The philosophers ran into one another in the street.
It was a whim of fate –
not one of them was missing.

Fundamental questions were not answered that day,
such as: who is happier than who,
and what purpose does happiness serve and what purpose loneliness.

They stood there together for a long time.
They held parasols over one another’s heads
and decided not to flinch
and even more fervently and even more accurately to long for nothing.
They nodded.
Then they thought of someone – each of them thought of someone else –
and cast down their eyes.

They greeted one another and continued on their way.

© 2001, Toon Tellegen
From: Gedichten 1977-1999
Publisher: Querido, Amsterdam, 2001
© Translation: 2005, Judith Wilkinson

I – hudson’s shortcut

our outcome was that you were in the way
we sailed to that conclusion on a dream
dreamt by a fool: our captain hudson claimed
that he could find a shortcut to the east (more…)

Ik trek mij terug en wacht.
Dit is de tijd die niet verloren gaat:
Iedere minuut zet zich in toekomst om.
Ik ben een oceaan van wachten,
waterdun omhult door ‘t ogenblik.
Zuigend eb van het gemoed,
Dat de minuten trekt en dat de vloed
Diep in zijn duisternis bereidt.

Er is geen tijd. Of is er niets dan tijd?

English translation:


I withdraw and wait.
This is the time that won’t get lost:
Every minute converts itself into future.
I am an ocean of waiting,
Watery embraced by the moment.
Drawing ebb of the heart,
Which pulls the minutes and prepares the high tide
deep in its darkness.

There is no time. Or is there nothing but time?

The world listens
when Nelson Mandela talks.
His dream gives us hope.

(Translated from the Dutch)

Note. On the 16th June 1976, thousands of black schoolchildren across Soweto took to the streets to protest against the forced use of Afrikaans in the classrooms… Then, the tear gas and the riots and Soweto would never be the same again. Out of this came a long journey …

And this week is the World Cup in the middle of that dream.