Thinking of Holland

Hendrik Marsman, 1936

Thinking of Holland

I see broad rivers

languidly winding

through endless fen,

lines of incredibly

tenuous poplars

like giant plumes

on the polder’s rim;

and sunk in tremendous

open expanses,

the farmsteads scattered

across the plain:

coppices, hamlets,

squat towers and churches

and elms composing

a rich domain.

Low leans the sky

and slowly the sun

in mist of mother

of pearl grows blurred,

and far and wide

the voice of the water,

of endless disaster,

is heard and feared.

From Poëzie, 1938
Translated by James Brockway (in ‘The Literary Review’, V, 2, Teaneck (NJ), 1961-1962).
Digitale Bibliotheek voor de Nederlandse Letteren ( Source: The Low Countries. Jaargang 3. Stichting Ons Erfdeel, Rekkem 1995-1996, p. 72. 

2 thoughts on “Thinking of Holland

  1. “Low leans the sky” – love love love. The photos are exquisite, especially imho 2 (the feature also) and 7. Mondrian it seems was merely a documentarist.

  2. Merely — although I wonder if you can see this from the squat church towers. Yes, isn’t “low leans the sky” incredible? Also, “incredibly tenuous poplars” and “tremendous open expanses.”

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