boy, you will never read this, I’m afraid, never will you know that my thoughts are with you, that I won’t ever forget you you represent so many others, though you weren’t allowed the time to write a diary on a video I saw how you were grabbed by an adult male, in your shorts, with your skinny legs, how old – six, seven? did they burn your parents alive, shoot your grandparents, rape your sister and chop off your little brother’s head? as he walked your attacker held you tightly with his arm under your armpit, an arm thicker than your legs whose arm was it? it belongs to every antisemite in the world! I console myself with the thought that not much is lost in a life where something can occur like what has happened to you © Sipke de Schiffart translation: Trevor Scarse
on the edge once more we dance the slowfox of silent grief, words that we’ve never said out loud mirror the space between our steps, old patterns like grains in a floor, by now we’ve learned the ins and outs, know the score by heart days slip through the mesh of time vanish in the sinkhole of memories, all that remains just the relics of a life on the edge of existence - maybe we pushed ourselves too hard, were we marooned by fate do we find comfort in ourselves, or the other, along the straight and narrow or via the roundabout of lies, is it purely cowardice or just impotence, for a watchdog will only taste air and never its prey living as he does between chain and basket, his howls greeting the moon every night when eventually the lights are turned on and the string and rhythm sections stop, we shiver in the early-morning mist, our arms drop, steps become strides, I no longer lead; you’re twirling not as graciously in the distance a cockerel crows three times © Henk Nijp translation: Trevor Scarse
creation everything was already encapsulated within the stone the child yet an embryo frozen in its mother’s womb the little girl still fossil from a lost age the fragile woman a lady delicate yet forceful they were waiting you saw and perceived felt and formed hewed away hardness smoothed out rough edges weight became lighter ballast became dust you blew it away a load fell from your shoulders it was done lady, girl germ of a child sparkle in the light © Ypie Bakker translation: Trevor Scarse
carried us what would I do without you, you say who are we without you © Janneke Spoelstra translation: Trevor Scarse
Self-interview Buried underneath deep layers of endless self-interview about the why, what and how. I dig, have dug, delved, bury, burrow, have buried and so on. Searching for the sound of the spade on stone Until the point came, or better a subtle transition, The moment when the riddle began to lead its own life. I did not strike a stone. No reflection upon reflection is where a new world had begun Just like water or clouds that are seen and unseen at the same time. You can pass through. So that you wonder whether they are truly there. Reflections of a fictitious world in your head. On its head. There is no end Of course, it will end © Ilse Vos translation: Trevor Scarse
Henk Dillerop, a new addition to the RIXT collective, was the RIXT poet of the month in April. You can read his original Frisian poems from that month here. The translation of one of them – ‘form’ – is published here.
form does emptiness have form she asks lying on the beach he thinks gets up walks to the sea and punches holes in the waves do feelings have form as well she asks he thinks and with his hands squeezes air in between the waves does colour have form too he draws her name in curly letters in the foam and life he gathers up seashells his hands full and love does love have a form he keeps still looks at her minutes ticking by doesn’t move a muscle she perceives © Henk Dillerop translation: Trevor Scarse