Once Upon A Time
Translation by Willem Groenewegen
Once upon a time there was the water
Where was it?
On the edge of the water
Where it reaches land
Where did you say?
Where the water reaches land
Where our water becomes our land, you mean
Where our water is our land and our sand is our sand
That’s where it was
The way it lay there
The way it lay face down, just so, the hands beside the head
The way we removed it and it stayed lying face down
Even when we removed it, it stayed, while we were removing it, lying face down in the sand
Even when we were no longer looking
Especially where we were no longer looking it stayed lying in the sand, face down
That it one day would leave by itself, we sometimes thought,
But that it would become ours when we removed it
Once upon a time, we still tried to think, but
As loud as we could tried once upon a time, to keep thinking once upon a time
Peter Verhelst is a Belgian Flemish novelist, poet and dramatist. He won the Ferdinand Bordewijk Prijs for Tongkat. His latest novel is a political thriller, Zwerm.