June 2020

Geart Tigchelaar was the RIXT poet of the  month June 2020. You can read his original Frisian poems of that month here. The translation of one of them – ‘the block r’ – is published below, including a YouTube video of the poem.

the block r

tlaintlaintlain
twaintwaintwain
traintraintrain

I sought long and hard
under couch and cupboard

just when I had enough
just to find that block r

now I’m able to make words 
and sense of everything

tlaintlaintlain
twaintwaintwain
traintraintrain

as dad takes his nightly seat
and watches how some elite
expand upon beached planes,
national, business waylaid
and hefty financial aid

you can hear it immediately
they’ve lost the block r

just like dad who shouts coffee!
quiet! I’m ruminating on a plan

they can have the block r
I’ve got loads to spare

tlaintlaintlain
twaintwaintwain
traintraintrain

they’re building international
railways with space and nature
that’s how they’re dismantling
the ghoul of air pollution

if by chance the block r would disappear
under bookcase, couch or in vacuum cleaner

there’ll still be enough blocks 
to play with sweetly

animal
woods
plant
bloom

possibility


© Geart Tigchelaar
Translation: Trevor M. Scarse

 

Voice: David Scarse

May 2020

Jan Kooistra was the RIXT poet of the  month May 2020. You can read his original Frisian poems of that month here. The translation of one of them – ‘the lay of the land’ – is published below.

Photo: Geart Tigchelaar

the lay of the land

that a girl sits in front of a shot window
softly crying in a room
that used to be a home
that a woman looks at that girl
through the holes in the wall
and feels her child’s hunger pains
that is the lay of the land

that a primal forest is transformed
into a wasteland in a day or ten
and fishes drown in plastics and pesticides
that a petty thief is thrown into jail
while a big-time crook lives in pomp and
circumstance and lays down the law
that is the lay of the land

that a virus prowls the streets
like a hungry wolf, laps up millions
and leaves us sheepishly paralysed
that air and sky become fresh and bright again
animals dare to roam grounds long seceded
leaving us dumbstruck and unenlightened
that is the lay of the land

that we’ll be flying again to luxurious
places for a few crappy cents across

dying oceans and crowded slums
that a wistful writer stares out of
his window at the faraway hills
turns around, forges that one sentence
that is the lay of the land

© Jan Kooistra
Translation: Trevor M. Scarse

April 2020

Tsjisse Hettema was the RIXT poet of the  month April 2020. You can read his original Frisian poems of that month here. The translation of one of them – ‘Spring Poem’ – is published below.

Photo: Geart Tigchelaar

Spring poem

today a butterfly
touched down
on my mood
he sprung open the locks
of my wintry repose

and when the first daylight
snuck inside
and I walked
outside amazed

my pounding heart
thumbed its nose
at my paper
scribblings
as light as a butterfly

that put me off
roundly
my misshapen belly
and my mop of hair so grey
so grey

© Tsjisse Hettema
Translation: Trevor M. Scarse


March 2020

Carla van der Zwaag was the RIXT poet of the  month March 2020. You can read her original Frisian poems of that month here. The translation of one of them – ‘Lonely’ – is published below.

Photo: Omrop Fryslân

 

Lonely

I swim in circles
Between asphyxiating algae
And stone houses

My heart beats out of sorts
Turning green from the moss

In misted up window glass
People shuffle through my view
I get my food and drink on time
Follow them with a silken look

Drenched with the faith;
Everything will be alright
I wait for the cat’s paw
To which I finally can give
My life and share it with

© Carla van der Zwaag
Translation: Trevor M. Scarse

 

February 2020

Yttje Cnossen was the RIXT poet of the  month February 2020. You can read her original Frisian poems of that month here. The translation of one of them – ‘Corona’ – is published below.

Photo: Geart Tigchelaar

 

Corona

from the land of the rising dragon
comes sneakily like a thief in the night
the invisible in the name of the crown
lays its hand on many a doorknob

like a monster with a thousand heads
it shoots its fiery arrows across the land
picks up like the wind across the sea
throws its drowning victims on the beach

flees with the rebels through the cities
sends wild warriors across the lands
drops its cluster bombs from a virus
in pets and people in fathers and mothers

whomever gives way he apprehends
paints their grey cheeks red
makes the blood in their veins boil
remains a mystery keeps him to himself

via Spain and Germany it snatches a Belgian
a man shivers a woman goes down
young people are a leaf for its mouth
everybody is rowing while tethered to the ground

where is the knight to slay this monster
with a serum as their double-bladed sword
that will release the people of their fear and fever
that will bite the fire breathing dragon in its tail

© Yttje Cnossen
Translation: Trevor M. Scarse

 

Cornelis van der Wal in Hvedekorn

A few months ago we let you know that six poems by RIXT-poet Cornelis van der Wal would be translated into Danish and published in the renowned Danish literary magazine Hvedekorn. The issue with the translations has been released now. You can find one of the translations here below.

The translations are from Geart Tigchelaar and Carsten René Nielsen.

Listen to the original poem ‘Wêr haw ik west’, read by the poet.