The poem begins conventionally with two quatrains to set the mood, the long journey, the two sailors, demonstrably making their presence felt, but thereafter falling asleep as sweet as a pair of kittens: the everyday contrasted with the big abstractions of ‘endless’ and ‘restless’.
When the third verse begins ‘Then all at once’, we perhaps expect the denouement of the conventional sonnet. But the verse opens up wonderfully with an extra six lines, which formally enact the reflection in the glass that leads to Vasalis’s ethereal ‘extended present – strangely split’.
The rhyme falls away; the tone and sense of wonder are everything. David Colmer captures this best; Myra Scholzīs translation is a worthy second.
The line: ‘Daar zie ik mezelf. Alleen’ with its double meaning of only/alone has not been translated. Perhaps it’s better left alone.Paul Evans