Translation Kelvin Wilson
Four days the struggle had lasted.
fought the town two sides.
One struck a wave over the bridge,
back over the island the attack returned.
Bending over and over between shores,
too much blood was spilt,
and too long kept up
those who’d break all to the last;
for the marines, they stood too fast.
So the birds of death came,
in wide flights huddled tight,
three by three, one by one,|
to sweep through what they do, and have it done.
The inner quarters
The roads of our liveliest mire
House by house fell, too oft to a tomb.
Yet one thing to spare,
was our river, in sunlight’s glare.
Wounded by nothing, shook by none,
shored up between her shores,
she drinks it, she makes it live,
she carries light on through the land.
Deep from Europe’s frosted heart,
she carries us two gifts in her lap:
a cool breeze, to wash down our body and soul,
a strong heart, to stand down all force.
Streaming from clear heights,
down to us, laden with a heart to work,
erupting on the quays,
she, life itself, the blue blood of Rotterdam.
Through all the harbours and channels,
she penetrates the city
to, all it requires,
all it receives and gives, bring and take.
Carrying it back to the sea, then,
full of Holland’s light,
into the world she sets flight.
So here she lies, whole and unblemished,
what is ours, for ever.
Who, if he wanted, would take this from us?
What fate might kill,
how quick, how hard its blows fell,
what it, what his hand did,
in what it was, if she too damage did?
Unbroken, she streams on,
and gives courage to us, come from far ourselves,
and for so far set, to dream our dreams too,
of victorious light,
when through every destruction, she lives.