April auf dem Lande by Cees Nooteboom



It was summer and winter.

The water by the river,

how it rose.

Mist between the hills.

In the valley the expensive villas,

shuttered, white and pink.

Fox and owl

hidden out of sight,

a work day for herons and mice.

And the man who loved women lonely,

not thinking about the birds.

Dew or rain

on the serrated leaves,

the call of a train

from the depths.

How many, he thought,

how many spokes in the wheel

of a single




Written by Cees Nooteboom and translated by David Colmer.

Cees Nooteboom (born in 1933) debuted in 1955 with the novel Philip en de anderen (Philip and the Others) and has since written novels, poetry, short stories and travelogues. He has earned numerous awards, including the Aristeion European Prize for Het volgende verhaal (The Following Story, 1991), which marked his international breakthrough. In 2004 he was awarded the P.C. Hooft Prize for his entire oeuvre. The jury’s report stated that with regard to its power of expression, scope and originality, Cees Nooteboom’s prose is "of the best produced in the Netherlands in the last fifty years".

David Colmer translates Dutch literature in a range of genres.  He has twice won the David Reid Poetry Translation Prize, most recently for his translation of Gerritt Achterberg's poem "The Poet as a Cow". His translation of Gerbrand Bakker’s novel The Twin (Archipelago, 2010) was awarded the Dublin IMPAC prize.

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