For Herman de Coninck
In men it's cold and frequently December.
In women it is mostly May.
They want to shimmer all their lives,
disguise themselves from head to toe,
so they don't prematurely fade away.
Everlastingly they strive to last.
In men it's cold and then stops dead.
My God, how keen they are on ending things.
Men rattle to a climax fast,
are fully armed in their own selves:
their time on earth in growing stiff is passed.
Women's gender is a suppler kind,
in which things blossom, things unbosom,
where they keep a store of tenderness,
homesickness for a lake in Switzerland.
They're fond of starting and conserving.
In men there's only war and nothing else.
In women birth continues until death.
They bat their eyelids for a while,
they sparkle, briefly toss and turn
and there you have a brave new generation.
One man's enough for its extermination.
In men it's cold and frequently December,
in women it is always May.
Translation: Paul Vincent