Once again my friend Cath has kindly written a guest post for me--a little collaboration on my Dutch reading project. I know she is a great poetry reader, and I was hoping she might share a favorite poet here. We've never met, only virtually, but you know how it is when you click with another reader and discover common interests that form a bond across so many miles. I have been so fortunate to find many friends via blogging. While we have never met, I always feel a sense of calmness and tranquility from her no matter what obstacles might pass her way. I think poetry reading must add to that sense of peacefulness and someday I hope to find some of that same mindfulness in poetry eventually, too. And now, I'll hand things over to Cath.
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Poetry. One poem, two at the most, each morning after breakfast. It has become so much part of my daily rhythm that I feel unsettled without poetry every day. And when Dutch poet Rutger Kopland (1934- 2012) passed away, it made me sad. The thought that he would never write a poem again was unbearable for a moment.
‘Do you know what touched me most when I sat here at my writing desk for the first time again?
I looked at the garden and saw it was the same as before. The garden does not need me. The trees are not there for me, they are just there. They do not love me, do not hate me either, they are.
That I find extremely moving. That loving indifference consoled me. I sat down and it was as it was before. As if nothing ever happened. It will be like that also when I am gone. That I find marvellous.’
(Rutger Kopland in an interview given after recovering from a severe car accident in 2005)
His work seems to be simple. It is accessible. The tone of voice can be hesitating, searching, aware of the limitations of language.
he must have wanted to find out how a horse
is made and have realized
it can’t be done,
how the secret of a horse grew and grew
beneath his pencil.
(from: I Cavalli di Leonardo)
Simple, yet there will come a line which will make you pause. A choice of word that will startle you.
You might feel a soft punch in your stomach, a butterfly fluttering in your chest or a sudden tear in your eye.
Our conversations slowed down
we answered our questions by looking
at the slow world around us
Questions are important. Questions. Not answers. His questions about life and what to think of it, how to look and see. How to observe and understand. In search of essence. Melancholic sometimes. Pure.
Give me a galloping horse, but one on
his side in the grass. Give me
a question. No answer.
(from: An Empty Place to Stay IX)
When asked in the same interview what is a beautiful poem he answered: A beautiful poem is one that after reading makes me say in admiration and with wonder: “That is how I feel”.
Because we were searching for our name.
But only the wind knows the place
that we were, where and when.
There is no other voice like his among Dutch male poets. That’s why you might try to find Rutger Kopland‘s Memories of the Unknown.
By CathvdL, 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, July 3, 2014
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Many thanks to Cath for such a gorgeous post and introducing me to a new poet whose words I find beautiful. When I first read what she wrote I went directly to my library's stacks to look for something by Rutger Kopland myself, which I might just have to share later.
The illustration was chosen by Cath for its timeless quality.