Bay by evening

Twilight comes.
a large, red moon
rises slowly out of the waves
on the eastern edge
of the hardly breathing evening bay.
dreams come together with the waves
while musing things are revealed to me, unsought for,
which for years in doubt I fought to find
thinking that happiness must be questioned
and that life without pain does not bestow.
o, how wonderful to linger
on these thoughts!
with the disappearing beneath the evening palms
I am filled with peace.


Two Friends


The moon makes a snowwhite field of the night.
a man has told a friend all about his life:

a miracle has taken place because of this talking:
their hearts have become as two together walking

that the one as he sometimes looks back
says to himself: but am I not like that?

a woman; yet another woman; an absence consuming.
it is as if it is the end of everything:

for one heart journeys forth and one heart stays home
but neither of the two finds Paradise alone.


Polderland

I walk through the polderland
beneath the slanting rain;
unending is this land,
unending are the ways,

that to the horizons go;
in the region of low heavens
between the small streams black
rules the misty light of the moon,

o, land of thirty rivers,
the people that inhabit you
grow somber in the quarrelling
that divides money and God,
purple rank and crown of the thorns.

unending is this land,
unending are the ways,
that to the horizons go;
I walk to greet the morning
under the misty light of the moon.


Memories of Holland

Thinking about Holland,
I see broad rivers
moving slowly through
endless lowlands,
rows of unthinkably
thin poplars
standing as high plumes
on the horizon;
and sunken within
wonderful space,
farm houses
scattered throughout the land,
clusters of trees, villages,
cropped towers,
churches and elms
in one great association.
the air hangs low
and the sun is slowly
muffled in a gray
mottled fog,
and in all the many provinces
the voice of the water
with its eternal calamities
is feared and heard.


Looking Ahead


In a few days
it shall belong to the past.
in order to forget
I'll give myself
to the warm glow
of wine and passion;
but what is wine,
what is the dizzying
rapture of love
compared with the joy
of thirty words
one by one
cleansed of time?
let there be no rancor,
spare my mouth
the jealous indignity
and impoverished chatter
of impotence.
let me be thankful
for every song!
and do not mute the memory
of the three golden sails
even if fate
has scorned
and tainted me
like a useless rag.