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Eleven Wishes

I want you fresh like the sea breeze
that comes at the end of the aestival afternoon
to cool the sweltering heat of the busy day

I want you soft like the rain late in spring
gently squenching the soil's thirst
after offering its treasures to life budding

I want you clear as the song of the birds
that proclaim their chant to nature's love
and tell the tales that keep the land alive

I want you crisp like the first snowflake in winter
that perfect balance on a crystalline grid
shining and tender like the Virgin's soul

I want you like the untamable wild horses
running free in the fields without any burden
of false beliefs and oppressive thoughts

I want you as pure as the first ray of light
that sprang forth from the pristine fire
touching earth without losing the original spark

I want you like Zeus' thundery voice
always rigtheously speaking to the world
but with the poet's subtle use of metaphor

I want you like the diaphanous summer light
that paints the world in dissolving colors
and warms the souls of all animated life alike

I want you raw and guileless as the original man
that walked the earth in perfect cadence
with the fierce forces of nature --his own

I want you like the rainbow over the dunes
light that beams off a the tear in Zephyrus' eye
touched by Iris' unearthly grace and beauty

I want you like the song of Orpheus' lyre
make time stop to listen in an eternal now
enchanting the life that embraces us all



Alone in the house. Alone in a room. with furniture, canvasses, carpets. With everything that stands in a room. The hearth fire killed, because it is summer. And the lamp burns. Because the night came. Always night. Never will anything change. Night, summer, loneliness. Longing for a woman. Remembering her body and drinking. Her body, remembering eyes and words. To move to the telephone. Dialing no number. Waiting. Waiting for the phone. Waiting for the words of a woman whose body and desire you remember. Is this memory? Or where does the dream begin? The radio. Voices. And music. White flowers in a copper vase. For whom? Vibraphone. Music nostalgic as white flowers in a copper can. Night, summer, a room and Sadi plays ‘April in Paris’.


Weeks of silence. Dying. A bloody tramp, again. Slowly reviving in spite of the rain. With the rain, slowly. Find her hands in the rain. Recognize her smile. Healing slowly in her the hands of her smile underneath the rain. Rubbing debris to a city of light. Forgetting weeks of silence.
July again in the garden. Writing at an oval table under four birches. The light through the foliage like the rain from weeks ago. But now July again and no more silent. The sun a hot soft rain through the foliage. Like her hands and laughter. Healed. No more bleeding. No more tramping. To rest in the summer of her love. I breath the sun. My skin drinks the summer. The heath of light years since the light began. I am timeless. Pure as the sun. Like a beloved one. Like a harpsichord sonata.
I hear the music coming from the house I remember. Scarlatti. Domenico. Pure like the birches in the garden. Like the rain that I do remember. That I don’t remember. Pure as this woman. I am the harpsichord of her hands. Her smile my silver sonata. Scarlatti, sun, her hands and her laughter. Her body and a city of light at the horizon. I will be silent no more. Weeks of rain have past. My skin drinks the summer. From her love I breath the light-year in.


no tree
grows higher
than its highest leave


Night. Live emptied. Getting up from chair. Last consciousness of my muscles. Then I want to sleep. I want to sleep and not be lonely. I want to sleep in a dream of awakening. A dream of revival. The lamp still needs to be turned off. And the radio. What more? Getting up from the chair. I long for a blind sleep. Another three steps to the radio. What more do I long for? Another three minutes of waiting with the hand on the button. Not be lonely. Another three minutes of living despite everything, despite day and night and everything. Not dying. Another three minutes breathing and waking, with the voice of Julie London.


She already sung when I was young
Sarah Vaughn
she sings today and I turned gray
Sarah Vaughn
and I turned gray and know her voice
that already sung when I was young
Sarah Vaughn
I said today
this is her voice
I know her voice
That already moved me then
Sarah Vaughn
I said today
As long as I’ll be young she will sing
Sarah Vaughn


You walk through the street. You walk with music in your head. Already years ago. In the same street the same music over and over, Since when? Who were you that day, years ago, when you first passed through this street with the that music in your head. How was the light or did rain fall? Irretrievable. But today you search for happiness around the eyes and around the lips of the people on the gray path. Today in this street that same music suddenly pops up in your head again. Unchanged. This is important. Since this is how you salute the people in the rain with a smile. This the gray path becomes light. And the city a house of delight.


The low sun February on her hands. Why do I think: De Braeckeleer?
A three-note theme. Floating above it
ascending hymn. Archangels. Cherubs.
A morning and winter sun in the room.
De Braeckeleer in February.
Her hands diaphanous like the three-note theme.
In Paradisum. Gabriel Fauré.
The world keeps silent. Above it and ascending
into one another we flow.
In Paradisum, the lowly sun and my beloved.
A hymn to our life’s this Requiem of
Gabriel Fauré.


Two-fold belief and two-fold truth:
Bach and Beaudelaire.


Around ten, a morning in July, and beautifully I make all the sounds of the city, for now that I drive in my car through the streets, the sun dances on the hood, like flashes the spotlights on a twinkling instrument, played by, for example, Miles Davis.


Now that the sun has returned making everything clamorous, accompanying everything with sharp shadows and through itself destroys the illusion of sheer light and mildness, because sun really is synonymous for thirst, singeing, desert, I voice it, now that I awake from a gentle insanity I am invulnerable for the shadows that usher everything with sharp knives, immune to illusions of mildness, tougher than nostalgia or Heimweh. I voice it and I know it, such it was yesterday.
Nostalgia and Heimweh for the rain. Longing for the sun, since I believed in sheer light. A belief really synonymous with refutation. We will not be weakened for sun, shadow, rain. For illusions. Today no longer. Such it was yesterday. But Brassens already knew it for years: j’avais l’air d’un con, ma mère.


Happiness: one another’s presence inexplicably invokes other, stranger experiences of beauty.
She speaks to me, 4 PM, simply in the street
about ordinary things.
She speaks to me in an ordinary street with cars,
people, an ordinary day with blue and clouds
and sounds of the city. I hear her voice.
See here's happiness, the other beauty. I hear her voice and inexplicably peculiar I think:
Arcangelo Corelli.


I swim and the rain rustles in the water.
I float and embrace the rain and the water.
I swim and float and am alone. Alone breathing,
Alone seeing, alone listening.
The rain rustles in the water. They embrace me.
I breathe, I see. And I listen in the rain and the water
To the piano of Eric Satie.


The house loud with friends.
I listen in my glass silence, a motionless, fragile
Island, and I think of what I wrote long years ago:
‘I’m looking for a voice. I want a voice to carry me.’
The house is loud, but what do I recognize, what advances onto me, what carries me through this night?
But then: Yves Montand.
Yves Montand sings Eluard’s L’Amoureuse.
And suddenly one voice in the house, one poem in my mouth,
One love partaking in my silence.
Elle a la forme de mes mains.
Elle a la couleur de mes yeux,
Sings Paul Eluard,
Sings Yves Montand,
I speak, motionless in the loud night.


First I wrote poems attended by the Modern
Jazz Quartet, later by Corelli, Albinoni, Vivaldi,
Still later by Beat,
And now again by my own breath, moaning after the
Thirtiest cigarette.


‘Where speech ceases, music starts’
(E.T.A. Hoffman)
Where music ceases, poetry starts and re-starts
Beauty is a perfect circle.

Clem Schouwenaars: Gedichten ‘56 ’70.

© 1999 Ingrid van der Voort.

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