Yva Hokwerda was the RIXT poet of the month December 2020. You can read her original Frisian poems of that month here. The translation of one of them – ‘Introvert days of Christmas (by the old radio)’ – is published here below.
Jan Kleefstra was the RIXT poet of the month November 2020. You can read his original Frisian poems of that month here. The translation of one of them – ‘On windless days larks don’t bring me to tears’ – is published here below.
From the 1st of August to the 7th, the Frisian Poets Pack RIXT convened at the Writer’s Ark of Rink van der Velde near the village of De Feanhoop. Every day a duo came here to work on a new verse for a collective poem.
The poet of the month, Cornelis van der Wal, had the honour of writing the first verse, and started the poem with the line ‘The lake doesn’t take the storm’ from the novel De nacht fan Belse madam by Rink van der Velde. This Line of Rink thus set the tone and direction for the poem and the week itself.
The regional broadcaster Omrop Fryslân called in every day to hear that day’s new verse. Thus, listeners of the afternoon radio programs ‘De middei fan Fryslân’, ‘Sneon yn Fryslân’ and ‘Snein yn Fryslân’ were able to follow the evolution of the poem. The week was capped off with a performance of the complete poem in the former haunt of Rink van der Velde – Café Marktzicht in Drachten – on the 8th of August.
The lake doesn’t take the storm
and you won’t answer me back.
Above the both of us drift
clouds that want to cry.
Underneath us the peat fire,
your eyes wander off.
I’m asking the reeds for guidance.
Thunder rumbles in the distance.
Perhaps I should take my leave of you.
Let the lake for what it is and might
a clean request hide in valleys far away
where thunder grumbles in another tongue
from the one I let myself be scared by.
Do I want to exorcise the fire
while it’s anchored within my being,
or does the heat crackle the stump in twain?
Do you still love me I asked you
your silence is the answer that unsettles my soul
the lightning forces a break line
and splits the lake clinically into chaos.
Sky fans out every which way.
I no longer want to run in circles
on still water like a pond skater
waiting for a wave from you
I leave everything behind. Cleansed
it’s clear to me. The lake doesn’t take the
storm but you should take me as I am.
If only you’d taken me. You termagant,
I push off our water soldiers. A damselfly
stirs the empyrean skin across the plunge.
The sound of the quant laughs. I’ve seen us.
I saw your eyes no longer asking,
I saw the lakes that won’t take.
Once more I write light from stillness,
know that I’ll drift with black swans.
Watch the video for the poem ‘The Storm’ and an insight of the week at the Ark.
Translation by Trevor Scarse
Video made by Geart Tigchelaar