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Jan Arends (1925 – 1974), Lunchbreakpoems, 1977, Bezige Bij, Amsterdam

I
write poems
like thin trees

Who
can
speak
as meagre with language
as me?

Maybe
my father
was sparing with
with the seed

I never
knew him
this man

p. 33

^ ^ ^

^ ^ ^ ^

Als je werkelijk mooi
wilt zijn
moet je
een neushoofd hebben.
Een neushoofd
dat is genoeg.
Je hoeft
zelfs geen neus
te hebben.
Wanneer je
maar
een neushoofd hebt
een neushoofd
met wat snot eraan
dan is
het goed.
^ ^ ^ ^
If you truly want
to be beautiful
you have to
have a noseface.
A noseface
that is enough.
You do
not even have
to have a nose.

As long as
you
have a nosehead
a nosehead
with some snot on it
then it
is good.

^ ^ ^  ^

You can
not go back
to the judge.

The judge
is dead.

The evil
is said.

The evil
stays repeated.

The evil
has become right.

The evil
is not true/

Only
the sorrow
is true.

You can
not go back
to the judge.

The judge
who did it
is dead.

^ ^ ^ ^

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^ ^ ^ ^

Language
branches out
& the last word
is a question
in the air
(p. 14)

^ ^ ^

There has
Never yet
Been a person
who owned
A grain of sand

^ ^ ^

What an unsettling
feeling of peace
it gives
when father
sharpens his axe.§

p. 16

^ ^ ^ ^

I
have come
with you
in the looney bin
to do
what I always
have done.

To show
a
stinking wound.

Make visible
the
stigma
that I wear.

p. 23

^ ^ ^ ^

^  ^ ^  ^

Some Trees, John Ashbery

These are amazing: each
Joining a neighbor, as though speech
Were a still performance.
Arranging by chance

To meet as far this morning
From the world as agreeing
With it, you and I
Are suddenly what the trees try

To tell us we are:
That their merely being there
Means something; that soon
We may touch, love, explain.

And glad not to have invented
Such comeliness, we are surrounded:
A silence already filled with noises,
A canvas on which emerges

A chorus of smiles, a winter morning.
Placed in a puzzling light, and moving,
Our days put on such reticence
These accents seem their own defense.

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