Adding a link to Wikipedia for Emily.
Some things just grab you. You don’t know why, they just do. And walking in my lunch break, the Slauerhoff bridge grabbed me. Look at that piece of road in the sky.
It is kind of hard to explain how it works but here is a gif Google made for me:
The bridge also rekindled my admiration for the Dutch poet Slauerhoff. He used to speak to me when I was so sure I did not belong in NL. In his poems he often commentend on how the smallness of this country sufficated him. He was a ship’s doctor, lived in exotic places but was born and raised in Leeuwarden, which he pretty much left as soon as he could.
‘Nowhere but in my poems can I dwell,/ Nowhere else could I a shelter find’ are the first lines of one of his most renowned poems (‘Homeless’), which can be regarded as characteristic of his life and work.
A.Z. Foreman provides a better translation, I think, in his blog and you can also find the original there.
One of my favourite poems used to be: In Holland.
I wonder how he would feel having such a marvellous bridge in Leeuwarden named after him. I wrote a few lines in Dutch and a literal translation:
Slauerhoff, ge dichtte
wereldzeeën en oceanen
over hoe het was in Nederland
over hoe ge er nooit kon wonen.
Hoe nu fiere Ljouwert kleuren
opstrijken vanuit het water
de weg openen naar oneindig lucht
eronder boten door het kanaal laten.
Slauerhoff, you crossed
worldseas and oceans
about how it was in Nederland
about how you could never live there.
How now proud Ljouwert colours
lift up from the water
open up the road to endless sky
below boats pass on the channel.
I don’t think Slauerhoff would have much time for my thoughts, I do think he would be proud of this bridge.