Dying in the early spring of 1972, leaving behind her the birth of a child of 24 years, his love for Joanna – a woman he never married, died six years earlier – and the memory of a brief and unhappy marriage two other daughters. Jan Engelman, Dutch poet and essayist, born in Utrecht in 1900, has given us love poems with streaks of deep religiosity, made with words that drew strength from their sound, adding expressive musicality of the text.
MORNING OF MAY IN LIMBURG – by Jan Engelman
“Conceal my face in the flowers and cancels my mouth:
the morning surf as wine and lusty cocks
sing like a thousand years ago and here I am healthy
As the farmer who harvests the wheat shiny.
The hot bed is repugnant, in the icy water shines
The body trembles in sweet silver links,
fischiamo Mozart, eat slowly under the green
walnut vibrant singing finch.
The hills are like swollen breasts of the bride,
up there in an ancient castle dreams in vain,
the earth sings at full throat, the sides of roads
swarms of bees sound and hems of white flowers.
And on top of us, blessed the sun and blue,
two children of the spring, two Greeks born in late,
we look at the valley still wet with dew,
the hills lined with mosaic sown.
A raging bull for the rusty chain
vents the anger in the grass with horns lowered,
fierce and rears its head crosses the line
Maastricht where floats between the forest of towers.
The church of marl, the white farms, the river,
poplars including the sweet wind sang,
here I want to live and love as long as the country
does not seep down the last fiber.
States at sea along with the earth,
we live in perennials this spring.
The world lingers desperate, fear wins,
we are obedient to the good elements.”
“Here’s the front, make it gray!
Oh death, oh cool, you’re close to me:
you who know me, and in the extreme
I know carnival.
It raised the mask to me, is so dirty
When I will fall into the pit
With hands clasped and her face white,
and excluded from the wintry day.
It all comes back in the end what it was:
the frail body a handful of ashes,
and above me will stay a child
singing in the wind of spring.”
“You who know that the higher blue
Start a voice from heaven not reached,
sing, it is time prescribed, the angel
looks at you and the cold devil is lurking.
Two fires in the fog of the night,
not double star, but unique alloy,
blind attest to the strength yoked
that there rages and flows into the vacuum.
The man perishes, men continue,
everyone knows her mirror and there you look,
louder and louder roars the flood,
the bird flies, is the new standard.
Who sees the olive branch and lands
On Ararat and speaks in a clear voice
The language of the principle? An old spirit,
but not tired of days is finally at the top
of its spiral and breaks hearts,
burns the kidneys and is longing
the words he hears the firstborn:
I am in the Father and I are the Son,
the world to you and to me the word.”