The world’s a flute which has mouthpieces by the score.
And each plays his own tune. It makes a sad refrain
in which I cannot hear my own sound any more.
And you? Maybe you too have tapped at many a pane,
and been like me sent packing, sad and sore.
And yet: I dreamed, and hoped; and paid the penalty.
saw the Alps, and Flanders, and Strassburg on the Rhine.
loved. I often banged my drum for all to see.
browsed through books of wisdom old and fine.
searched with hands and feet — if that can be.
And at the end? — I have, inalienable and lasting,
the solace of my own true song, when I sit quietly
on the high bank and play a tune at evening,
not for all time and space, but for the moment only.
Then I’ve gained one more happy day. That’s no small thing.
From Open House (In den Zoeten Inval, 1926)
By Richard Minne
Translated by Tanis Guest
First published in The Low Countries, 1995