01 September 2009

Famous Belgian Poets - Miriam Van Hee

In honour of my naturalization, I want to feature some Belgian poets and their poems this week. Ironically my first google search took me to famouspoetsandpoems.com, where I thought I'd hit the motherload in one fell swoop, only to find the following:

Belgian Poets and Poems Total Poets: 0

Not quite what I had in mind. Poetry International Web is much more helpful. So I am pleased to be able to give to you today the poet Miriam Van Hee, two sections from her poem, Evening In Dún Laoghaire. She writes in Flemish, and the original can be found by following the previous link.

by Miriam Van Hee

the lady from latvia recounted
how the people ended up where they did:
the finns steadily pushed the lapps

and the prussians were so belligerent,
do you hear, that they all
perished on their campaigns
of conquest

why are there so few
funny poems, sighed
the lady from latvia, she called the waiter
and asked him for more whisky, then
she looked outside and said
there was no one any more
who spoke prussian

. . .

the world is large, said
the lady from latvia,
europe, america, my father
died in siberia

we speak the oldest language
in europe, there aren’t many of us
that’s why we talk a lot,
we should wash out
our mouths with soap
my mother would say, where
is my mother now, why
can’t I be silent, why
can’t I cry?

life is long, said the lady
from latvia and you can’t
trade it in

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