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The last journey

Neeltje Maria Min en Frank Starik - foto Serge Ligtenberg
Neeltje Maria Min en Frank Starik - foto Serge Ligtenberg

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]