St. Thomas Didymus (Denise Levertov), Mark Strand


Bij Beloken Pasen


Ongelovige Thomas door Giovanni Serodine, ca. 1620


St. Thomas Didymus  

In the hot street at noon I saw him
a small man
gray but vivid, standing forth
beyond the crowd’s buzzing
holding in desperate grip his shaking
teethgnashing son,

and thought him my brother.

I heard him cry out, weeping and speak
those words,
Lord, I believe, help thou
mine unbelief,

and knew him
my twin:

a man whose entire being
had knotted itself
into the one tightdrawn question,
why has this child lost his childhood in suffering,
why is this child who will soon be a man
tormented, torn, twisted?
Why is he cruelly punished
who has done nothing except be born?

The twin of my birth
was not so close
as that man I heard
say what my heart
sighed with each beat, my breath silently
cried in and out,
in and out.

After the healing,
he, with his wondering
newly peaceful boy, receded;
no one
dwells on the gratitude, the astonished joy,
the swift
acceptance and forgetting.
I did not follow
to see their changed lives.
What I retained
was the flash of kinship.
all that I witnessed,
his question remained
my question, throbbed like a stealthy cancer,
only to doctor and patient. To others
I seemed well enough.

So it was
that after Golgotha
my spirit in secret
lurched in the same convulsed writhings
that tore that child
before he was healed.
And after the empty tomb
when they told me that He lived, had spoken to Magdalen,
told me
that though He had passed through the door like a ghost
He had breathed on them
the breath of a living man —
even then
when hope tried with a flutter of wings
to lift me —
still, alone with myself,
my heavy cry was the same: Lord
I believe,
help thou mine unbelief.

I needed
blood to tell me the truth,
the touch
of blood. Even
my sight of the dark crust of it
round the nailholes
didn’t thrust its meaning all the way through
to that manifold knot in me
that willed to possess all knowledge,
refusing to loosen
unless that insistence won
the battle I fought with life

But when my hand
led by His hand’s firm clasp
entered the unhealed wound,
my fingers encountering
rib-bone and pulsing heat,
what I felt was not
scalding pain, shame for my
obstinate need,
but light, light streaming
into me, over me, filling the room
as I had lived till then
in a cold cave, and now
coming forth for the first time,
the knot that bound me unravelling,
I witnessed
all things quicken to color, to form,
my question
not answered but given
its part
in a vast unfolding design lit
by a risen sun.


Denise Levertov (24 October 1923 – 20 December 1997)
Ilford Hospital Chapel. Denise Levertov werd geboren in Ilford


De Amerikaanse dichter en schrijver Mark Strand werd geboren op 11 april 1934 in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada. Zie ook alle tags voor Mark Strand op dit blog.



Toen ik het feest verliet bleek zonneklaar
Dat ik, hoewel over de tachtig, nog
Een mooi lijf had. De maan scheen zoals verwacht
Op momenten van intense zelfbeschouwing. De wind stokte.
En kijk, iemand had een spiegel tegen een boom laten staan.
Zodra ik mij alleen wist, trok ik mijn hemd uit.
De berengrasbloemen lieten hun maanovergoten kopjes hangen.
Ik trok mijn broek uit en de eksters draaiden om de reuzenpijnen.
Beneden in het dal stroomde nog eenmaal de krakende rivier.
Wat vreemd dat ik in de wildernis alleen met mijn lichaam moest staan.
Ik weet wat je denkt. Ik was ooit zoals jij. Maar nu
Met zoveel voor mij, zoveel smaragdgroene bomen en
Door kruid gewitte velden, bergen en meren, hoe kon ik niet
Van ogenblik tot ogenblik alleen mijzelf zijn, deze vleselijke droom?


Vertaald door H.C. ten Berge


Mark Strand (11 april 1934 – 29 november 2014)


Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 11e april ook mijn blog van 11 april 2020 en eveneens mijn blog van 11 april 2019 en mijn blog van 11 april 2017 en ook mijn blog van 11 april 2015 deel 1 en eveneens deel 2 en deel 3.

Geef een reactie

Vul je gegevens in of klik op een icoon om in te loggen. logo

Je reageert onder je account. Log uit /  Bijwerken )

Google photo

Je reageert onder je Google account. Log uit /  Bijwerken )


Je reageert onder je Twitter account. Log uit /  Bijwerken )

Facebook foto

Je reageert onder je Facebook account. Log uit /  Bijwerken )

Verbinden met %s