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Mark Boog

Four poems

translated by Willen Groenewegen

Happiness / Love / Small House / Water, Aspirin, You


Happiness is surmountable. One places it
in a glass case and goes to work.
Those who ask are allowed to see it,
accompanied by a balanced commentary.

It is customary to lean back in the evening
and, in the refined light it is
exhibited, consider this happiness.
One gives one’s companion a nudge.
They nod or say quite softly: ‘Yes.’

To what extent this happiness determines us
is not even the question: absolutely. We are nothing
but our happiness, and happiness is where we are.

Only whilst wiping the glass top
we sometimes lower our eyes. The damp cloth
is slack in our hands. So beautiful.


The sky lies flat on the ground,
invisible and solid.

You are dressed in the colour of your hair,
in your eyes, your steps and your words.
You’re here and elsewhere. I give chase to you

and shudder. You are too tall perhaps,
or too near. Your inapproachability
is unforgivable. If I could be a bird —

but the precision escapes me
as does the trust. I look at you

and shudder. Talk to me, as I’ll keep quiet,
suffer my stranglehold, suffer
the awkwardness, suffer me, love.

Small House

Small house, but throw a ball through it some time
and it becomes quite large. See all those metres,
aren’t they ours? And stroll perhaps as if
you don’t know where you’re going: space is
stretching out and yawns between the walls. Behold:
the wandering that binds the rooms together
has been painted white. There are some stairs,
a hat stand in the cupboard, doors. As if
by accident it lies there like a country
lane, where roads determine goal and starting
point and not the other way around. If you
go out for bread and then return you’ll see
that we can organise a picnic. Quick!
Go now! The shrinking can’t be far away.

Water, Aspirin, You

Water, aspirin, you. The sun burns!
The wind strikes holes into the leaves!
It grips! Time crowing ticks
onto the tympanums!

And bring me, while you’re
at it, an eternal darkness
and one hell of a silence.
Wrap me up and lay me down.

And ask me daily what I want.
Stand dimly lit in the doorway.

Mark Boog; photo © Tineke de Lange

Mark Boog; photo © Tineke de Lange

Mark Boog (1970, Utrecht) has published various poetry books and novel. ‘The encyclopaedia of the big words’ (2005, Cossee) was awarded the VSB-poetry prize 2006. At the end of 2007 ‘Own Ear’ appeared, containing a large selection of his poems together with new work and a music CD. Last year he wrote the poetry book for the national Poetry Day: ‘All days are from love.’ In January 2009 publishing house Cossee published his new novel: ‘I understand the killer’.


Willem Groenewegen (1971) bilingual Dutch-English translator/poet. Studied
English Literature in Groningen, Manchester and Sheffield. Dutch & Flemish
poets translated, amongst others: Arjen Duinker, Dirk van Bastelaere, Nick
J. Swarth and Rutger Kopland. His ‘What Water Left Behind: Rutger Kopland’ book of translations (Dublin: Waxwing, 2005) was nominated for the Popescu
Prize 2007.

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