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“Luistermeer” poem: the English version
“Luistermeer” poem: the English version

“Luistermeer” poem: the English version

Below you’ll find the English version of the poem I wrote for “Luistermeer” (which would translate to something like “the Lake of Listening”, or “Listening lake”), a location theatre project by Boilerhouse, performed in The Hague, around Easter 2015.
The English version is published here for all non-Dutch speakers that visited “Luistermeer” and would still like to know what the poem was about..

The forgotten house

Who will still see here
amidst all sunlit things
the traces of light
that shining in their eyes
stood still
above breath’s ongoing out- and inward flow

traces of children’s faces
singing with hands grasping fences
or free as wind attached to sky

mirroring music in their mindful heads:
o magic of not being shone upon.

No whisper of their weight remains:
the lawn that felt their footprints
disappeared with time.

Stay with us
light of the earth

Stay with us
light of the earth
that we create ourselves
from all unfinished things
seeking to take place in us

We are the light of the earth
ever emerging and fading
in waves of time
that appear with us
that disappear in us

like all things we abandon disappear.

What remains is the glow of our gifts.

Here they were
separated together
from places they called home
and didn’t know of each other,
to which was no return.

After which return would never be.

When the bow cracks
the journey ends:
Blow life into the sail!
And man the lookout!

Always underway towards the earth
that we sail

In our hands a horizon awakes.


  • The house referred to is “Huize ten Vijver” (“House at the Pond”), one of the mansions still standing around “de Waterpartij” (a set of ponds in a park in The Hague) at the eve of the second Worldwar. Roughly between September 1939 and May 1940, 150 Jewish refugee children from across Europe were sheltered in huize ten Vijver. In 1943 the mansion was demolished by the Nazi’s in favour of their plans for the Atlantikwall. The children were removed earlier, and only a few of them survived the war and the Holocaust.
    For more information on “Huize ten Vijver” and the fate of the children sheltered there (and elsewhere in the Netherlands), see the website Dokin.nl of historical researcher Miriam Keesing.
  • Luistermeer was a location theatre project, initiated by Stichting Boilerhouse, with Laura Vink as artistic leader.
  • On May 4 2015, directly preceding National Remembrance Day in the Netherlands, I recited the poem during the HagueTalks#3, in the Humanity House in The Hague.

© 2015 Taco Sorgdrager

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