a new life…
was what I had in mind on this day, the day of candlemas,

a new life: trees recede as if they were strange to the forest,
all day long you waited until just one leaf unfolded, at last,

right out of its veins: saintlike resembling the one and the only.
I could refer to the bible, not fading away, for now, in my hands.

but it would tell you about a thousand virgin mary’s(*), all alike.
so let us stay together now, in ancient nature, under cloudy skies,

hurrying towards sundown(**) looking like this was ages ago.
I made an appointment with the Other One. he said: after all these years,

celebrate easter vigil, whit sunday, even our-lady ascension, really soon.
Godenkind, 02-02-2017

Dutch version:
een nieuw leven…
was wat mij voor ogen stond vandaag, dag van maria-lichtmis,

een nieuw leven: bomen wijken uit het woud als was het hen vreemd,
dagen lang heb je gewacht tot één blad zich ontvouwde

recht vanuit de nervatuur: volmaakt als het ware en het enige.
ik kan verwijzen naar de bijbel die niet verbleekt in mijn handen.

maar hij zou spreken van duizend maagd maria’s(*), allen dezelfde.
laten we dus samenblijven, in oude natuur, een bewolkte hemel,

die haastig wegdrijft naar einders(**) van wel eeuwen geleden.
ik heb een afspraak met De Andere. hij zei: na al deze jaren,

vier de paaswake, pinksteren, zelfs maria hemelvaart, heel binnenkort.
Godenkind 02-02-2017

A Candlemas poem which I finished today after a difficult start with only one 1 line 2 days ago. But then I learned about how trump makes things happen right away and… all’s well that ends well 🙈.

It is a mixed bag, because I was switching between Dutch/English all the time, Dutch being my native language.

(*)Actually, I’m not sure about the ‘virgin mary’ plural. (could be ‘virgins mary’), not even in Dutch (could be ‘maagden maria’). I assume there is only one Virgin Mary, but this is a grammatical issue, is it not?

(**)The Dutch version is different where I use the word “einders” which means “horizons” instead of the rather clumsy “zonsondergangen” which means “sundowns”.
Anyway, what about some more pancakes now?
PS Poem only suitable for underaged Christian citizens.🙈
Photos: today at noon, a few blocks away from my house; one made through sunglasses.


Thomas More/ Utopia

Thomas More/ Utopia
from Book Two:
The chief business of the Stywards – in fact, practically their only business – is to see that nobody sits around doing nothing, but that everyone gets on with his job. They don’t wear people out, though, by keeping them hard at work from early morning till late at night, like cart-horses. That’s just slavery – and yet that’s what life is for the working classes nearly everywhere else in the world. In Utopia they have a six-hour working day – three hoirs in the morning, then lunch – then a two hour break – then three more hours in the afternoon, followed by supper. They go to bed at 8pm, and sleep for eight hours. All the rest of the twenty-four they’re free to do what they like – not to waste their time in idleness or self-indulgence, but to make good use of it in some congenial activity. Most people spend these free periods on further education, for these are public lectures first thing every morning. Attendance is quite voluntary, except for those picked out for academic training, but men and women of all classes go crowding in to hear them – I mean, different people go to different lectures, just as the spirit moves them. However there’s nothing to stop you from spending this extra time on your trade, if you want to. Lots of people do, if they haven’t the capacity for intellectual work, and are much admired for such public-spirited behaviour.
(Penguin Classics, 1965, 1972)
Sir Thomas More’s entertaining description of Utopia, an island supporting a perfectly organized and happy people, was a best-seller when it first appeared in Latin in 1516. 

“Utopia” revolutionized Plato’s classical blueprint of the perfect republic, mainly by its realism. Locating his island in the (then) New World, More endowed it with a language and poetry, and detailed the length of the working day and even the divorce laws.
A few weeks ago I found this little book on one of my remote bookshelves, being reminded about its existence there by the ongoing, all-encompassing Thomas More event in nearby Leuven (Belgium).

More’s utopian society does have some touches of Orwell’s 1984. 

Many opposing concepts appear to be able to exist together, like f.i. the death penalty is abolished but a form of slavery is still accepted.

Actually, the book first appeared in 1516, which makes it into a remarkable, at times stunning, essay on contemporary human society anyway.


Georges Limbour/ Soleils bas

Georges Limbour/ Soleils bas
Les bergers sans moutons
à Max Jacob
Nous sommes d’un pays

qui n’a pas d’arbres fruitiers

Nos mains ont pressé le lait

du sein de la cornemuse

Nos cœurs saignent dans les mûriers

pourquoi nos sœurs sont-elles laides

si les légendes nous abusent
Nous clouons les papiers blancs

des bouquetières du midi

sur les croix des cerfs-volants

aux migrations indéfinies

A ces cœurs mal équilibrés

Toute la plaine se suspend

en avant-garde ils guidereaient

des peuplades d’ambulants.
Herbes rases séchées sans même de troupeau

Vous fleurissez très haut ces cœurs vains de papier

Trainant comme un regret leur queue de bigoudis

qui n’ont dans le sommeil frisé de chevelure

en ce morne pays rougé de roussissures.
Notre vie est penchée ainsi que des fumées

nos gestes de sonneur n’énervent pas le ciel

Tels des bouquets noyés nos cerfs-volants dérivent

et le monde paraît les suivre.
This little collection contains the remarkable ‘Soleils bas’ (Low-hanging suns) suite of poems, followed by assorted poems and stories from 1919-1968.

‘Soleils bas’ was published as early as 1924 and so preceeds the quarrels between A.Breton and G.Limbour. It is a fine example of “écriture automatique” which was of the trademarks of the French surrealists in those days.
Georges Limbour was an early ‘adopter’ of Surrealist poetry and prose, shortly after World War I.

He was a member of the Surrealist Movement in Paris during the 1920s, but was expelled in 1929. Before his association with André Breton and the Surrealists, Limbour co-edited, along with Roger Vitrac and René Crevel, the avant-garde review Aventure (1921–22). Later, he contributed to Georges Bataille’s journal Documents (1929–30), and, with a number of other dissident ex-surrealists, signed the anti-Breton pamphlet ‘Un Cadavre’.

This pamphlet was arranged by a number of disaffected surrealists, sharply criticizing the movement’s leader, André Breton, in response to criticism Breton made in his Second Surrealist Manifesto. The manifesto, published in December 1929, directly criticized certain members of the movement and attempted to set the course for future group activities.

The Second Manifesto attacked individuals who were already moving away from Breton, and can be regarded both as his way of formalizing the break and attacking Georges Bataille, who he feared was starting an anti-surrealist movement. The pamphlet ‘Un Cadavre’ contained short essays by a number of those Breton criticized, many of whom he had formally expelled from the movement for reasons seemingly contrary to its goals, which in hindsight appear to be more a result of his famously imperious pride. For example, according to the Second Manifesto, the prose writer Georges Limbour was expelled for “literary coquetry in the worst sense of the word,” a reason that emphasizes Breton’s rigid disdain for literature, as opposed to poetry. Another major reason for division in the group was its increasingly politicized position, which tended toward Marxism.


Camurac revisited

camurac revisited

now there’s a dog that barks at the freezing cold.

the air is filled with one word

which blares to country folk,

wide borne by the mists, would that be radio signals

from distant lovers? soon the earth

sinks in its other darkness, as pure as

good, clear water: you found it in sources

like gold, only in spring, or in fountains, from the mountains

descended, I had no other explanation.

Godenkind, on December the 4th, 2016

Dutch version:

terug naar camurac 

nu verschijnt een hond die op de vrieskou blaft.

de lucht staat bol van één woord

dat schalt voor buitenlui,

wijds gedragen door de nevels, radiosignalen

van verre beminden? straks daalt

de aarde in andere duisternis, zo zuiver als

goed, helder water: je vond het, na de regen, 

als goud, alleen in de lente, of in fonteinen, uit de bergen

neergedaald, ik had geen andere verklaring.

Godenkind 04-12-2016

I wrote this poem today. It is about winter being suddenly here and also about looking back to some good moments in the French Pyrenees, last summer.

I wrote it in Dutch, but I added an English version almost instantly. The two versions got intertwined because I found myself making changes in English, which was weird, being a native Dutch speaker.

Photo: 3 month ago, in the village of Camurac, high on the Plateau de Sault, French Pyrenees.


Virginia Woolf/ To the Lighthouse

Virginia Woolf/ To the Lighthouse
He said nothing. He took opium. Thr children said he had stained his beard yellow with it. Perhaps. What was obvious to her was thst the the poor man was unhappy, came to them as an escape; and yet every year, she felt the same thing; he did not thrust her. She said, ‘I’m going to the town. Shall I get you stamps, paper, tobacco?’ and she felt him wince. He did not thrust her. It was his wife’s doing. She remembered that iniquity of his wife’s towards him, which had made her turn to steel and adamant there, in the horrid little room in St.John’s Wood, when with her own eyes she had seen that odious woman turn him out of the house. (…)
(Penguin Books, 1970)
Virginia Woolf died in 1941. Her first books were novels, and at the time of her death she had won a foremost place in English fiction, but she also ranks high among literary critics and essayists.
This novel was acclaimed on its appearance in 1927, and the Spectator commented that her genius was ‘at once more difficult and more original than that of any other novelist of today’.

The cover shows a detail from ‘The Red Skirt’, 1948, by Ceri Richards (photo Rodney Todd-White).
I bought this adorable little book way back in 1970, when I was a student at the University of Leuven.


Robert Desnos/ Corps et Biens

Robert Desnos/ Corps et Biens
L’Aumonyme (1923)

Vingt fois buvez ce vin.

L’or est hors de nos mains

qui demain

palperont les cinq seins

d’une femme plus belle que

la qui bêle.
Timide { à nos portes

humide{ ”

on la porte en ville

(la beauté est vile)

Mille grains de mil

pour les gringalets
ricochez sur la vie.
(Gallimard, 1953, 1968)
In 1919, Robert Desnos met the poet Benjamin Péret who introduced him to the Paris Dada group and André Breton, with whom he soon became friends. While working as a literary columnist for Paris-Soir, Desnos was an active member of the Surrealist group and developed a particular talent for automatic writing. He, together with writers such as Louis Aragon and Paul Éluard, would form the literary vanguard of surrealism. André Breton included two photographs of Desnos sleeping in his surrealist novel Nadja.[2] Although he was praised by Breton in his 1924 Manifeste du Surréalisme for being the movement’s “prophet”, Desnos disagreed with Surrealism’s involvement in communist politics, which caused a rift between him and Breton. Desnos continued work as a columnist.
“Corps et Biens” was published in 1930, at a time when French Surrealism in literature (and in painting and movies) was, so to say, on the way back. Breton, Soupault, Aragon, Péret, Artaud and Desnos himself had already published their most significant writings in the past decade. 
I bought this book way back in the sixties, when I was a student at the Univerity of Leuven, Belgium.



Cows and donkeys are all lined up for better times to come.

Did you know cows have this bias towards evergreen pastures?

Don’t ask why but be there when the sun shines intermittently.

And just to remind you: we are 3 of 4 feet from home, alive on longer days.
Consider days that grow longer, any day any size you like.

Days all lined up for better times to come & the future as such.

I can only speak out for myself now but hear, hear!

There’s a plane in some distant summer sky, that you just painted.
Donkeys (or cows) have no particular liking for summer days.

For all we know; still, our knowledge makes considerable progress.

We almost know you and you might be real close to knowing us.

In those days, even planes were lined up for better things to come.
Godenkind 23-11-2017
I wrote this poem (sounds more like thinking out loud) a few days ago. I hope you like it. I wrote the first line in English, it just came naturally to me while I was walking through fields nearby. And I found myself continuing in English for no particular reason. But now I have to translate it into Dutch, because that is my native language.
Photos: yesterday, close to home.