Wallace Stevens, De goede man hat gjin stal

 
De goede man hat gjin stal

Hy libbe yn earmoed, de iuwen troch.
God wie as iennige syn iennichste grasjeuzens.

Generaasje op generaasje waard er doe
Sterker en frijer, in bytsje better ôf.

Hy libbe elk libben, want as it min wie,
Sei er, soe der in goed libben mooglik wêze.

Dat goede libben – nachtrêst, blond fruit – kaam
Lang om let, en Lazarus ferrette him oan de rest;

Sy makken him dea en stutsen fearren yn syn fleis
Om him te bespotten. By him yn syn grêf dienen sy

Soere wyn tsjin de kjeld, in leech boek om te lêzen,
En derboppe pleatsten sy in takkele boerd,

Epitaphium op syn dea, mei de tekst
De goede man hat gjin stal, as wisten sy ’t.

 

The Good Man Has No Shape

Through centuries he lived in poverty.
God only was his only elegance.

Then generation by generation he grew
Stronger and freer, a little better off.

He lived each life because, if it was bad,
He said a good life would be possible.

At last the good life came, good sleep, bright fruit,
And Lazarus betrayed him to the rest,

Who killed him, sticking feathers in his flesh
To mock him. They placed with him in his grave

Sour wine to warm him, an empty book to read;
And over it they set a jagged sign,

Epitaphium to his death, which read,
The Good Man Has No Shape, as if they knew.

 

Ut Transport to Summer, 1947

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