A New Hymn for Easter

Without having drunk, I praise God. Today many things happened.
Strolling through the lower city,
thinking of the Final Things,
I saw a boy, presumably a German tourist,
and followed him while I thought:
I'll slap your ass or if that won't work
you can hit me,
the main thing is we're occupied—
until he entered De Bijenkorf and I,
dizzy with horniness, bumping into people,
lost his trail.
Nevertheless I didn't forego praising You.
For unfathomably grand are all your labours:
Thou, who hast made the being
that has a cunt from behind and a tail in front.
Like I said, I hadn't even drunk, and yet I wanted
To honour you weeping and kneel for You in tears,
Oh Master, Slave and Brother, Slaughtered and Risen God.
Humming and secretly prophetising,
I continued on my way.
Then I saw Bet van Beeren, at a little white table
sitting in front of her café, trying with fork and knife
to open up a macrel to eat it in the sun.
I thought look. How beatifully is made everything in Nature.
(Just think about those stars and their lightyears.)
I did want to go to some kind of evening mass,
but there was none.


To celebrate easter I translated Gerard Reve's (1923-2006) een Nieuw Paaslied (1962)

Gerard Reve is famous in the Netherlands for his contribution to 20th century literature. Reve’s upbringing is socialist. His famous debut ‘œDe avonden’ (1947) is a sober account of being young in the post-war years.

Personally I like best these style Reve develops in the 1960ies. Around this time he converts to catholicism. This seems bizarre from a contemporary perspective, especially since Reve is openly homosexual. But it’s the time of the Second Vatican Council: the church appears to be changing in a radical fashion. Reve thinks that catholicism can accommodate aspects of pagan traditions that combine sexuality and worship.


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