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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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