Nylân there I stood, for the first time towering high above everything I could even see far beyond the tracks the scorching sun beneath the tiles, the restless water the howling others the first steps easy-peasy halfway bit slower higher at the top the wet concrete and the jitters the eroding blue of the iron the rough plank underneath my feet doubt setting in behind me the bellowers “come on, hurry up…!” careful steps forward then hesitation and standstill, the rolling depths no way back into the void, arms flailing the crash and the bubbles then the howling others once more © Henk Nijp Translation: Trevor Scarse
Preston Losack was RIXT Poet of the Month June 2022. You can read his original Frisian poems of that month here. The translation of one of them – ‘King of Fools’ – is published here in translation.
King of Fools “Was there ever, once upon a time When things were mitrily in feign, A moment all were trying to find Some birds a-bluing in the train? Figgies felt so full of fitness Horny buggers thricemore high Gruff ol’ dingy doggo minace Huffing puffing trashing fly!” “What words get hewn when grouped in fours From tangents found but hours before Make some here and get some there Low in rank as scrivonaire Let’s dump all standards overboard And just write “shitty dentist gourd!” No need for proper, no need for prim: We make nonsense interim!” “Word for word we build up worth. Humbug held his heft in first, Frithay with but a Wednesday look, Hourly crample with your Sunday schnook! Listen crovishly! Cry on fowl! Read a helper in a trailer park And laugh when I get discomvowel’d! Stand upon my diction-ark! And knock on doors from thyme to time Whimsing of nauseating butterrhyme!” “No worries, man, if you don’t get it– Don’t be confused, don’t get frustrated, Can’t you hear how it sounds, my sons?” Thus speaks the King upon his throne of puns! © Preston Losack Translation: Trevor Scarse and Preston Losack
Cornelis van der Wal was RIXT-poet of the month April 2022. You can read his original Frisian poems of that month here. The translation of one of them – ‘White houses’ – is published here in translation.
White houses White houses, in the woods cruel animals lurk. Bones lie in a circle around the city moat. The sun knows what the bones should think. Planes throw dead children like bombs on the white city. © Cornelis van der Wal Translation: Trevor Scarse
Cain’s wrath a fratricide takes place in a sunny landscape where yellow flowers will grow down the line for now, the flight of innocence still holds sway the fear for the cruelty of a bitter despot now that the mad Eastern wind wreaks havoc nature holds its breath for when calm will return and Abel’s death is avenged by flowers a dull green helmet will swiftly rust and become a nest to a pair of lustrous doves © Ina Schroders-Zeeders Translation: Trevor Scarse
Bennie Huisman was the RIXT poet of the month February 2022. You can read his original Frisian poems of that month here. The translation of one of them – ‘the song of asking’ – is published here.
the song of asking when will you be home? An everyday question asked so easily yet behind what’s obvious lie just too many assumptions to mention what does ‘home’ even mean to us is it a house, a yard, a town, a county? another, a love, a mother’s hand? is it a language, belief or just a story? for king and country, earth’s greatest? our homeland? they say ‘home is where the heart is...’ the place you drive to for Christmas but what if it’s a wish to live, somewhere that is safe and warless? so many people have left their home fleeing from poverty and violence we have room, but just to let you know you’re welcome ‘til you become a nuisance for our own wealth we have looted and burned our rubbish sent to wherever we could and our human rights have to be earned something they likely haven’t understood we ourselves are often questioned but we doubt another’s habits more how much hope have we thus dampened when someone knocked on our closed door when someone knocked – on my own door where is my home? after withdrawing from what bore that name so naturally since then, I’m searching, sometimes not knowing if a border, a door is opened for me hoping my soul will see – and open up to thee © Bennie Huisman Translation: Trevor Scarse
Arjan Hut was the RIXT poet of the month January 2022. You can read his original Frisian poems of that month here. The translation of one of them – ‘Pop-up store’ – is published here.
Pop-up store It looks as if she’s sitting there alone, a young woman on the floor of the pop-up store with her back to the window drawing, deep in a field of paper she traces black lines across black lines Charcoal Forest. Twilight Woods. Wolf appears Daylight reflects off of the glass – what percentage of the light bounds back to the sun immediately? Is it her back turned to me, her posture, delicate and fragile like vinyl, or her isolation that grabs my attention? Bend over paper. When I get closer to the glass, balancing on the edge of a word, I’m caught, from behind the counter, by another set of eyes – they’re sizing me up That’s when I move on. Around us the city creaks, and lonely I’ve never been The city creaks and skids through a frozen dream Old is the dusk and full of poetry I’m looking for a wolf and find a rifle. © Arjan Hut Translation: Trevor Scarse