May 2021

Edwin de Groot was the RIXT poet of the  month May 2021. You can read his original Frisian poems of that month here. The translation of one of them – ‘Tariff and exchange rate’ – is published here.

Photo: Edwin de Groot
 
 Tariff and exchange rate
  
 i.
 cholera, messenger of misery
 struck one down when so fated
 even a child that bit the dust
 there’s always some sin to be found
  
 a new foundation can simply break
 as it sets and now we’re due for the collection 
  
 ii.
 each covid month just as cruel
 today’s shepherd on slippery shoes
 says it’s safer than eating hot dogs
 a jab is child’s play, wards off ruin
  
 sprightly and elated once more on a school trip
 bringing tasty sandwiches with young cheese and confession



© Edwin de Groot
Translation: Trevor Scarse

April 2021

Sigrid Kingma was the RIXT poet of the month February 2021. You can read her original Frisian poems of that month here. The translation of one of them – ‘Brass hats’ – is published here.

Photo: Geart Tigchelaar
 Brass hats
  
 He won’t hang up
 streamers for himself
 celebrates survivals
 with drawn blinds
 and closed doors
 sensitised friends
 saved pocket money at the bank
 for a new bicycle
  
 Spoiled brat that
 fights fumigation
 looks for soft words
 to lie with
 or confesses smirking
 that he forgot
 who buttered his bread
 only yesterday
  
 Still, crystal clear
 is the memory
 that it was treacle that
 spilled on the paperwork
 the sticky fingers 
 licked clean in the echo
 of the whistle blow


© Sigrid Kingma
Translation: Trevor Scarse

March 2021

Tsjisse Hettema was the RIXT poet of the  month February 2021. You can read his original Frisian poems of that month here. The translation of one of them – ‘the light and the wind’ – is published here.

Photo: Geart Tigchelaar
 the light and the wind
 dance
 around the house at the edge of the cliff
 something
 shifts from black to grey in me
  
 I too would like to
 dance there to keep me
 like a tearaway maybe
 in check
  
 the exuberance of colour
 the space of the house
 the stairs that lead up from my head
  
 the cliff holds everything surprisingly tight
 together
 it leashed me against its side
 which means
 I’m looking for the narrow path
 that slowly upwards pulls my head down


© Tsjisse Hettema
Translation: Trevor Scarse

February 2021

Aggie van der Meer was the RIXT poet of the  month February 2021. You can read her original Frisian poems of that month here. The translation of one of them – ‘The geat Xi Jinping’ – is published here.

Source: Pixabay

The Great Xi Jinping

they greet
they bow
then demand to speak first

he, Xi, perplexed
his power, awarded to him
his strong hand and purpose
will not be taken away by no one
was there any other way open
to them, to him
was there another choice?

he won’t bow down
lest he becomes afraid
his wrath will guard him

now that he knows of their mistake
he’ll save them

the first word,
he will say
remains my due
as is the last

in their silent defence
already threatening
they know that his fear
will force him to imprint
his law, his will and thoughts
on their lips
in their heads

no day when they can forget
no night it won’t hound them
no way out to be found
not for them, nor for him
the last word, he says, has been said

let the world know.

© Aggie van der Meer
Trans. Trevor M. Scarse

 

January 2021

Syds Wiersma was the RIXT poet of the  month January 2021. You can read his original Frisian poems of that month here. The translation of one of them – ‘Sense of Place’ – is published here below.

Photo: Geart Tigchelaar

Sense of Place
Nije Biltpôlen/Noarderleech

No morning person I slip on rough
frozen sludge. Frosted polder dikes.
A white death of bulrush washed ashore.
Rushes sharp brown like wrecking tools.

I follow the gully, got no other choice, even
as a kid I walked on banks of winding ditches,
stand-ins when short of alternative channels.
A strip of island over there, here lies extramural

land seized beneath a sky that plays its
trump card of innocence slick blue, lets 
the hours climb glassily, thaw into a marsh
of finisterre. Timidly the stream crawls on.

Back in Nijesyl I stumble over humps and bumps,
snap up chirping sparrows, presumably to release
them like flatfish from coastal works later on.
Now no-nonsense my stride across the concrete.

The fields are already leaking water from pipes
on the Aldrij. The sun belly sleighing across
a thin sheet of ice. Moorhens pass over quickly:
hungry for forgotten blessed daily bread.

© Syds Wiersma
Trans. Trevor M. Scarse

December 2020

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.

ZonderTitel © Gerben de Vries

 

Introvert days of Christmas (by the old radio)

Turn your keyboard upside down, come on, strangle that mouse
Push all the tables against the walls, throw your chairs out of the house.
Let loose all the backbiters, drive every troll back into the thickets,
Dance with yourself at unforgiven hours, stretch your weak calves the thickest.

Drive the Sugar Berg up the wall, hear his angry bellow
Write his logarithmic outcome one by one to zero
Hang your prettiest festoons across that meaningless LCD relic
Free your inner child while belting out and with a firm dropkick.

Jump to the right, to the left, up and down and yell
Your home office is no longer your prison cell!
In the morning, in the evening, on bulletproof coffee, all that talk
You somehow thought your mind spoke out rightly. Not to be a broken clock.

Let the net dry, spin your wool with yarn and glow towards fiction
Whisper the tone seeking escape; wonder, from strange graphic expression
Raise your hands towards the farthest suns at night, gather your own from unframed light
Aquiver streams past you what may strike, your sensation is what Earth supplied.

© Yva Hokwerda
Trans. Trevor M. Scarse

November 2020

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.

Foto: Jan Kleefstra

On windless days larks don’t bring me to tears

not even with the sad confession that the sun
now only rises in shuttered eyes

how long will wings carry the body
through finely meshed rain like before

dragging heavy at times shrill tones across the world

as a boy I sought beneath the same heavens
starved for a meadow bird

casting farther than ever
a kind-hearted light
out ahead of the rain

© Jan Kleefstra
Translation: Trevor M. Scarse