The birds are soon returning
and with them dreams of warmer times.
Still sticking on their feathers,
burning memories of colours they saw;
reflecting gloomingly in their eyes
shades much brighter than our greys.
Was it not nicer way back South?
They come back anyway, they always do.

Will you, my love, come back to me?
You do so every year in Spring,
when ice is gone and ships may sail again.
Recall last Summer and our love.
You left me in October when
our baby was not showing.
Was it better were you lived?
Or did you have another then?

The flowers are trying hard now
to grow, and blossom in spite of the snow.
Out of the earth new life emerges
in deeper colours than we know.
Their scent will perfume the streets again
with better smells than that of death.
Was it not better in the ground?
They come back anyway, they always do.

Will you then too come back to me,
the way you did before?
I shall be waiting on the quay.
Your son and me, we hope the best
and that your ship may hurry home.
Both him and me have lots to tell.
We made it through the Winter fine.
Now ship, please come, so he’ll be mine.

De vogels komen nu snel terug
en met hen dromen van warmere tijden.
Nog aan hun veren klevend,
brandende herinneringen aan kleuren die ze zagen;
glanzend weerkaatsend in hun ogen
tinten veel vrolijker dan onze grijzen.
Was het niet mooier in het zuiden?
Toch komen ze terug, dat doen ze altijd.

Zul jij, mijn lief, terugkomen bij mij?
Dat doe je iedere lente
als het ijs weg is en schepen weer varen.
Herinner je vorige zomer en onze liefde.
Je liet me hier in oktober toen
ons kindje nog niet toonde.
Was het beter waar je woonde?
Of had je een andere dan?

De bloemen proberen nu hard
te groeien, en bloeien ondanks de sneeuw.
Uit de aarde ontstaat nieuw leven
in diepere kleuren dan wij kennen.
Hun geur zal de straten parfumeren
met betere geuren dan die van de dood.
Was het niet beter in de grond?
Toch komen ze ieder jaar terug, dat doen ze altijd.

Zul jij dan ook bij me terugkeren,
zoals je eerder deed?
Ik zal staan wachten op de ka.
Je zoon en ik hopen het beste
en dat je schip naar huis zal haasten.
Hij en ik beiden hebben je zoveel te zeggen.
Wij hebben ons door de winter heengeslagen.
Nu, schip kom snel, opdat hij mij de hand kan vragen.

Comments on: "The sailor bride in Spring/ De zeemansbruid in de lente" (10)

  1. Beautiful Ina, and repeating the last two lines ‘…they always do’ gives it an underpinning for your feelings expressed.

  2. A sad but hope filled poem.

  3. Beautiful as ever, Ina, and also quite sad. I have also tried to read the Dutch! Question: when you write a poem for English, do you write it first in Dutch, or go straight to English? My guess is the latter because your grasp of English seems particularly fine.

    • Hi David, thank you very much. It was while thinking of letters from wives of seamen that I thought of writing this, although it started with wanting to write about Spring. πŸ™‚ The none rhyme and rhythm are a bit like in a letter I think.

      I always think and write my English poems in English straight away, this one as well. I translated it into Dutch while I was writing, in parts. At first I had an English stanza, I translated into Dutch, an English and Dutch again, then I made the stanza’s longer, but eventually this ( whole poem in English first, then in Dutch) seemed more logical somehow πŸ™‚

  4. So very beautiful and poignant, Ina! This would make a lovely song… a ballad.

    Also interesting to read that you write poems in English first – your English is so perfect. (It must be great to be bilingual and have it some so easily!)

    • Hi Betty
      thank you very much. I like the thought of a ballad πŸ™‚

      I love the English language, but I still have a lot to learn I know!

  5. Very interesting how you write your poems…to create such beautiful images and words through a kind of interchange between two languages!

    I love the comparison between the returning lover and migrating birds, and rekindling love to the flowers overcoming the seeming impossible to grow and bloom again.

    I was really drawn in by the story here and agree with Betty about it ‘sounding’ ballad-like.

    Really lovely, Ina!

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