Posts Tagged ‘Gerry van der Linden’

Gerry van der Linden. The Status of Poetry

Thursday, December 1st, 2016



In the dictionary I found this definition of Decadence Times:  Falling from high to low standards in morals or the arts:

Did poetry fall from high to low standards nowadays? I do not know. Poetry is easy to be considered as being as well on low as high standards. One can look at poetry as a rather draughty window that shows us the mind and heart of the poet. In breeze or stormy weather, the window is open and to be seen through. The poetry, however, not necessarily opens the mind and heart of others. The other can be not receptive and will close the window, the poet can hide behind it as a place to live in, to be safe. The poem will not fly.

The Dutch poet Slauerhoff says: Only in my poems I can live. It is the first line of his poem called: Without a home. He was a passionate world traveler, his poems took him every where, though his most famous one is about his home country, which he left behind..

Is poetry the only home we have in decadence times? I think so. At all times. For the poet, the non-poet and everyone else. I consider poetry to be homeless no matter how comfortable its house is. When poetry seems to be accepted and cultivated by the ruling society, when that moment arrives, poetry is more homeless than ever. We need poems to make room for questions, to clear our view, to undone the mirror of its haze, to use words for other meaning than yes, please, no, never. The word ‘’perhaps’’ should belong to the poet’s most essential vocabulary.. and perhaps to all of us. It is a word that leaves the window open at all times.

How about the status of poetry at all times? Is there a constancy in poetry? Is poetry to be defined? Not really. I think, that poetry is the inaudible speaking of the invisible in image, sound, rhythm. So far for clearness! When a poem touches our existence, – as we are all leaves in the wind floating on a breeze and storm – , it creates space and flies away. It is up to the reader to join. A poem is like a bird with a diamond in its feathers. It shines on you, even when you are not aware of it.

Amazement can be a source of writing. To be amazed about daily life, people and their ways of doing, animals, objects, everyone and everything has a second nature not to be seen at first sight. There’s nothing in this world to be taken for granted, yet, nothing comes naturally. Only nature and that’s why it rules us and will always be superior to us. Writing poems could be seen or as idle work that is done at the outskirts of life or essential labour in the middle of the stream of life, being the main source, being alive in image and language with all its senses.

Perhaps you can compare poetry with true love? Just as love, poetry can go everywhere and all ways, it is neither rational nor logical, it has no limits or highest power. It is the diamond in the bird’s feathers and can shine upon all of us. A treasure that not will be defeated, it touches the untouchable, that we carry inside of us. If we are true to ourselves.

(c) Gerry van der Linden

Nota: Hierdie is die inset wat die Nederlandse digter, Gerry van der Linden, gelewer het tydens die Poetry Festival Istanbul in April vanjaar.  In Junie 2017 verskyn Van der Linden se digbundel Een boterham met Brodsky, ‘n bundel wat handel oor die swerftog wat  hy saam met die Russiese digter onderneem het in 1989.

Gerry van der Linden. Uur van mijn moeder

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Uur van mijn moeder


Moeders aderen meanderen

op de rug van haar hand

haar haren zijn wit

hoofdhuid schemert roze


moeder is een oksel om in te kruipen

ze ruikt eraan

er is geen deodorant voor


zoveel ledematen en dat voelen

(dood is dat niet meer voelen)

doorleven is elke dag


boodschappen die drommen

in de keuken


straks komt iemand

opent de deur van de koelkast


ziet hoe vol en leeg die is.



©Gerry van der Linden / 2015