Hugo Claus: Envoi


My verses stand gawping a bit.
I never get used to this. They’ve lived here
long enough.
Enough. I send them out of the house, I don’t want to wait
until their toes are cold.
Unhampered by their unclear clamour
I want to hear the humming of the sun
or that of my heart, that treacherous sponge that hardens.

My verses don’t screw classically,
they babble commonly and bluster far too nobly.
In winter their lips leap.
in spring they lie flat at the first warmth,
they ruin my summer
and in autumn they smell of women.

Enough. For another twelve lines on this sheet
I’ll hold my hand over their head
and then they’ll get a boot up the arse.
Go and pester elsewhere, one-cent rhymes
tremble elsewhere before twelve readers
and a snoring reviewer.

Go now, verses, on your light feet,
you have not trodden hard on the old earth
where the graves laugh when they see their guests,
the one corpse stacked on top of the other.
Go now and stagger to her
whom I do not know.

~Hugo Claus

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