K. Schippers, listen to this!
There was a report.
Someone stood in a colourful
Little field and said: the truth is so bitter
That part of it is withheld.
During the party
In honour of language,
Recently held at one
Of the mundane meeting places
My hometown features too,
People discovered behind an orange drape
A family without words.
While the word ‘the’ spluttered slyly and bloodily,
Although the word ‘a’ spoke tardily and haggardly,
Because the word ‘it’ reasoned squarely and unyieldingly.
A man said to the family: go to hell, you lot!
The family pulled a cord,
A hatch opened,
The truth fell into the water.
It concerned only part of the truth,
That one hand, that mouth, that muscle,
In the body.
The man’s wife meanwhile
Looked at a painting
That hung from the wall
And saw colours
Of which she didn’t know the names outright.
I do still know all kinds of songs,
She seemed to want to say.
I could surely sing them halfway,
But most of the endings I’ve forgotten.
A little house hung from the wall
With lots of sky and sun above.
Look, there’s a little house,
A little house, a little house,
And the sun laughed up its sleeve…
The woman looked if anyone was listening,
Looked the way a definite article can.
The air embraces a little bird…
The woman looked if anyone saw her be quiet,
Looked the way curtains look
And saw the family looking without language
At the painting.
She found the orange
There was a report
From Chechnya or Amboina
And someone in a field said:
The truth is so bitter
That part of it is
The family didn’t wear their Sunday best,
Yet was far from colourless.
Would you like wine,
Or would you rather have beer or tea,
The man said who had
Climbed back up again.
He went over to his wife
And whispered something in her ear.
Yes, his wife said, the war is everywhere,
Look, it’s there, too.
Without looking she pointed at the painting
That hung from the wall.
The man saw a little house
With a few windows shut
And a window with something sticking out.
Nice colour blue, he said,
And that brown is nice, too.
The black is a little too sarcastic
And the red I find quite overdone.
But that watery yellowpinkgreen
Really makes me laugh.
The family ate from a huge cake
That was on the table.
The table had the shape
Of a present participle.
The curtains moved a little
In the wind
Blowing through the window.
There’s a window open,
The man said.
Yes, the woman said, it’s time
To sing songs.
In the painting on the wall
People were crawling
To and fro.
They made yelling gestures.
The air stifles a little bird,
With a one…two…three!
The most attributive daughter in the family
Walked towards the mirror
And looked back.
Her mother sat drinking tea.
You’re all wet,
The woman said to her husband.
No, he said, that’s about to.