19 October 2014



                                   by Cees Nooteboom

Ancient poet, touched by the Muses themselves,
so you claimed at least,
with a branch of laurel,
or was that just boasting?

I stare at the fifteenth of your fragments of unknown position:
"with the pitiless smoke of pitch
and cedarwood",
an uprooted line without a poem.

Kapnos, smoke, fumes, steam,nèleès (poet.), without pity, merciless.
I sit with your written orphan on the table
while my neighbour burns off
brambles. I see the smoke
over the dry field, pitch black and menacing,
and smell that cedar,

a smell that's three thousand years old.
Was it a fire or a sacrifice,
or were you just watching your neighbour?
Hesiod, marble poet,
when will you finally
finish that

 From The Guardian, 10 May 2014. From Light Everywhere, translated by David Colmer.

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