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Neeltje Maria Min

Neeltje Maria Min - foto Chris van Houts
Neeltje Maria Min - foto Chris van Houts

(Bergen North Holland, 1944) published poems using the pen name Sophie Perk in Algemeen Handelsblad. Poet Ed Hoornik, who worked for the newspaper, contacted her. Shortly afterwards her poems appeared in the literary magazine De gids. Her debut was published in 1966. Selling eighty-thousand copies it was one of the most successful Dutch volumes of poetry in the 20th century. Her second volume appeared in 1985, followed by a third one in 1995.

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  • Winternachten 2007 – WINTERNACHT 1

    The last journey

    It happens a number of times a year in our country: a funeral where no one turns up. There are no surviving relatives or they show no interest in the deceased. The coffin is lowered into the ground under the watchful eye of the civil servant of social services. Enough, some poets thought. Now they write poems for these lonely funerals. Frank Starik, Neeltje Maria Min and Anneke Brassinga on the power of poetry. Dutch spoken.

    The child

    There is a mother in our life, she is
    the ground and knows why we were born,
    wherever we go she leads the way, where even
    we didn't dare to walk - on
    untrod earth in the underworld
    as if she were laid to rest there,
    as if she turned a hundred and nearly became our kid.

    You follow her as if she summoned:
    Klara, daughter, come you're dearly missed.
    Was there no man or animal to talk to?
    The longcase clock struck every quarter, chat-
    tering refrain of silence. Twelve weeks
    you were an orphan - twelve centuries?
    Now rest in peace, be reunited permanently.

    [Anneke Brassinga]