Brief bio sketch

Lloyd Haft (1946- ) was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin USA and lived as a boy in Wisconsin, Louisiana and Kansas. In 1968 he graduated from Harvard College and went to Leiden, The Netherlands for graduate study in Chinese (M. A. 1973, Ph. D. 1981). From 1973 to 2004 he taught Chinese language and literature, mostly poetry, at Leiden. His sinological publications include Pien Chih-lin: A Study in Modern Chinese Poetry (1983/2011; published in Chinese translation as 发现卞之琳: 一位西方学者的探索之旅 in 2010) and Zhou Mengdie’s Poetry of Consciousness (2006). His most recent book, a liberal modern Dutch reading of Laozi's Daode jing, was published as Lau-tze's vele wegen by Synthese in September 2017.



He has translated extensively into English from the Dutch of Herman Gorter and Willem Hussem, and from the Chinese of various poets including Lo Fu, Yang Lingye, Bian Zhilin and Zhou Mengdie.



Since the 1980s he has also been active as a poet writing in Dutch and English. He was awarded the Jan Campert Prize for his 1993 bilingual volume Atlantis and the Ida Gerhardt Prize for his 2003 Dutch free-verse readings of the Psalms (republished by Uitgeverij Vesuvius in 2011). His newer poems are published (some republished) on this blog.



After early retirement in 2004, for a number of years Lloyd Haft spent much of his time in Taiwan with his wife Katie Su. In addition to writing and translating, his interests include Song-dynasty philosophy and taiji quan. He sings in the choir of a Roman Catholic church of the Eastern Rite in The Hague.



Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Poems by Herman Gorter (Part 5)


[This is my English adaptation of the third of three long ‘parts’ or books comprised in Gorter’s Liedjes, first published posthumously in 1930. For technical reasons, the second book appeared earliest; it can be found in the December 2013 archive of this blog. The first book is in the January 2014 archive. The numbers in square brackets before each poem refer to the page numbers in the Dutch original as reprinted in 1981 by Uitgeverij de Arbeiderspers.
Two earlier postings, both under the October 2013 archive of this blog, have contained translations of Gorter’s highly experimental, often erotic Verses. The Liedjes represent his supreme effort to combine the love for a woman with the love for humanity as he conceived it in his Socialist and Communist political ideals. Here, the beautiful woman, the ‘Lady’ or ‘Maiden,’ stands both for herself and for the ‘new humankind’ whom Gorter hoped the Revolution would bring into being.[1] – L.H.]


from Lyrics (Liedjes)
by Herman Gorter (1864-1927)

edited and translated by Lloyd Haft


BOOK THREE: THE DEFEAT OF THE REVOLUTION

I.

[210]

And I was happy: that her all-world tongue
resounded in my sweet mother tongue.

[211]

And I followed her, her little page
through golden orchards of the night and day,
thinking the new poetry
was here, immortal in her melody.

[212]

And then I saw her. She was herself the sun
of night, facing the endless waste
of all in All, the timeless all-plantations
shadowed fathomless in blue and far.

And at her feet, there sat the little page,
guard of the highest pride of all the stars
blue and white-sparked, low on the horizon.
And far away the luring secret waved.

And she stepped forth to meet the all-in-All
farther than all the stars and plantations,
into the deep and blue and endless wide

with her golden, gold-echoing footfall.
She, the Spirit of the New Music, my Bride –
And I myself seemed most that shining page.

[214]

KARL LIEBKNECHT

Karl, your image, stalwart , solemn,
fills all Europe with its beams of light.
You tower above the masses as above the tight
weavings of the sea a basalt column.

You raised the red flag straight and true
when it lay as a rag on a pile of dung,
waving again and shining for all to view –
you with your heart so nobly, purely strung.

You died. And why? because you were murdered
by capital. But also by the workers
who left you all alone with your attackers,

never listening to your lofty word.
Your love died only when it was foresaken
by the German workers. Your love was what they hated.

[215]

ROSA LUXEMBURG

Rosa, great and noble, Lady of might
with your bright mind, your pure love
for the working class, your Beloved
to whom alone your life was plighted –

you walked as a high bright star
ahead of the working class, your Beloved
into battle – and your shining love
shone before, lone, ahead and far.

You died. And why? because you were murdered
by capital. But also by the workers
who left you all alone with your attackers,

never listening to your soaring word.
Your love died only when it was foresaken
by the German workers. Your love was what they hated.

[218]

And silently I raised my hot-wept eyes
toward her where she was now: the heights.

II.

[227]

‘I ask you, Love: plunge into the sea,
that borderlineless country –
my love holds no hope
but like the sea, unending scope.’

[230]

Like a star in the night
you are, so far, so nigh.
And seeing you, I
realize my wait is endless
but you are so nigh.

[231]

Where the rain falls
the heart shrinks small.
And the thought creeps in, of asking
you, my Love, to take me in.

[232]

O that I could be in you,
o that I could nothing be,
whole in you, in you.
That they should seek me, finding nothing
but a spoor, a something
that is mine in you, in you.

[234]

I’ve tried to find,
hour by hour.
I could not find.
That was my fire.

[235]

My love! hungering, longing, eating
nor drinking: all-forgetting,
being in a gigantic wane
of All. But then to gain your face!

[236]

Because I am so sure
there is on earth no treasure
that can still the fullest longing,
I undertook to hunger
as my only living
and to seek, quivering.

[238]

After the day that never answers hunger
luckily there’s night, the haven.
True, no better does night bring
the emptiness-abating thing
but since I’m one with night’s cool,
because she’s empty I forget
that I am too.

[239]

He who has the sunlight lacks the sun.
But though you were beyond my reaching forth –
At least I had the light
that comes from you, my source.

[240]

Beloved,
now, here,
truth:
I hurt,
want
to be
in you.
And in this want
I’m starving –
yet, the blessedness
that what I have
is love, for you.

[244]

The sea is dead,
the earth is dead –
because the Music’s dead – the bread
of life.

[245]

At end of day
abyss is all –
hills and sea and sky
one boundless pall.

[246]

As evening falls
I stand by the abyss,
peering into All.
Nothing was, nothing is, nothing shall.

III.

[253]

A single tone. Out of the continent
behind me one note rises.
Like a fire in the night,
a fire in the darkness,
a stem of sound.

[254]

Like a new word
never before on earth heard.

[255]

And the sky took color in the East,
mirroring the colors in the West...

[256]

And the world came open!
And the sun came baptizing the globe
bathing her head in its glow
or like a mother, child in arm,
giving it the breast still warm,
seeing how it breathes. –
And my Love came walking over
from far over the ocean
where the stars and sun and moon,
the lights roam lonely...

And she hurried close to me, my Love,
loving me above all else because
it was as firstborn that I sung.
And she hurried close to me, my Mother,
my Protectress ever
to whose knees and breast I shoved.
And, my Wife, she came to me
and loved me deep and loyally
like water from a boulder sprung.

[257]

Nearing in silence, she placed
herself before my face
and in the space of all the cosmic canopy
gently began to speak to me:

‘My tender poet,’ so she spoke
in beauty, wisdom, glory –
‘my poet, all-too tender one,
I was the Idea of the workers.
I was the Idea of the fighters.
I’ve died as an Idea
but a higher life’s now mine.
I live now in the very workers –
live now in those wondrous seeds,
the councils of the workers.
Be one with them, one with them. Learn you
must, my Poet, tender one
anew.’

[258]

Thus she spoke, and gave her hands to mine
in pledge a while,
her eyes beneath high goldbrown hair
blue and staring
into mine, as the shepherd does
a sheep. I went my way and joined, as one
star of the many, in the labor of the workers,
trying to learn the new truth that was theirs.

IV.

[261]

Gold in her own beaming stands the moon,
entering into the very light she frees,
and welcoming her, night rises vis-à-vis
entering into her with its deep blue.

There above, it’s all one back-and-forth
of golden lighting in reflection showing
and the nightblue flood receiving it below –
shown for me here, deep in the earth’s furrow.

But even while I stand here in this deep
there suddenly rises, standing there as crystal
in gold of the moon and the night of all-of-All –

my Love, in golden helmet, yellow-robed
in night’s balsam and come-and-going gold,
giving and receiving beam on beam.

[262]

Gold in her own beaming stands the moon,
entering into light by shy degrees,
while night, deep blue, rises vis-à-vis
letting its balsam into gold transmute.

There above, it’s all one back-and-forth
of gold light standing still in self-reflection
and night self-plunging in blue cataract –
shown for me here, deep in the earth’s furrow.

But even while I stand here in this deep,
above arises, sudden, like a crystal
in gold of the moon and night of all-in-All,

Myself, my lineaments in yellow robes,
in night’s balsam and come-and-going gold,
giving and receiving beam on beam.

[263]

Gold in her own beaming stands the moon,
entering into light while keeping clear,
with night in deep blue standing vis-à-vis,
transferring into her its own deep blue.

There above, it’s all one back-and-forth
of gold light, in itself its own reflection,
and flood that in itself is redeflected –
shown for me here, deep in the earth’s furrow.

But even while I stand here in this deep,
there suddenly rises, standing there as crystal
in the golden light and night of all-in-All,

the One Humanity, in yellow robes
in night’s balsam and come-and-going gold,
giving and receiving beam on beam.

[264]

And while I stand in dark earth’s furrowing
I feel myself, my Love, and mankind growing
into one another, growing one with all of All,
and in that, by that, forming one bright crystal.




[1] My post ‘Poems by Herman Gorter (Part 1),’ in the October 2013 archive, includs a brief introduction. For a good overall introduction to Gorter’s life and work by Paul Vincent, see

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Astrology: Is Where I Am, Who I Am?


Is Where I Am, Who I Am?[1]


1. Charts, changes, and changed charts

Even for those of us (like me) who don’t strictly ‘believe in’ it, astrology can be a helpful source of liberating alternative suggestions – possibilities of getting beyond the limiting recursiveness of rationality. ‘Putting on a different pair of glasses,’ as the Dutch idiom puts it. And as the American astrologer Marc Edmund Jones liked to say, sometimes we can learn a lot from make-believe.
        One of the less well-known types of horoscope is the so-called ‘relocation chart.’ This, like our birth horoscope, is calculated for the exact day and time of our birth, but unlike the birth chart, it is geographically anchored not in our birthplace but wherever we want the relocation to refer to. It could be the place where we are now living, a place where we are considering living in the future, or even the place where we will attend an important meeting next week. The idea is that such a chart shows how our inalienable (and unvarying) ‘potential,’ given a new focus in a new setting, may gain a different, perhaps a more favorable ‘manifestation’ or ‘actuality.’[2] We can never re-stage our birthday, nor fundamentally change the physical body that we received as of then – what Wallace Stevens once called ‘the unalterable necessity of being this unalterable animal.’[3] But a change of environment does amount to a new ‘body’ of circumstances, a new em-bodi-ment of the interactive energies that we bring with us. Call it if you will a ‘virtual’ body.
        When I turned sixty – attained, in other words, what the Chinese call the da shou 大壽or Great Longevity – I happened to be not in my country of birth which is the USA, nor in my country of residence which is Holland, but in my dream country which is Taiwan. Musing about the roles played by these various ‘locations’ in my life so far, I sat down and calculated the relevant relocation charts. The results were amazing.
        Even the manner of calculation betrayed me as a Relocator. Unlike American astrologers, I calculate the ‘house’ boundaries by the Ascendant Parallel Circle method, and figure the place of the planets by their so-called Actual Positions (werkelijke plaats), as advocated by a specifically Dutch wing of astrology called the ‘Ram School.’ Theo Ram (1884-1961), whose book Psychologische Astrologie came out in the 1930s and as far as I know has never been translated, is one of the great theorists of 20th-century astrology. One of the many reasons why I am thankful to have learned Dutch is that otherwise I could never have read Ram, or some relevant works of his friends A. E. Thierens (1875-1941) and Leo Knegt (1882-1957). The studies and discussions of these three resulted in a type of horoscopy that must seem, to practitioners of more traditional systems, a heady brew indeed. These Dutch pioneers, and their latter-day followers, not only routinely work with planets that have ‘not yet’ been discovered by astronomers; you can even download an ephemeris giving the zodiacal positions of these ‘hypothetical’ planets![4] And even the positions of the known planets are not determined in the usual way, which is simply to take the zodiacal longitude as the position. Rather, the ‘actual position’ of each planet is calculated in a complex and time-consuming way (but here again, software can be downloaded) which relates the planetary positions to the individual’s horoscope frame, so that in contrast to the traditional method, not all persons born at the same moment have the same planetary positions. For example, in my own birth horoscope, by traditional reckoning the planet Venus is in Scorpio, but by the Ram School calculations it is in Sagittarius. If I had been born not in Wisconsin but in Holland, it would have been in Scorpio – but I am getting ahead.
        Supposedly our ‘radix’ (i.e., birth chart) is a fixed, unchanging picture of our ‘potential’ (Sun), our ‘being’ or ‘essence’ (Moon), and our ‘actuality’ or ‘manifestation’ (the Ascendant, i.e. the rising sign at the time of birth, which represents the body as the visible focus of our life). Yet the fixity seems difficult to maintain in practice. In interpreting one and the same horoscope, Ram uses both the recognized and the ‘hypothetical’ (what the opponents of this school would call ‘imaginary’) planets. Knegt, whose fanatical mathematical experiments and theorizings – Ram called him ‘the calculator’ – led to the notion of the all-important Actual Positions, ironically enough was never quite satisfied as to what his own Ascendant was, oscillating between the two very different signs Sagittarius and Capricorn.
        Far be it from me to assert that a relocation chart, being essentially a ‘birth chart’ for a birth that never actually happened, should have the same status as a radix. Still, I do believe these charts can shed a surprising and legitimate alternative light.
        Undoubtedly I have an inborn tendency to take just such an attitude. You can see it in my radix. At the time of my birth in America, neither Sun nor Moon was ‘in aspect with’ (i.e., a meaningful number of degrees away from) my Ascendant. In other words, my ‘potential’ and ‘essence’ could only link up indirectly, by mental and imaginative by-ways, with the physical ‘actuality’ around me. Having a radix that lacked concrete attachments to actuality, it was easy for me to conclude that one’s environment is not a stable entity but can always be traded in for a new one.


2. The Netherlands: Standing firm in the mud of Taurus

From the moment I arrived in The Netherlands in the fall of 1968, I was in a whole new ‘chart.’ The biggest obvious difference was that the Moon was now strongly ‘conjunct,’ i.e. together with, the Ascendant. My psyche or soul or ‘being’ was now right alongside my physical body in its interactions with the outer world. The Sun (vitality, spirit) was in aspect with the Moon, as were the planets of thinking and doing: Mercury and Mars. In short: this was a favorable time-and-space setting in which I could undertake things.
        But let’s be clear: much of my ‘undertaking’ remained more a private experience than a public reality. As I took up graduate study, and later teaching, at Leiden University, no one would have mistaken me for a go-getter. True, my Moon was conjunct the Ascendant, but she was in Taurus, sign of the earth and of matter in its heaviest, most unformed state. In describing this configuration, Ram writes: ‘First reactions are slow and mostly negative, so that the first impression made is of inactivity verging on the lazy.’
        In other respects as well, my career as a teacher in Leiden confirmed the words that Ram had written about me eleven years before I was born: ‘Not quite suited to being a professor, as concrete things do not really interest...’ In itself, it helped me that in my Leiden relocation chart both Venus (sense for art) and Neptune (mysticism and the fantastic) were in the sixth, the House of Analysis, so that Chinese poetry and philosophy were natural subjects for me to research. But I could never get excited about the newest book about just how many peasants had died in the so-manieth rebellion during such-and-such dynasty. To me such things were bookish details that were but marginal to the ‘essence.’
        Besides, in the relocation chart my House of Analysis was below the Horizon, remaining mostly invisible. The results of my research seldom reached the Mid-Heaven or Medium Coeli, the top of the chart as drawn on the page, which represents the socially most prominent and visible aspect of each ‘native.’ What I published or gave out during my classes was never the full barrel but at most something on the order of a shot glass. (In my own defense, I might add that in those days in Holland we had still not imported the American publish-or-perish mania.) In the bureaucratic ranking system that governed university life, I never rose above the lowest of the three tenured levels. I did make it onto a list of teachers who were recommended for advancement to the second tier, called Chief Docent – but before my promotion could go through, the Queen announced a nationwide freeze on university promotions. The endless downward spiral of retrenchment had set in.
        There was no reason for me to be surprised. After all, Saturn, ruler of formal hierarchies and Lord of my House of Fame, was trapped in a backwater of my Leiden chart, far down at the bottom, the farthest down of all the planets. He was shut away in the fourth House, aka the ‘Shed,’which devours all forms. With me, cognition (or as Thierens would have put it, ‘becoming conscious’) always took precedence over outward sharing. And so, I thought, it would always remain.


3. ‘Het Eylant Formosa’: Taurus at the top

In Leiden I did, of course, succeed in managing my other-worldly ‘potential’ well enough to make something worthwhile out of my world. But before the world itself could really make something out of me, I had to wait till my fifties, when I started to spend long periods of time in Taiwan. In the relocation chart for Taiwan, my horoscope turned out to have undergone a quarter-circle turn. The Moon was no longer at the Ascendant point near the eastern horizon, but all the way up at the southern Mid-Heaven, standing there as the highest of all the planets,[5] ready to advance through the House of Fame. The smooth connection with physical reality was not diminished: the Moon, as well as Venus this time, was in aspect with the Ascendant. During this period, my Dutch free-verse version of the Psalms, which I had written out of a personal and private sense of being ‘in a clinch with God,’ was published. It won a prize, and I received invitations to go on television with it. A second printing was soon followed by a third. Selections from it began to appear in Dutch death notices and obituaries – surely the ultimate proof that my spirit had put down roots in the deep Taurus soil of Holland.
        At the same time, I again took up Tai Chi, the slow and seemingly effortless traditional Chinese exercises that I had first learned thirty years previously from the legendary Phoa Yan Tiong in Amsterdam. (Given the role of Taurus in my horoscope – in Ram’s words ‘immovable till the next incarnation’ – it was natural that I should be most attracted to a non-strenous form of exercise!) At first it seemed this was again just a matter of my own study and inner enrichment. My teacher Lin Mingchang, though one of the most respected in Taiwan, has never published books or DVDs, never founded a school. He has never told me the name of his own teacher. In my Taiwan chart, the planet that represents the Teacher is in the twelfth House, the one Thierens calls ‘the House of Hidden Work.’
        But here again, I could not long succeed in keeping the results for myself. Via my student Alvin Dahn, whose representative planet was strongly in aspect with my Mid-Heaven, I came into contact with the television hostess Wenyuan ‘Dodo’ Lee, whose cultural programs were avidly viewed not only in Taiwan but in other areas of the Chinese-speaking world. Before long she signed me on for a show called ‘Tai Chi and Poetry.’
        In these and other ways, in my Taiwan epoch, things that I had originally done ‘for myself’ were picked up and propagated by the larger world around me. They were such personal things that in a way, it was myself being disseminated. I was no longer trying to find ways of focusing on reality; I myself had become a reality that other people focused on. The world brought out sides of myself that I would not have thought could be so relevant to other people.
        But so...has it all been growth, all advancement? Has it all fitted together to form a unity in which past and present contribute to each other? Sitting in the ‘actuality’ of a recording studio with Dodo Lee, talking about my experiences with Tai Chi...would I need to bring something of my American ‘potential’ and my Dutch ‘being’ into our conversation? Wear an American baseball cap and occasionally lapse into Dutch idiom while we are on the Taiwanese air? Of course not. There is no need to repeat past happiness in the present. It remains where it always was.
And now, looking back on my three ‘actualities,’ my three births or three lives so far – should I try to evaluate, to compare? Should I wonder which of the three ‘charts’ was the best, the most fitting, the most truly ‘mine’? Impossible. How to judge, how to know what a life is about? Maybe the hours, the days that seem to us less important are exactly those in which we are most irreplaceable to someone else.
        In the self-made prayer that I say on getting up each morning (and yes, I do this in American English), one of the first phrases is: ‘I thank Thee for this day of my life, and for all the days of my life.’ Not: thanks, now let’s see here, for two percent of my life; the other ninety-eight percent that was not consciously ecstatic is well forgotten. And not: tonight, after I’ve seen how this coming day turned out, I’ll tell Thee whether I think it was worth being thankful for. No, it’s ‘for all the days of my life’ or it’s nothing. Thankful is thankful.

--Lloyd Haft



[1] This is a revised adaptation of an article originally published in Dutch: ‘Welke verjaardag noem ik de mijne?’ Tirade 421 (2007 no. 5, dec. 2007), pp. 48-53.
[2] I am using ‘potential/being or essence/actuality or manifestation’ to translate the recurrent Dutch trio ‘aanleg/wezen/werkzaamheid,’ which presumably has its origin somewhere in Schelling’s or Hegel’s philosophy and subsequently came down through writers like Ram and Thierens who were much influenced by Theosophy.
[3] From his poem Esthétique du Mal, section 13.
[4] See the website http://www.wva-astrologie.nl/, under ‘publicaties.’
[5] In astrology, the sun and moon are both called ‘planets.’

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Poems by Herman Gorter (Part 4)

[This is my English adaptation of the first of three long ‘parts’ or books comprised in Gorter’s Liedjes, first published posthumously in 1930. For technical reasons, the second book appeared earlier; it can be found directly following this post or in the December 2013 archive. The numbers in square brackets before each poem refer to the page numbers in the Dutch original as reprinted in 1981 by Uitgeverij de Arbeiderspers.
Two earlier postings, both under the October 2013 archive of this blog, have contained translations of Gorter’s highly experimental, often erotic Verses. The Liedjes represent his supreme effort to combine the love for a woman with the love for humanity as he conceived it in his Socialist and Communist political ideals. Here, the beautiful woman, the ‘Lady’ or ‘Maiden,’ stands both for herself and for the ‘new humankind’ whom Gorter hoped the Revolution would bring into being.[1] – L.H.]


from Lyrics (Liedjes)
by Herman Gorter (1864-1927)

edited and translated by Lloyd Haft


BOOK ONE: THE APPROACH OF THE REVOLUTION

I.

[11]

Unto me came shining
a Lady in the all of All –
tender as crystal,
image of a new humankind.

[12]

And her I loved with deepest love,
gently and with her I danced
in sight of all the deep All’s glance
and she became my highest Love.

[13]

And her I loved with deepest love,
gently and with her I danced
through all the deep and high All’s glance
and she became my only Love.

[14]

Sweet the unseen sound of distant strings
of light, dream-like glancings –
and while we’re dancing
under us we see a One – our limbs.

Your bosom and that softer something
over you and under streaming –
is it Love? an almost nothing
everywhere, and you it’s dreaming,

and the reed-like of your body, gowned
in waving dancing, up and down –
that’s the only thing
that dances:
for me, it is that dance
and music – nothing else exists.

And in a wistful singleness
of joy in dancing motion
the spirits, sensing happiness
so near, join in devotion.

Dance is love’s portal. Dance is holy.
Dancing is tender adoring.
To dance with you, so safely gliding –
every sense at peace, in you abiding.

[15]

Love, star in the night –
shine my heart through
that the thwart-shadowed world
be lighted too.

[16]

It’s winter
far above the earth,
ice clearing,
stars like cinders.
It’s lonely but a music’s here.
O lonely music, be my guide:
beauty, let your wing not veer
but lead me farther, wider.

[18]

Love, star in the night –
shine my heart through
that the thwart-shadowed world
be lighted too.

[20]

The sea is lilywhite,
the sea is lilygreen,
bluegreen is her mirroring,
every sound her whispering.

[21]

In the sun
mirrored in the sea,
in the source
swinging in the moon,
in the dawn
in the dark
what I see is you,
you.

[22]

See how she’s there
in her tender limbs,
in stillness, see:
beholding her beauty.

[23]

I was present at your womb,
my head nearby your bosom,
and your knee was there, full blossom
of your tenderness.

[24]

You can’t know what to me
your breath, your lips are:
as if through darkness
dawn found a way.

[25]

When I think of love
it’s love I love.
And it’s love for you, my Love,
that brought me here above.


II.

[30]

Never leave me, Love,
you are all I have.
You are the flood;
I am the ebb.

[31]

Nights, Beloved, I hold fast
your image with my eyes
as the seaman holds the mast
lest he go under.
But then it is I do go under, Love,
with your image in the dark of love.

[32]

That you should love me
could not be.
But you to me are lief,
believe – o nothing but believe!

[33]

After the deepest love
the heart is weak,
nearly believing in,
truly dying in – the Beloved.

[34]

Let me approach you tenderly,
beautiful spirit of new Music,
as my Father and my Mother,
having nothing but you only.

[35]

Gently you commence again, to dance
with me, gentle as Mother,
Spirit of Music –
all of All’s bright glance
from you arising
while I’m dying
in your shadow of delight.

[36]

And all of All becomes for me one Beauty.
Dying in it I live: within Your Beauty.

[37]

And all of All becomes one Light around me.
I hover silent by your brow.

[38]

Beloved! a bright dance
here: light of step
in March light still sparse
by the many-colored ponds
with each other enarmed
in the colors, warm,
purple, green,
bursting with sheen

that we’re together in:
naked flames twin.

[39]

Beloved, great is the dance
far, far from the earth –
far beyond the Shore
of Stars, beyond the stellar barrier.

[40]

Love, it’s a deep
dance together through the night
meshed in each other –
dance from which neither
awakens: light
as of death holds us tight.

[41]

When you dance, it’s a rose
dancing, a greeny shrub of red roses:
joyful dance is what they freely chose!
You dance in breathings, scents and blushes all
your own – that your downy poll
in wizardry arisen is
the fairest blossom over.

[42]

All the rest fades
where you dance into day.

[43]

Your soft-blushing poll
in its hair-tangled toss
is the bud of a rose
peeping from moss.

[44]

Wondrous of beauty, a girl
is dancing, keeping her robe of blue
above the ground of the earth,
thinking a song: it’s new,
her mouth dreaming
in the blue of the heavenly.
She dances by beauty’s shore,
deep before her
billows cloud by cloud
out of the round about her knees
booming surf, gentle hem –
upon her breast
it rests, a blossom
never before in sight,
a peach-red bloom, her lineaments
above it lightfulfilled.
Without a thought
she dances by beauty’s shore
guileless
lost to herself
in light, the
source
of the sun.
She’s going, o!
Lost
in the source
of the sun.

[49]

Naked
she nears
and all else disappears
fading before her appearance
veined through with silence
in air
bare.

III.

[52]

Her oval head
as the fruit,
her eyes sending
song to the beloved,
her bosom
an arching blossom,
love-wafting,
her feet tender,
the bride
pokes them into night
and waits.

[54]

Her eyes appear
as flames. We speak
in what so softly warms:
her arms.

[57]

Beloved!
Heavenly high
star, someday I
will be one ray of you. In flames of kisses
rising in you: a single shine
of beauty and of light.
Over all the earth
alight with love,
with you astir
unto eternity.

[60]

A calling comes from seaward, soft, unworded,
as if she’s come. Or if I’ll come to her.

[61]

As if an endless longing blows
along the dunes – gleaming gold
along the dunes.

[62]

Far Bride,
gentle beauty Bride –
out of the bournless
your face pearls
through this world.

[63]

Pearling in your eye
is all the world –
every figure, every tint.
Sky. Sea. Spirit.


[64]

Goal!
that the drift eternal
hot or cool
is driving to.

[65]

Longing –
that the womb always
farther, higher from
rises.

[66]

Womb,
depth without end,
farther even
than ever the longing gets.

[72]

Deep in your body I am,
in your soul:
endless whole.

[73]

Glorious body,
endless soul
surrounding me.
Perfectly.

[74]

Gone into you
and with you one,
so high and hale,
heart in a phase
returns into
oneself its gaze.

[75]

But you are whole.
Your majesty
illumines all.
In you I be.

[76]

Lone.
Alone.
Gone.

[77]

Her eyes
sending light.

[78]

To rise disappearing
into her high
happy...
Music
that no name knows.

[79]

In her golden Light,
her golden Mind,
my mind.

[80]

A golden world
in which my mind’s a pearl.

[81]

Now I’ve been immersed
in your golden body’s fathoms –
shining as a pearl
within your golden Mind my mind.

[82]

The inner you
is now the outer me.

IV.

[85]

The inner you
is now the outer me.

[86]

Like a reservoir
in which a star
is shining,
gently, from afar.

[87]

Like the glance
of a star
on a lake:
her dance.

[88]

Blackbird:
pearl
cloaked
in daybreak.

[89]

Pearl
of grace,
of love –
Beloved!

[90]

High in you,
deep in you.
Around me is no day or night.
Around me is a single light.

[91]

A single light! You around me, I’m in you,
Spirit of the Future Music.
It’s out of the All, out of Humanity you now descend:
the widest wings.
You surround me, I’m in you.

[92]

You are beauty. Gazing within you,
winning over me, I see –
you, beauty moving, living
in what’s now being.
You are in me, I am in you.
Spirit of Music! I am in you,
you’ve opened you for me.

[93]

It is not true that this is sunlight.
This is you.
This is not the wind that blues
across the water:
that is not so gentle:
this is you.
This is not the earth and not the heavens –
so beautiful they’re not.
This is you.

[94]

O blossoming sunlight,
blossoming water!
Unending thirst
that’s love’s flowering!
To the showering sound
of white sourcelight
my Love lies
on my breast.

[95]

It’s when I peer
into your eyes, my Love,
I see the mystery clear
that’s Love.

[96]

Won over!
Love’s sun
striding bright before me –
won over!
Love’s source
guiding me along her crystal course.

[97]

It’s said the absolute of Love’s
a super-human quandary –
and yet my love for you, Spirit
of Music, knows no boundary.



[1] My post ‘Poems by Herman Gorter (Part 1),’ in the October 2013 archive, includs a brief introduction. For a good overall introduction to Gorter’s life and work by Paul Vincent, see