Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Poetry International: Adieu I

ADIEU I: To myself

This is, so be it, the last note
that I shall,
in the last life that I live,
on the last keys of my body.
An instrument hard as a safe
from which I have squandered the craziest pennies,
from which I have pulverised the most expensive spider webs.
The dust has stuck to my bones.
It will be buried with me.
The worms will not eat it,
the poison is only intended for me.
I can, I could know
that each beautiful song decorates itself with a conclusion,
as each conclusion decorates itself with a prayer after eating,
and that this end, now or never,
must be called beginning.

© 1958, the estate of Gaston Burssens
© Translation: 1982, John Stevens Wade


About Gaston Burssens (+ links to more poems) & Belgian poetry (Does Belgian Poetry Exist?).

(All from Poetry International Web)


  1. Something about this guy's rhythm reminds me of Rolf Jacobson.

  2. Curt - thanks. The best part of doing this blog is finding poets I was not familiar with and reading their. When researching cityscapes in literature, I tried to read as many poets who wrote about the urban as possible but missed Jacobsen, making this all the more a treat.

    I notice the similarity in rhythm, which makes the contrast in tone and mood all the more striking. No surprise to note that Burssens wrote in Flemish (Dutch), not French. Near contemporaries too and possibly even readers of one another.

    So now I'm thinking how interesting it might be to read an array of linguistically related modernist poets.

    Thank you again for the gift of Rolf Jacobson.


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