Volume 48, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1876-9071
  • E-ISSN: 2214-5729


The poem ‘Een psalm voor het smelten’ which Leo Vroman (° 1915) wrote as a reaction to the attack on the New York Twin Towers, illustrates his particular way of writing poetry, his playful and unpretentious use of the language, the surprising combination of a scientifical perspective and human emotion, and a lively tone, offering the reader comfort for his anxieties and fear of death. ‘Een psalm voor het smelten’ was published in the volume Tweede verschiet (2003). It is one of a series of psalms that Vroman wrote in this period and in which he addresses a ‘System’, his particular designation of an ordering principle in life. Vroman’s poem strikes us – and this all the more when compared with other poems on 9/11 – by its unusual perspective, its deliberate refraining from each form of drama, its concentration on the transformation of materials as if describing a physical process and its almost shockingly peaceful depiction of the drama, ending up in a simple statement of complete helplessness. In this way Vroman’s poem avoids the direct melodrama that characterizes many verses on 9/11.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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