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