The Arch

The Arch

This year in March poet Geart Tigchelaar cycled from Fryslân to the Soutar Festival of Words in Perth, where he had a reading with Scots poet David Eyre about the relation between Frisian and Scots on the basis of Tigchelaar his work. Eyre is currently working on a translation of Tigchelaar his debut collection of poetry leech hert yn nij jek [empty heart in new jacket] (Hispel 2016) to Scots.
Tigchelaar had an anthology of Soutars poems in his pannier. The poet also packed his camera, so he gave himself the assignment to make a photograph each day, which suited a poem or a fragment of a poem and posted them on the social media. The organisation from StAnza Festival in St Andrews (where Tigchelaar has performed in 2018) really liked the initiative and bundled the photos and poems in an e-book.

Tigchelaar has also written a poem, inspired by the life and work of William Soutar, which was translated by Eyre in Scots and published here.

Job Degenaar – July 2019

Job Degenaar was RIXT-poet of the month July 2019. You can read his original Dutch poems of that month here. One of them – Girl on her way to the textile mill – is published here in translation.

Foto: Bangladesh Labour Foundation (BLF)

Girl on her way to the textile mill

Some kids never get to be kids
a fact we seemingly concede

for centuries they’ve been used
abused like animals

The world doesn’t stop
when in the early morning

a small girl walks to the factory
to spin the web of her miserly life

unable to extricate herself from it
in vibrant colours

while we on the sunny side of the earth
blindly turn our backs

to the shady sides
like hers

©  Job Degenaar
Translation: Trevor Scarse

Meisje op weg naar de weeffabriek

Sommige kinderen zijn nooit kind
daarin schijnen we te berusten

al eeuwen worden ze gebruikt
misbruikt als dieren

De wereld houdt niet op
als in de vroege morgen

een klein meisje loopt naar de fabriek
om het web van haar armzalig leven

waaruit ze niet ontsnappen kan
kleurrijk in te weven

terwijl wij aan de zonzij van de aarde
verblind de rug toekeren

naar schaduwplekken
als die van haar

© Job Degenaar

Yva Hokwerda – June 2019

Yva Hokwerda is RIXT-poet of the month June 2019.
You can read her original Frisian poems of that month here. One of them – Transcycling – is published here in translation.


Whoever sees me cycling

– winding around Sneek the meadows
and the low-lying hay fields in-between,
reading the landscape, shouting “bloody cat!”
at the furtive prowling monsters
which cat ladies
love so dearly, petting them in the evening
after which those pesky pookies
go trawling for chicks in the night –

should know: I don’t cry about that.

Whoever hears me cycling
should know: that’s not me.

On that bike
my handlebars are a silent mouse, my saddle
the chair in front of my desk in the office
unable to make any difference, because
nobody dares to sing,
laughter is stifled,
chitchat becomes muted and
words grey like mice-

On that bike
my distress doesn’t hear birds anymore
as ears ring from the silence
of concrete in carefully filled up
pots and pans, too heavy
from the sewn-on ears
to grasp the enclosed contents.

Whoever sees her cycling

behind my sunglasses
– that I’ve already put on at first rays
against flies, of course –

out of a crooked eight,
along an old field filled with new houses
– pretty detached
in rows and a boat
in the canal in front of the house –

should know: I’m not there.

This is my saddle,
but I still have to get home
– you can’t lie down comfortably on only
one herb-filled bank, lounging in the countryside –

and I haven’t found them yet,
the true stewards, the wise women
the people who really know
what has to be done.

Whoever hears me cycling,
may know, it’s not me

because I’m crying
about the playful hares in the land

and I’m rushing in my search
for the Green Dike.

© Yva Hokwerda
Translation: Trevor Scarse




Next Sunday there is a presentation of Unlân, the debut collection of poetry by Gerrit de Vries.  ‘Oyster’, the poem below, is a pre-publication. More information about the presentation, you find here


in the end there is only one question
can you live with yourself or not

like an oyster
naked on a tray
I lie before you
you may
cut the pearls
out of my body
but please
no lemon
no salt

Translation: Trevor M. Scarse



úteinlik is der mar ien fraach
ast mei dysels wol libje kinst

as in oester
neaken op in skaaltsje
lis ik hjir foar dy
meist my
de pearels wol
út de bealch snije
mar asjeblyft
gjin sitroen
gjin sâlt

© Gerrit de Vries
Ûnlân (Hispel, 2019)

kentish plovers in Florence

An unpublished poem by Jan Kooistra, translated by the author himself.

kentish plovers in Florence

the day transcends
the dawn
the city with eternal splendour
sighs as always
in the warm valley
the Porta Romana is wide open
thousands flock
through oppressively dark streets
heading to lighter squares

the body needs cooling
but the mind escapes
walks along the icy sea
sees plovers running proudly
feels her hand
sleeps with her on a single pillow

night is falling
a roaming man
heading to the valley
his visions crystal clear
of the cypresses
merely the contours


dûkelmantsjes yn Firenze

de dei giet
de dage te boppe
de stêd mei syn ivige pracht
suchtet as alear
yn ‘e waarme fallei
de Porta Romana stiet wagewiid iepen
tûzenen kringe har troch
neare donkere strjitten
op nei ljochtere pleinen

it liif moat ferkuolling
mar de geast ûntkomt
rint lâns de iiskâlde see
sjocht parmantich rinnende
fielt har hân
sliept mei har op ien kessen

de jûn falt
in doarmjende man
op wei nei de delling
messkerp syn bylden
fan de sipressen
allinnich de kontoeren

© Jan Kooistra

Performance Frisian poet Nyk de Vries in Lithuania

Photo: Maarten van der Kamp

In October 2019, the Frisian poet Nyk de Vries will perform at the poetry festival ‘Druskininkai Poetic Fall’ in Lithuania. The festival invited De Vries (who lives in Amsterdam) in the context of Versopolis, a European project around promising European poets. At the inivitation of the Poetry Center in Gent, De Vries was added to the project In the beginning of this year. Together with the Dutch poets Maarten van der Graaff, Maria Barnas en Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer. Each Versopolis partner selects a few poets, who subsequently can be invited by other European literary festivals.

It will not be Nyk de Vries his first performance in Lithuania. He was there before in 1992, as a musician with his band The Amp. One of his performances was broadcasted then by the national Lithuanian television station.

Oan the wey tae

In April 2019, Geart Tigchelaar travelled on his bike to the Soutar Festival of Words in Perth, Scotland. William Soutar, to whom the festival is dedicated, was a poet who published in English and Scottish. He was born in 1898 and died in 1943. From his twenties, Soutar was bedridden because of the Bechterew disease. On the occasion of his bike trip and as a tribute to Soutar’s life and poetry, Tigchelaar wrote a poem. His Scottish colleague Daibhidh Eyre, together with whom Tigchelaar had a performance at the festival, translated the poem into Scottish.

oan the wey tae

the farrest ye’ll gae in fellaship
o yirsel
wi the true boun mates
hings to hink oan an fantasy
aw the days oot the door
oan the soonds trouch the apen windae
wi weel-kent reek
aa afore tae be lived the day
A cycle by him anew
oan a bed in a chamber
fir richt reason o thoan greater
nor A fir whom the warld
lies apen
tire-baunds straik flochty
ower unkent pads
as the dingit pen
ower unscreivit
fell o paper

Translation: Daibhidh Eyre

op wei nei

it fierst giet men yn selskip
fan jinsels
mei de trouwe bûnsmaten
oantinkens en fantasije
alle dagen de doar út
op ‘e lûden troch iepen finster
mei bekende rook
fan alear is de belibbing
op ‘e nij fyts ik oan him foarby
op in bêd yn in keamer
krekt om dy reden grutter
as ik foar wa’t de wrâld
iepen leit
bannen streekje flugger
oer ûnbekende paden
as de pinne omdoch
oer ûnbeskreaun
fel papier

 © Geart Tigchelaar


Simon Oosting – May 2019

Simon Oosting was RIXT-poet of the month May 2019.
You can read his original Frisian poems of that month here.
One of them – concerning canaries – is published here in translation.

Suckers and stooges

He’s aware of the pattern this leader of the people
as he says what civilisation restrains us from saying
with allusions opening up rusty doors to deep crevasses.
He knows that his people meekly speak of yeah yeah yeah
and thinks he says what they like to hear
and that the others will be surprised and furious and outraged
and will deliberate everywhere and for hours on end.

So, he can say that he hasn’t got the freedom to say
that people can’t hear nor read
that they’re words without context
that he hadn’t known.

Yeah yeah yeah people will nod accordingly.

And the others like suckers and stooges
scattered the seed of the weeds over the land.
Better to grow some strong crops
so that weeds don’t have room to grow
and let that leader sink back into the shadows.

© Simon Oosting
Translation: Trevor Scarse

Sûgen en oksen

Hy wit fan it patroan dizze lieder fan it folk
as er seit wat beskaving ús hjit net te sizzen
mei allúzjes dy’t rustke doarren nei djippe spelonken iepenje.
Dan wit er dat syn folk deemoedich praat fan ja ja ja
en tinkt dat er seit wat se hearre wolle
en dat de oaren ferbjustere en dûm en lilk
wêze sille en oeral en oerenlang petearje.

Dat er dan sizze kin dat er gjin frijheid hat om te sizzen
dat men net harkje en lêze kin
dat it wurden binne sûnder ramt
dat er der net fan witten hat.

Ja ja ja sil men dan wer knikke.

En de oaren as sûgen en oksen
brochten it sied fan it túch oer it lân.
Better bouwe se in sterk gewaaks
dat túch gjin romte jout
en swije se dy lieder yn ‘e lijte.

© Simon Oosting