Poem by J. Slauerhoff (1898-1936). He was a writer, a ship’s doctor and one of the few lyrical poets in Dutch language. “His restless soul still shivers through in Dutch literature, incomparable to anyone” (Cees Nooteboom). Music by Bas Kooman (2013). As far as i know, there’s no English translation of this poem. Below i tried to give a rough impression. ANGÚSTIA (rough translation) The sea flows under the night To many deserted beaches; As a liquid wind is his complaint, And salt, such as burning tears. I feel that wherever the Surf breaks into sobs Against the coasts of the earth, My sorrows with its waves begs To the lost grace of being close to you I want to wade off my ship To every horizon line. Because nowhere and everywhere, As the light of the moon from the clouds, Wanders my sorrow through the universe And wants to drown in whirpools. But I know that the sea and I In the night feel the same, Tossing together round one suffering On the endless bed to a sob. That I sought to forget I lost everything to a woman; But where he also seems possessed by her I am still immersed in mourning. ANGÚSTIA De zee trekt onder de nacht Naar vele verlaten stranden; Als een vloeibare wind is zijn klacht, En zout, zooals tranen branden. Ik voel dat overal waar de Branding in snikken breekt Tegen de kusten der aarde, Mijn leed met zijn golven smeekt Om de verloren genade Jou weer nabij te zijn. Ik wil van mijn schip af waden Naar iedere einderlijn. Want nergens en overal, Als ’t licht van de maan uit de wolken, Doolt mijn verdriet door ’t heelal En wil zich verdrinken in kolken. Maar ik weet dat de zee en ik Des nachts hetzelfde voelen, Om één leed tezamen woelen Op ’t oeverloos bed tot een snik. Zoo zocht ik om te vergeten Dat ik alles verloor om een vrouw; Maar waar hij ook door haar schijnt bezeten, Word ik toch weer gedompeld in rouw. [Painting by Nyckgs] SLAUERHOFF J. Slauerhoff is one of the greatest Dutch poets of the twentieth century. He owes the unique position he occupies in Dutch literature to completely personal themes he carved out in equally personal poetry. Longing for the passionate love for a woman, struck by the tragedy of loneliness, the yearning to be elsewhere or somewhere in the past, the desire for the sea, the disenchantment with present-day life, the awareness of degeneration, all these themes mark him as a late Romantic poet. On the other hand, the rawness and acrimony of his tone, as well as his split personality, make him a true exponent of his era. In the guise of consistently different characters, either historical or fictive, Slauerhoff aligns with the modernist tradition of Yeats, Pound, Eliot, and Pessoa. Born and raised in Leeuwarden, capital of the province of Friesland, Slauerhoff studied medicine in Amsterdam. He made his debut in 1923 with the collection Archipel *(Archipelago*), in which almost all the elements present in his later work can already be found. After completing his study, he became a ship’s doctor on Dutch vessels sailing to East Asia. His poor health was repeatedly the cause of broken employment contracts. Accordingly, he led an itinerant life. ‘Nowhere but in my poems can I dwell,/ Nowhere else could I a shelter find’ are the first lines of one of his most renowned poems (‘Homeless’), which can be regarded as characteristic of his life and work. His work also displays a certain restlessness, which he not only depicts in the content of the work but also substantiates in the form of his poetry. His verses are often ‘unfinished’. Unlike most of his contemporaries Slauerhoff adhered to classical verse forms, but his verse structure is often irregular. A deliberate cynicism or grotesque imagery contributes to the coarse nature of his poetry, in which a vulnerable sensitivity shines through the thin membrane of the verse. Slauerhoff, who is referred to as the only poète maudit in Dutch literature, was influenced by French poets (Rimbaud, Verlaine, Corbière), the Czech/German Rilke, and several Chinese poets (Bai Juyi, Li Po), whose work he translated. Besides poems, J. Slauerhoff (1898-1936) also wrote stories, novels, and a play. In addition, he published travelogues and reviews. Ten collections of his work were published during his comparatively short life. The last, Een eerlijk zeemansgraf (An Honourable Seaman’s Grave) appeared shortly before his death after a long illness, in a private clinic in The Netherlands. Despite his ‘violations’ of verse technique, Slauerhoff was regarded by his contemporaries as a genuine poet with a completely distinctive voice. Nowadays he is one of the few poets from the previous century whose work is still widely sold. There is a Portugese translation of Angústia, used by the fantastic Fadista Cristina Branco who used this poem on her album “Cristina Branco canta Slauerhoff” (2004).
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