusty is the wreck
a battered sperm whale.
Arched and high
the long, white bridge.
Suriname flows.
smells silt, mirrors the
cloud bringing rain.
I see the water go,
forget the restless feeling
burning through my veins.



Day in day out
grikibi taps
the windowpane
spreads its wings
shows its yellow beak
and calls its name
until I get up
and stare at him
and see the sun
that colors the day.



Where the twa twa
And pikolet
in their tiny cages
the Chinese
are silent
behind bars
that keep theft out
and them inside.
That’s how they hold on to what they’ve got:
rice, radios and rest
birds, gold and money.
In exchange they give themselves up
those alien birds
who have come from so far away.


Ode to a Young. Dead Owl

The childish wink of death
In a head stricken into a square.
The flapping impotence of wings,
waving through the wind that once bore them.
Now all they spread are feathers
In despair as light as air.
A frozen motion,
spasmodic as the talons
grabbing forever at nothing.


Ode to a Second, Dead Owl

Once more feathers fluttering
in the bend, near the lake
where three men drowned
flat on the road lies a dead owl.
At the water’s edge the peak keeps silent
along with the fisher in the boat.
Only the owl beckons
spreading a wing
at each car that passes.


Farmhouse Remains

The cornerstones
are piled
in anticipation.
Gray-green the crust
of moss, the grass, the beam
where like rotten teeth
nails rust
in peace.
The windowsill:
view for no one.
The doorstep:
crossed solely by rain.
Two chimneys
with cold hearth.
All awaiting
the winter storm
that puts back
what once was piled.


The House in the Hills

The house in the hills
Barely supports a roof.
Not a single trace of comfort.
And iron rusts in waves.
Among the rafters and white beams
I smell grass, the wild herb.
I see sections of floor, wall
the broken, wooden rake.
Reed baskets rotting away.
No mercy to be expected
from nature nor time:
wind, the bird that glides past.
Door, the only thing left standing,
keeping out such strangers.

(eerste twee gedichten in vertaling door Richard de Nooy, alle andere gedichten werden vertaald door Scott Rollins)


Feather Fingers







Translation: Sayaka Motani