Evening Stroll

by P.C. Boutens (1870-1943), written in The Hague in 1909, translated by Leo Zoutewelle

We wandered much too late today!
__Nearby the final bridge,
There where the trail just fades away
__We turned back toward our ridge.

Behind us rose a whitish fog
__Over the dusky lands.
In no time we’ll be home, our dog
__Nuzzles with love our hands…

How far we went this eventide!
__Although it was too late:
Still farther than the golden guide
__That leads to heaven’s gate.

These twain need but a little time
__To cover wide and far!…
Still endless roads are left to climb
__Tomorrow, on a star.

If we but could together stand
__At the end of this domain
And cross together hand in hand
__We’d never turn again!

July 16, 2018

Original Dutch

Avondwandeling

Wij hebben ons vandaag verlaat!
__Pas bij de laatste brug
Waar ‘t voetpad tusschen ‘t gras vergaat,
__Daar keerden wij terug.

Achter ons dekt de witte damp
__De schemerende landen.
Zóo zijn wij thuis. Wij zien de lamp
__In loveren warande. . .

Wat gingen wij vanavond ver,
__Het werd alleen tè laat:
Nog verder dan de gouden ster
__Aan blauwe hemelstraat!

Zoo saam doen twee een korte poos
__Over een wijd gebied! . . .
Nog liggen wegen eindeloos
__Voor morgen in ‘t verschiet! . . .

O konden we eens zoo samen staan
__Aan de allerlaatste brug,
En saam en blij er overgaan –
__Wij kwamen nooit terug!

 

 

Severance

by Leo Zoutewelle

One lonely day I found myself bereft
Of sweet serenity and human bliss.
I tried to read but had no patience left,
For all I craved was you and oh, your kiss.

But no, I had reality to face:
There was a mighty ocean in my way!
Although you made my yearning heart to race,
I had to keep my rising grief at bay.

I’m now compelled to change what I had planned:
I want to join us in a secret meet,
That we might always wander hand in hand
And ever have ambrosia to eat.

What am I left? I lack whatever cheer
Might substitute your lovely presence here.

April 2, 2017

 

 

Leo Zoutewelle was born in 1935 in The Netherlands and was raised there until at age twenty he emigrated to the United States. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Davidson College, in North Carolina, and a Masters in Business Administration from the Darden School in the University of Virginia. In 1977, he went into business for himself in the field of land surveying, which he maintained until 2012, when he retired. Since then, he has written an autobiography and two novels (unpublished).

 


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4 Responses

  1. Sally Cook

    Dear Leo Zoutewelle —

    Your love and respect for the language of poetry is evident. To have made such a beautiful translation of Mr. Bouten’s exquisite poem is indeed an accomplishment. You have made a haunting poem come alive after more than a century. Thank you.

    Reply
  2. Leo Zoutewelle

    Dear Sally, I am thankful to you for your beautiful comment, which all by itself is poetry! Thank you.

    Reply
  3. C.B. Anderson

    Very nice, indeed, Leo. I sometimes wish I knew another language well enough to make translations to and from. It sounds like a fruitful exercise that would augment one’s knowledge of the possibilities inherent in both languages.

    Reply
  4. Leo Zoutewelle

    Thank you, CB, I do agree with your thoughts about the possibilities of knowing more than one language. By the way, never say never…

    Reply

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