Thinking of Holland

Thinking of Holland
I see broad rivers
languidly winding
through endless fen,
lines of incredibly
tenuous poplars
like giant plumes
on the polder’s rim;
and sunk in tremendous
open expanses,
the farmsteads scattered
across the plain:
coppices, hamlets,
squat towers and churches
and elms composing
a rich domain.
Low leans the sky
and slowly the sun
in mist of mother
of pearl grows blurred,
and far and wide
the voice of the water,
of endless disaster,
is feared and heard.

From Poetry (Poezie, 1938), in The Literary Review vol. 2, Teaneck (NJ), 1961-1962.
By H. Marsman
Translated by James Brockway

First published in The Low Countries, 1995