Cees Nooteboom, who lives in Amsterdam, is the author of numerous books of poetry and of the novels Rituals and All Soul’s Day, available in English. His poem in this issue will be included in Landscape with Powers: Poetry from the Netherlands, published in February 2004 by Princeton University Press. (November 2003)

Basho

We know poetic poetry the common dangers of moonstruckness, bel canto. Embalsamed air, that is all, unless you turn it into pebbles that flash and hurt. You, old master, polish the pebbles that you fling to bring down a thrush. Out of the world you …