Hannie Rouweler (Netherlands)

Exclusive: European poetry: Curated by Agron Shele
Hannie Rouweler (Goor, 13 June 1951) has been living in Leusden since the end of 2012.
Her sources of inspiration are nature, love, loss, childhood memories and travel. In 1988 she debuted with Raindrops on the water. Since then more than 40 poetry volumes have been published, including poetry books in translation (Polish, Romanian, Spanish, French, Norwegian, English). Her poems are translated in about twenty languages.
She attended five years evening classes in painting and art history, art academy (Belgium).
She published a few stories (short thrillers); is a compiler of various anthologies and poetry collections. She is a member of the Flemish Association of Poets and Writers (VVL).


The poet and his hat

The role plays. The poet knows his words
better
than a rendition in any film -
he chews
he swallows and spits out
and what's left
in his hat: it is not that pigeon
that died or the rabbit
half unconsciously leaving the stage
disappearing in the theatre scenery
just like words come and go and come back again
and deputy wise 
stammering, sighing, crying out, keeping silent.

So keep your hat as good as it goes
and place it carefully on a table.
So let everyone look at your hat
as if it were
a red shoe made of synthetic leather snakeskin
remnant of a wild animal
from the safari park of dreams and deceits.
Keep your hat, dear poet,
never lend it out
otherwise you will never get it back.

(for Tony Rombouts)



THE HEROES OF THE PAST
(Russian soldiers, graveyard Rusthof, Leusden)

Here they’re lying side by side, heroes,
young soldiers,
like they also fought side by side
on foreign territory
for freedom. For others.

Who sees the crosses on the long rows
will be caught by an unprecedented sadness,
a face that belongs with each grave
still from a young adolescent,
maybe twenty, a little older, still a boy
with a father and a mother far away.

Someone from the platoon that shot them
like rabbits on an open field,
then wiped the mud from his soldier's shoe,
must have thought: this is crazy.
Someone from the enemy must have thought:
this is madness, we have become the enemy
of our own souls, our own humanity.

They lie in long rows, the boys who fought for
freedom and fatherland. We will never forget them.
The sacrifices they have made go far beyond limits
of a single man. The end, a profound and bitter taste.


Dove on a branch

Good morning, Mr. Pigeon! Did you sleep well last night?
and do you come to my window, for a tasty breakfast?

Wind force 8. The rustling outside of a plastic cover
around a motorcycle on the terrace of the neighbour lady across.
The bushes shake dangerously with their branches back and forth,
the roots hold them in the earth. That good earth
that preserves everything, absorbs it, and digests and let grow.

Despite the winter there are still small white flowers in the grass,
stubbornly sticking out their small white heads everywhere.
Snow stays away, this winter, it is more autumn than another
season, that plagues this country and also my mind, the breakdown

and shaking words loose. The new alphabet took the pigeon
on the branch of my tree in front of the window with him.

I will have to wait until he comes back, new meanings
lodges in changes that are nearly in sight.
Setu, July 2019

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