For the faraway princess

Now we will never meet again;
The world shouldered itself between us.
Sometimes at night we both look out the window,
But different stars we see in different times.

Your land is so far removed from mine:
From light to farthest darkness—that I
Travelling restlessly on wings of desire,
Would greet you with my dying breath.

But if it is true that the strongest desire
Is carried to the farthest star by great dreams:
Then I will come,
Then I will come, every night.

Voor de verre prinses, J.J. Slauerhoff (1898 – 1936), literal translation by me. You can improve the translation in the comments if you like.

4 responses to “For the faraway princess”

  1. Eric says:

    Her name is Angela Saxton (nee Powell). She lives in France. I live in England.

  2. […] This is the Slauerhoffbridge, named after a local poet. I translated his “Voor de verre prinses” once, but not very well, so I’ll just link to it. […]

  3. roel says:

    suggestion ( i made this a few years ago)

    For the the distant princess

    Nevermore we will be together
    the world split us for that matter
    Maybe at night, when we stand at the windowpane,
    but the stars we see are not the same

    Your country so farway from mine,
    travelling even all day when I would try
    driven by the urge of time,
    I would only reach you when I die.

    But if it is true that dreams can travel light
    and carry the desire just as far
    up to the most distant star,
    then I will be there, I will be there every night.

  4. brankl says:

    Great! Thanks! I love the second stanza, though I would maybe remove the ‘even’.

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