translated by Leo Zoutewelle

To you my word will be reproached as lie,
Maliciously: “who left you so maligned,
In vain are all the days in which you pined
For him who cheated you and made you cry.”

But I have weighed your virgin heart before
And know your strength and that you wouldn’t falter
Before the world’s allures, nor shut your psalter
For mocking grins that pass your grieving score

For even in a group that I had scorned
I know your once caressèd face adorned
With loneliness. Such glow! – o, mystery –

Deep in your eyes and all around your head
My soul’s eyes now see full and gently spread
The soft light of love’s wisdom’s history.

 

 

Original Dutch

Men zal bij u mijn woord smaden als logen,
tergend: ‘Die u verliet, heeft dit geveinsd,
en ijdel zijn uw dagen als gij peinst
aan hem die u bedwelmend heeft bedrogen.’

Maar ik heb eens uw zuiverst hart gewogen
en weet uw kracht en weet dat gij niet deinst
hoe ook uw wereld lokt of smalend grijnst
voorbij het leed van uw verlaten oogen.

Want in een kring, zelfs door mijn spot gesmaad,
weet ik uw eens zoo zachtomstreeld gelaat
eenzaam. Maar glanzend – o, geheimenis –

diep in uw oogen en wijd om uw hoofd,
zien mijn zielsoogen vol en ongedoofd
het zachte licht dat liefde’s wijsheid is.

 

 

The Doppelgänger

by Leo Zoutewelle

My favored park* shone pure and bright in snow;
I rode my bike with urgency that way,
The wind did moan, it was quite cold, I know,
And it was lonely but serene that day.

When I had reached my covert resting place
I saw a dark and chilling shadow there,
With fiery eyes: an old and fearsome face.
Alas! It was my own resemblance fair.

I’ve come, he said, from western lands afar
To find my rest in regions of my youth,
Until it’s time for me to cross the bar
And find eternity and peace and truth.

The man sighed deeply, turned, then disappeared,
As I was left with thoughts of things I feared.

*park: De Hooge Veluwe, in Schaarsbergen, The Netherlands
 

 

Leo Zoutewelle was born in 1935 in The Netherlands and was raised there until at age twenty he emigrated to the United States.  After retiring in 2012  he has written an autobiography and two novels (unpublished).


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