The Chain Ferry

Here at the landing stage where the ferry is
the boat nudges the planking restlessly
I think of him who often came with me

here to the river. — How in mute content
he watched as the chain ferry came and went
and sometimes in those simple words of his

would comment on the light, the clouds, the water.

He was my Father and I am his daughter.
Oh God, how greatly I misjudged him — he
who’s crossed the river on the last great ferry.

From The Gardener (De hovenier, 1961)
By Ida Gerhardt
Translated by Tanis Guest

First published in The Low Countries, 1996