Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Translated from the Dutch by Jerome Rothenberg

STILL LIFE: THE TABLE

Chaos
All muddled up
A glass of tea
Some cups
Some pots
And get a fresh look
at what's lying there --
This is the shadow
of the shadow of
a candlestick!
A piece of paper
& a can in blue
green
brown
black
white &
copper
An ash tray with
a pipe stem
& a very heavy book
in blue & yellow
with something that looks brown
inside a black can

And the candle there!
The light! The light!

And a mist around them
& their glow
Some spoons
Something that's gleaming
on the gold rim of the
cups
And there's another piece of paper "Courant"
on which lies: a red match
a couple of blue pamphlets
a little piece of string atop
a small red box
And then the cloth!
Half a chair
there in the mist
a little further back
And how the yellow cloth becomes
greengray
& that much softer
And then here
    and here
here on the paper's
garish white
are two black nails
one that looks real & one a silhouette
my hand my hand
a hill with murky caves
in which a rafter lies
between two clumps of clay
wedged tight.

Theo van Doesburg (1883-1931)

2 comments:

Susan Abraham said...

Read it aloud, Des. Vivid imagery.x

irishpoetry said...

I just love this - my kind of poem.