Jan Slauerhoff: Dame Seule (From Dutch)

There are some topics which are probably universal as themes for poetry, such as unrequited love, the glory of a great achievement, and the lamentation of dead loved ones and bygone good times. Then there are other themes, such as a woman's inclination to masturbate when aroused, which poets have not, as a rule, regarded as dulce et decorum for the pow'rs of poesy.
Such topics are not merely frightfully afield of the waymarks of virumque cano, Ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, Μοῦσα and, of course, exegi mentulam aere perennius. They strike tender nerves for some, as can be readily devined from the enormous taboos have been erected to justify men's fears that their wives might Visit The Netherhands and not want to return to the Penile Colony to which a world of insecure dicks would consign them.
Men's anxiety about the Undiscovered Cuntry whose borne they obsess over means that its exploration in verse has often been the purview of women, as when Gwerful Mechain responded to Dafydd Ap Gwilym's ode to his own dick, with an even better poem in praise of the cunt. Likewise the poets who do broach the subject of women giving themselves the benefit of Manual Labor have usually been women.
So it was with some surprise that I came upon this poem, by a man, in which a demure woman's urge to play Hey Diddle Diddle the Twat Just A Little is not treated as reprehensible or disturbing at all.

Dame Seule
By Jan Slauerhoff
Translated by A.Z. Foreman

Deep in willow shade such loneliness 
She feels, she give her own shoulder a caress.
Her small hand, ravished by the curve that flows
In naked beauty over the summer dress,
Sinks down, and wanders...she sits up, blushing, and goes
Back to her modest task of hemming clothes.

The Original:

Dame Seule

Zij voelt zich onder 't donker van de boomen
Zoo eenzaam, dat zij zelf haar schouder liefkoost.
Haar handje, met de ronding ingenomen,
Die over 't zomerkleed is bloot gekomen,
Daalt af, dwaalt af; zij richt zich op en bloost,
Gaat dan weer voort een kleedingstuk te zoomen.

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