Hendrik Marsman A Crooked Flower in Cosmos’ Flailing Mouth

The Book

This book is created as a commemoration to Hendrik Marsman, for all the works that he left behind and the inspiration that he has given us. Because most of his works were never translated, most people have never had the chance to read his work; we want to change that.

That is why we created just that, a small booklet to start, 14 poems, carefully translated to leave the original meaning and flow intact, while still being enjoyable and readable by the broader public.

This is not the end; only a beginning of what we see as a passion that has given us a lot and what we feel deserves to be given back.

About Hendrik Marsman

Hendrik Marsman (Zeist, 30 September 1899 – Gulf of Biscay, 21 June 1940) was a Dutch poet and writer. He died while escaping to Great Britain, when the ship he was sailing on, the S.S. Berenice, either suffered a fatal engine-room explosion, or was torpedoed by a German submarine which mistook Berenice for another vessel.

In poems including "De Overtocht" (The Crossing) some see signs of Hendrik Marsman predicting his own moment of dying and his fear "dat de dood het einde niet is" ('that death is not the end').

The crossing

The lone black boat
fares in the deep of night
through a darkness, wild and great
towards death, towards death.

I lie deep in the moaning hold
cold and afraid and alone
and cry for the bright land
that behind the horizon disappeared
and cry for the dark land
that weakly on the horizon appeared.
one who is struck by love
and by blood is overpowered
has not experienced the darkest,
life has not passed away for good;
for the ultimate defeat
the heart suffers in the struggle with death.

oh! the journey to the eternal land
through a darkness, somber vastness
with the fear, never relenting
that death is not the end.

(original 'Overtocht' by Hendrik Marsman in 1926)

Download the book

Download: EPUB (7.5 MB) Download: PDF (5.4 MB) Download the track Wacht / Lex Barbarorum composed and recorded by Terzij de Horde Download track (incl. PDF)

The first print has completely sold out, as for now there are no plans of reprinting the book. Interested parties can always get in contact with us.

Reviews and mentions

De Optimist Anna van Strien

Wat moeten we nu nog met Marsman, vind je? Poëzie is al moeilijk voor veel mensen, en die van de oude dichters helemaal. Waarom zouden we er nu nog aan beginnen?


NRC Next Peter van der Ploeg

Terzij de Horde haalden hun bandnaam uit een van zijn gedichten, en nu hebben ze een heel boek aan hem gewijd: A Crooked Flower in Cosmos’ Flailing Mouth, met gedichten van Marsman voor het eerst vertaald naar het Engels.

Mooi huwelijk metal en poezie (Dutch)


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