Monday, October 11, 2010

Hurry to die

There is a famous Dutch poem called “The gardener and Death”.
It is written by the poet P.N. van Eyck.
It goes like this:

De tuinman en de dood

Een Perzisch Edelman:
Van morgen ijlt mijn tuinman, wit van schrik,
Mijn woning in: "Heer, Heer, één ogenblik!
Ginds, in de rooshof, snoeide ik loot na loot,
Toen keek ik achter mij. Daar stond de Dood.
Ik schrok, en haastte mij langs de andere kant,
Maar zag nog juist de dreiging van zijn hand.
Meester, uw paard, en laat mij spoorslags gaan,
Voor de avond nog bereik ik Ispahaan!" -
Van middag (lang reeds was hij heengespoed)
Heb ik in 't cederpark de Dood ontmoet.
"Waarom," zo vraag ik, want hij wacht en zwijgt,
"Hebt gij van morgen vroeg mijn knecht gedreigd?"
Glimlachend antwoordt hij: "Geen dreiging was 't,
Waarvoor uw tuinman vlood. Ik was verrast,
Toen 'k 's morgens hier nog stil aan 't werk zag staan,
Die 'k 's avonds halen moest in Ispahaan."

P.N. van Eyck

This poem was translated by David Colmer
And that goes as follows:

The Gardener and Death

A Persian Nobleman:

This morning, with a face turned pale from fright,
My gardener rushed in, "Sir, if I might!

"At work, just now, I stopped to take a breath,
And looked up from the roses. There stood Death.

"Startled, I quickly left the work I'd planned,
But saw full well the menace of his hand.

"Lend me a horse and I will make it run.
Before night falls I'll be in Ispahan!"

This afternoon (I'd long since watched him flee),
I chanced on Death beneath a cedar tree.

When he just stood there in his cloak of grey,
I asked about the threat he'd made that day.

He smiled, "It was not threat as he surmised.
I raised my hand because I was surprised,

"To find a man here working in the sun,
Whom I must fetch tonight in Ispahan."

This poem came to mind because of the recent death of Solomon Burke.
The famous soul singer.

Some time ago he was booked to perform at a private party in the Netherlands.
That must have been for quite an amount of money because Solomon Burke is a successful business man.
Besides, he moves his 300 kilos body around in a wheelchair, therefore flying long distance through crowded airports is for him not an easy thing to do.

On top of everything, it turned out that his concert at the private party in the Netherlands was canceled.

While waiting for a flight back to the USA, he decided to go to a concert of a Dutch band called “De Dijk”.
A band that is together for over thirty years and does light Rock and Roll and ballads in the Dutch language.

Solomon Burke was very enthusiastic about “De Dijk” and when he met the band members he learned that he was one of their idols.

This contact resulted in “De Dijk” translating into English their best songs and Solomon Burke came again to the Netherlands and sang those songs that became his new CD.

Next, “De Dijk” and Solomon Burke decided to give a concert together in the Netherlands tomorrow.
For this he flew last Sunday to Amsterdam again where after arrival, he died at the airport, finding his Ispahan.




Anonymous said...

Michel, great poem - death does enjoy a laugh doesn't he? :) Shame about Solomon though, I think I'll try and get the CD you mentioned. Weirdly, it was only a week ago that my band was discussing doing one of his songs. I hope all is well with you.
Mick Davidson

raj said...

final liberation!!!!