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Buitenlandse literatuur

Stepen Crane — Twee gedichten uit zijn laatste levensjaren

THE BLADES OF GRASSStephen Crane (1871-1900)

In Heaven,
Some little blades of grass
Stood before God.
“What did you do?
Then all save one of the little blades
Began eagerly to relate
The merits of their lives.
This one stayed a small way behind,
Ashamed.

Presently, God said,
“And what did you do?”
The little blade answered: “Oh, my Lord,
Memory is bitter to me,
For, if I did good deeds,
I know not of them.”
Then God, in all his splendor,
Arose from his throne.
“Oh, best little blade of grass!” he said.

[1895]

*****

WAR IS KIND

Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind.
Because your lover threw wild hands toward the sky
And the affrighted steed ran on alone,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Hoarse, booming drums of the regiment,
Little souls who thirst for fight,
These men were born to drill and die.
The unexplained glory flies above them,
Great is the Battle-God, great and his Kingdom—
A field where thousand corpses lie.

Do not weep, babe, for war is kind.
Because your father tumbled in the yellow trenches,
Raged at his breast, gulped and died,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Swift blazing flag of the regiment,
Eagle with crest of red and gold,
These men were born to drill and die.
Point for them the virtue of slaughter,
Make plain to them the excellence of killing
And a field where a thousand corpses lie.

Mother whose heart hung humble as a button
On the bright splendid shroud of your son,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

[1899]

Stephen Crane (1871-1900)

(Zie ook ons artikel van zondag 18 januari 2007 over Jack London, waarin een passage, in de context van de literatuur van die tijd, aan Stephen Crane is gewijd.)

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