Friday, 8 August 2014

An asked-for translation of a poem by the Dutch writer Ida Gerhardt


bad days

Don’t go to others when that pain which bends
a person double wedge-like cleaves you through;
don’t go to others, lose your strength from view –
that steely core through which your spirit mends.
Maintain your house, just as you always do.

Don’t go to others: for their gaze betrays
refusal to perceive what is at stake.
Their unrest blurs at once with your own ache.
Avoid their fixes, the peeved fuss they make
on grasping you’re not one who just obeys.

Seek what you need from a devoted friend
who’ll not advise, not blame, not question you,
but put up with your tear-strewn face anew.
Who, quiet himself, accepts and comprehends,
and notes how step by step you’re pulling through.

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