High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

Charles Ducal: After the Flood
Friday Verses

Charles Ducal: After the Flood

This week's Friday Verses are written by Charles Ducal. We translated Na de vloed (After the Flood). This poem was first published in Dutch in Het Liegend Konijn, a magazine for contemporary Dutch-language poetry.

Charles Ducal (Leuven, b. 1952) is a retired teacher. He has written eight collections of poetry, a volume of stories and a novel. A new collection, De koers van de eeuw (The Course of the Century) will be published in spring 2021 by Atlas Contact.

After the Flood

When the town had vanished, not destroyed,
but swept away by an invisible hand,
and it went on raining day in day out

and from the new mud strange creatures emerged
as if kneaded by a drunken creator
and people banded together in one great herd

and again sacrificed children and young girls
to a god whom the oldest of them could still
evoke in his voice and in that way kept hoping

that one morning the sun would shine, someone
would make a fire, turn the mud to stone,
a town would rise up, completely different from the old one

(Dutch version below the photo)

Na de vloed

Toen de stad was verdwenen, niet verwoest,
maar door een onzichtbare hand weggeveegd,
en het dag in dag uit bleef regenen

en uit de nieuwe modder vreemde dieren ontstonden
als door een dronken schepper gekneed
en de mensen zich tot één grote kudde verbonden

en weer kinderen en jonge meisjes offerden
aan een god die de oudste van hen in zijn stem
kon laten horen en men op die manier bleef hopen

dat op een ochtend de zon zou schijnen, iemand
een vuur zou maken, de modder veranderen in steen,
er een stad op zou rijzen die in niets op de vorige leek

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