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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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