October 2020

Anne Heegstra was the RIXT poet of the  month October 2020. You can read her original Frisian poems of that month here. The translation of one of them – ‘Headamskampen’ – is published here.

Photo: Anne Heegstra
Headamskampen 

in the prickly cold
practically on thin ice
he skated purposely

assured, as he knew
of canal and ditch
crack and furrow

he gave his hankering
ample room to breathe 
yet glided restrainedly

as his skates led him
past the Eleven Lakes
and as many cities

reeds and seams rustled
mirrored in cadence
of blades sliding across the ice

until the dusk forsook
the hours of the day
and embraced the evening

behind closed gate
the broken daylight leaves
the polder in dreams

© Anne Heegstra
Translation: Trevor M. Scarse

September 2020

Peter Vermaat was the RIXT poet of the  month September 2020. You can read his original Dutch poem of that month – ‘Ode to the storyteller’ – here. The translation is published below.

Photo: Geart Tigchelaar

 

Ode to the storyteller

                            for mindert wijnstra

he makes fluid what had been discarded
congealed in the bin of time for years
he can resurrect the ladies of the sea
knows where the devil dances in the dark

put on top of a horse by an old pack rat
he leads you into the forest of imagination
where the white lady restyles herself
light he sees, yet it chafes with the bodach

born and raised in a village the heath 
caused an uproar with foresters aiming rifle
that’s the birthplace of a great storyteller

as a teacher he knew how to form everyone
let the children dream beyond fish and cattle
now the sky brings setbacks and sorrows

© Peter Vermaat
Translation: Trevor M. Scarse

August 2020

Cornelis van der Wal was the RIXT poet of the  month August 2020. You can read his original Frisian poems of that month  here. The translation of one of them – ‘The ghost and the tree – is published below.

Photo: Geart Tigchelaar
The ghost and the tree

An old house, a tree stands beside.
Once he lived there in his dreams.
Now, however, the north wind blows

and he scrapes by in thin clothes.
Maybe he is dead, he knows nothing.
Will the house even exist without him?

Blue hangs the day above the clouds,
my green hair freezes.
A hovering kestrel wavers

between my eyebrows.
I am the tree, fruits and birds
tumble from my branches.

The roots creep slowly underneath the house,
cracks snake their way through the old walls.
The ghost would like to go back to his father.


© Cornelis van der Wal
Translation: Trevor M. Scarse

July 2020

Photo: Geart Tigchelaar

Kate Schlingemann was the RIXT poet of the  month July 2020. You can read her original Dutch poems of that month  here. The translation of one of them – ‘the reasons’ – is published below.

The reasons

Maybe here
the dikes are higher
the lakes are deeper
the roads are longer
the fields more open
the breathing space like the sky
is cleaner, larger

so people will keep their distance
instinctively

- which can come in handy
when after the first wave
a second one rolls in
no really-

maybe we could welcome
new differentialities
in compliance with
an open-arms width of 1,5 metres 
more often

© Kate Schlingemann
Translation: Trevor M. Scarse

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