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The War Poets 3: How to Die by Siegfried Sassoon

Updated on March 18, 2015

Favourite Poems translated to Dutch

How to die, by Siegfried Sassoon


Dark clouds are smouldering into red

While down the craters morning burns.

The dying soldier shifts his head

To watch the glory that returns;


He lifts his fingers toward the skies

Where holy brightness breaks in flame;

Radiance reflected in his eyes,

And on his lips a whispered name.


You'd think, to hear some people talk,

That lads go West with sobs and curses,

And sullen faces white as chalk,

Hankering for wreaths and tombs and hearses.


But they've been taught the way to do it

Like Christian soldiers; not with haste

And shuddering groans; but passing through it

With due regard for decent taste.


Hoe the sterven, door Siegfried Sassoon

Vertaling door Nils Visser



Donkere wolken gloeien in rode ochtendgloed,

In de kraters brandt de morgen al een tijd,

De stervende soldaat, onder zijn eigen bloed,

Ziet hoe de wederkerende zon het donker splijt;



Hij reikt met trillende vingers naar de lucht

Waar in lichterlaaie ontvlamt het heilige licht;

De gloed flikkert in zijn ogen, met een zucht,

fluistert hij een naam die onnoembare pijn verlicht.



Je zou denken, als je mensen hoort praten,

Dat de jongens vertrekken met traan en vloek,

Met verbeten, getergde, krijtkleurige gelaten,

Naar krans en grafsteen en lijkkoets op zoek.



Maar zij hebben geleerd hoe het moet,

Zoals morele gezaghebbers zullen beamen,

Niet haastig ongepast kreunend naar de doet,

Maar rustig, zonder Christelijk fatsoen te beschamen.

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