September 2021

Janneke Spoelstra was the Poet of the Month in September 2021. A translation of one of her poems for that month – ‘Change of pace’ – is published below. You can read the original Frisian poem – ‘It ferrin’ – here.

Change of pace

I’m walking with my mum,
she matches my stride.

…

My mum is walking with me,
I match her stride.


© Janneke Spoelstra
Translation: Trevor Scarse

August 2021

Ina Schroders-Zeeders was the RIXT poet of the month August 2021. You can read her original Frisian poems of that month here. The translation of one of them – ‘Brass hats’ – is published here.

Poem of the Month August 2021
Photo: Geart Tigchelaar
Autumn 2021


A rain falls, summer will soon end
Whoever’s fearful can feel the darkness
That will prevail in those months draw near.
The clammy news which frames the time
Spills from our screens into our lives.

We go to bed with blinkers on.
The compassion we’re so proud of during the day
Is engulfed by a black dreamless sleep.

Verbally exhausted, ignorant of the Taliban,
Covid and climate, until the rain
Betrays something of reality.
Summer will soon end but it was all for nothing.


© Ina Schroders-Zeeders
Translation: Trevor Scarse

June 2021

Rein de Lange was the RIXT poet of the  month June 2021. You can read his original Frisian poems of that month here. The translation of one of them – ‘Doppler effect’ – is published here.

Photo: Edwin de Groot
Doppler effect

she can barely hear this
voices so sluggish
devices behind her ears

thin hair forms net curtains
a still-life with geraniums
nothing stays the same

just listen: high tones
are already coming, the low
take all the old sounds away


© Rein de Lange
Translation: Trevor Scarse

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