Gerrit Achterberg


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Save Marsman, who lives in France, o God
Give him a temple to which he might flee.
A cross so that he may kiss it, if he must.
You know the bullets and the paratroopers /
that leap into his fate.
Whoever has fought with your soldiers
is for another power far too great.
Write his verses against your airs
and place your fingers in front of this dense lead.

May 1940


It would have been better, had I died for him,
for with my being there is nothing else left to do
but to add more dead territory to the furthest light;
that can happen from neither side about as well perhaps.
But he stood erect in the middle of his own completion;
a cathedral of resolution, there to serve us.

"We'll see each other again for sure", he had /
just written me.

July 1940

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Gerrit Achterberg