Poem that Ends Well
When it’s late at night and you’re in bed,
with a book in your right hand and your dick
in your left, and you try to get things clear in your head,
and realise: nothing, nil, nix
have I accomplished; I’ll soon be bloody dead
and it’s like I’ve lived my life inside a garden shed.
Or when you wake up as an insect,
leaking yellow fluid, your workday wrecked,
and everyone just acts the same
as every other day and calls you by your name
and means it well.
When you are parched and drifting out at sea,
and there is no hope left, but only thirst,
and spilling that last mouthful was the worst,
and cracks have started forming in the plank,
whose smiling face will surface from the brine,
who’ll say: don’t worry, it’s gonna work out fine?
Your cheerful buddy Frank.
Marriage and Family
The thunderstorm is the father of all things.
Monday is the mother.
Father is hanging in the garden
with a blue face,
but Mother won’t let him in.
So he just hangs there
terrifying all the kids so much
they put on some coffee.
With every car that whizzes
past my window in the rain,
disappearing round the bend,
I hope they’re going somewhere
and that it’s always different cars
and not a series
being sent out over and over again
on a constant pointless loop
by one invisible loon.
Frank Koenegracht (b. 1945) is a retired psychiatrist and the author of almost a dozen volumes of poetry. Psychiatry, the medical world and pop music are important themes in his work. Although not as well known as some, Koenegracht is a poet’s poet whose wry and occasionally cynical work has generally been embraced by the Dutch critics.
The originals of ‘Poem that Ends Well’, ‘Marriage and Family’ and ‘Progress’ are in Vroege sneeuw, Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 2003