On the occasion of the publication of the 50th book by Demer Press (established in Diepenbeek in Flanders near the river Demer), this firm launched a bilingual poetry collection, called ‘One plus one’, in June 2011.

Albert Hagenaars was invited to participate with two poems. He chose ‘Ascension’ and ‘Reunion’. Both texts were translated by John Irons and appeared before: ‘Ascension´ in the book ‘Black sun’ (dedicated to artist Tony Mafia) and ‘Reunion’ in the anthologies ‘Voices from everywhere’ and ‘Poppies and Chamber Music’.

The other participants, who also published work with Demer Press before, are: Chahra Beloufa (Algeria), Floris Brown (South-Africa), Miller Caldwell (Scotland), Gary Clark (England), Thierry Deleu (Flanders), Paul Gellings (The Netherlands), Joris Iven (Flanders), Moshé Liba (Israel), Roger Nupie (Flanders), Willem M. Roggeman (Flanders), Hannie Rouweler (The Netherlands), Stella Evelyne Tesha (Italy/Tanzania) and Marion de Vos (The Netherlands).



I had expected much, humiliation,
pain and deliverance, but not the question
if this sacrifice would be sufficient.

Women seized me as parents
at the homecoming of a prodigal son
but I was not coming, I was going

through their hands, on past their helpless
being, extending shoulder blades
and undergoing the vigour of death.

I rose higher than the city where I ought to
have had a fall, higher than the hill
of suffering, the frenziedly dancing crowd.

I saw the parting of the waters, slaughterings
and streams of refugees in this promised land.
I saw the curving of the horizon

and kept rising, into the plurality of the father,
into the deepening, slanting light
of him who sows more doubt than whoever.



After seven years of denial, after seven
times seven blows to the midriff,
the breaking of resistance,

you suddenly appear once more in the palm garden.

After so many words on bloodless paper
your smile is like that of the reliefs
in lava rock everywhere around us, full lips

that are to close round more than my language.

After the kept silence, the cutting, the sheaving,
the flailing of the rice from its stalks,
now the blessing of the elders, the gift,

a vow unknown to those without belief.