Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sequenza: afterthoughts

With a book title like Sequenza it was to be expected that the presentation would equal a musical orgy for the crowd of lovers of Marleen de Crée's poetry. Of course we had the symbolic empty chair for Liu Xiaobo, Nobel laureate for Literature still in a Chinese jail. Such a symbolic gesture is something we try to do for different writers when they are in prison for using their freedom of expression. The surprise for me was Vlad Weverbergh in the moving, masterly way he performed Sequenza IXa by Berio. Not easy music, but listening made easy by the clarinetist. Marleen and I read her formidable poetry: she in Dutch and I in English. Frank De Vos, our den Hopsack troubadour, offered a moving new song: Waving at 12b, conceived in the room his mother was slowly leaving this world in. The friends and fans of Marleen were a great audience, listened very attentively and afterwards even spoke about the differences between languages, loyalty to the original, rhythms... And then the party started and a good time was had by all. Yesterday the first poem of the book, today the last in both languages:

over de bruggen schuift
de schaduw voor ons uit.
wij kunnen hem niet horen.
hij snijdt tot op het been.
we slaan de armen om het kind.
het hinkelt in de sterren
als waren wij nog niet geboren.
we leggen onze stemmen neer
voor het licht de ogen sluit.
onder de bruggen stroomt het lied,
slingert het in zachte plooien,
zingt, huivert en fluistert weer
in schaduwen die ons niet
toebehoren. daar zijn we samen
daar gingen we heen.

over  the bridges glides
the shadow before us.
we cannot hear it.
it cuts to the bone.
we put our arms around the child.
it plays hopscotch in the stars
as if we hadn’t been born yet.
we lay down our voices
before the light closes the eyes.
under bridges flows the song,
meanders in soft folds,
sings, shivers and whispers again
in shadows which don’t belong
to us. there we are together
that is where we were going.

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