[Dull violet is the west and purplish grey.]

Dull violet is the west and purplish grey.
Still I walk through the thickly frosted grass,
hear on the waterway beside me the thin whine
of skates over the hollow-ringing ice:

It feels as if I, on the frozen glass
circling, gliding, wheeling skilfully,
with flexing upper body sink and rise:
it’s in my back, as though I too were skating.

Just so I hope that he past whom my verses glide,
singly, in pairs, or linked into long trains,
swinging to rhyme and rhythm of Dutch steel,

that he too hears the wind that bore me blowing,
and the fine skimming and the glorious broad swaying
of his own spirit in my words can feel.

From Complete Poetic Works (Volledig dichtwerk. Amsterdam: Van Oorschot, 1986)
By J. A. der Mouw
Translated by Tanis Guest

First published in The Low Countries, 2003