tree barren

Following are fragments from Dutch poet Gertrude Starik s elusive, timeless puzzling yet rigorous,  serial poem The Way to Egypt, written over a period of 30 years. It presents a  The 5 separate volumes of The Way to Egypt, were composed completely symmetrically. Thus, the 1st poem of the 1st book corresponds formally to the last poem of the last book. The same is true for the 2nd poem of the first book & the penultimate poem of the last book; thusly, continuing inwards.

The following are fragments / powms taken from part 1 of her pentalogy (her poem in 5 volumes); De Weg Naar Egypte, Twintig Passages, 1970 – 1977)

i saw the grains back then
& also the king who ever since
has ruled over the barren wasteland

i have offered him thorns
& signed the graves of
my dead young ones

& should you let go my earth would colour white”

ask no one where i live what i am now called
ask not with whom i sleep i sleep alone
ask no one if i have changed a lot

the vase if finished the oven has been built
a big open fireplace it seems not more
i wear the black dress the lily-ring

i have axed the wooden table broken
for now there are some roses in the vase
when it is summer i will send for you

there is no bridge but the river is drying up
i have dug a hole in the sand
the fires will burn when you come

i will be there dagger in my hand   (p. 17)

i said built new again far from the village
& far from the rock where the raven stand
i promise you i will come find you here

i walked the empty rooms through the wind
ever turning it became dark i heard
the sea close by the scared neighing
of horses a party in the village in the
distance the deep screeching the ravens
at night do not move from their usual place


the ravens go the seven ravens go
across the bay on the wind that shows
where in the distance the land grows grey (p.33)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s