What His Nature Demands: Three Dutch Poets

By an odd coincidence, June 10th is the birthday of three very different Dutch poets:

Henri Bruning (1900-1983), writer and poet, who was sympathetic to fascism and anti-semitism, and became a favored member of the Germanic SS in the Netherlands, an extension of Himmler’s German SS, in 1944. At the end of WWII, he was sentenced to two years and three months of internment and banned from writing for 10 years.

Louis Couperus (1863-1923), novelist, short story and fairy tale writer, as well as being a poet. He spent much time abroad, and traveled extensively in Europe and Asia, writing weekly travelogues for De Haagsche Post

Jacques Perk (1859-1881), important Dutch poet of the late 19th century, who died at age 22. But his crown of sonnets Mathilde was the harbinger of a revival of Dutch poetry by the Tachtigers, (“Eightiers”), also called the Movement of Eighty, a radical group of Dutch writers in Amsterdam who created new approaches to 19th century Dutch literature.

I could only find an English translation of one poem, by Jacques Perk. 


To read the poem “Willow and Poplar” by Jacques Perk, click:


Willow and Poplar

by Jacques Perk

Do not believe, that one virtue is suitable to all!—
The poplar strives on high with haughty disdain
Of the earth, and the heart quivers yearning
For the blue of the sky, where freedom lies;

The weeping willow with shoot and foliage bends,
All seek the water with such hopeful endeavor,
And with great sorrow stand waiting for the bow
That they are covered up with little waves.

The poplar which bends, one should disdain,
The willow which seeks out the clouds offends,—
For each must practice that which him best becomes ;

Whoever, what his nature demands, does, is good;
The dove is gentle, but the eagle displays its power,
And the bile is bitter, but the honey sweet.


About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for over 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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