Syds Wiersma – May 2018

Syds Wiersma was RIXT-poet of the month May 2018
You can read his original Frisian poems of that month here.
One of them is published here in translation.

In the Netherlands the 4th of May is commemoration day of the victims of the Second World War and Dutch victims of wartime violence. The 5th of May is  liberation day.

May 4-5, 2018

Froubuorren engulfed by the sun’s fall
as I take the Alde Leie exit.
The 4th of May, another visit
of the cry, I saw them against the wall

and didn’t know who I was, the scared man
before the firing squad or that coward
who as soon as his boss gives the razzia word
starts with the formulation of a plan.

Injustice boils the blood, but would I persist
with hangmen hunting me tirelessly?
Real heroes are a rare breed, you see
never know who’ll shy away and who’ll resist.

On ‘t Bilt the sun now lies under the lea.
Old dikes crisscross the open country.

© Syds Wiersma
Translation: Trevor Scarse


4-5 maaie, 2018

De sinne sakket happich oer Froubuorren
wylst ik de ôfslach Alde Leie nim.
De jûn fan fjouwer maaie, wer dy stim
dy’t seit, ik ha se stean sjoen tsjin de muorren

en wist net wa’t ik wie, de bange fint
foar ‘t fjoerpeloton of dy oare skiter
dy’t as syn baas blaft as de soademiter
mei ‘t plennen fan in razzia begjint.

Fan ûnrjocht siedt it bloed, mar wat soe ‘k dwaan
as boalsfeinten my op ‘e bealch sitte?
Echte helden binne seldsum moatst witte
witst noait wa’t swije sille en wa’t slaan.

De sinne leit bedobbe op it Bilt.
Ald diken fykje troch it frije fjild.

© Syds Wiersma
Lân sûnder ljurk (Hispel, 2019)

Geart Tigchelaar – March 2018

Geart Tigchelaar was RIXT-poet of the month March 2018. You can read his original Frisian poems of that month here. One of them – The word that lives on the wind– is published here in translation.

The word that lives on the wind

stones sprung forth from the hard soil
do not merely accuse our old sins

but the look glancing across the clear horizon
as human after human has sought refuge

in boasting about their own hearth for centuries
nothing lasts and all that left brought less

connection through the lies in stained glass
clung unto the old stories and stubborn unbelief

that need neither heavy roof nor deep foundation
the sentence that’s blown away like the dust from your skin

one day we too my love will go into that same soil
words that unveiled our sincerity always

colour into new verses on misted windows
the soul of each letter that grows in freedom

like arching reeds stands as long as the world
disappears in thirsty white horses near the cliffs

© Geart Tigchelaar
Translation: Trevor M. Scarse

Aggie van der Meer – February 2018

Aggie van der Meer was RIXT-poet of the month February 2018. You can read her original Frisian poems of that month here. One of them – Winter 2018– is published here in translation.

Winter 2018

Worse than by day
it flares up during the night
as winter counts its days
not knowing if its revenge will be sweet
if he lets himself be appealed
lets himself be flagellated
the surly tension
among the yearning people
still with a touch of flu
bemoaning his health for too long
will forgive their innocence
get them on their knees
keep them in suspense
makes them crazy
until just before it happens
he pulls off his coat.

We’ll see next year

© Aggie van der Meer
Translation: Trevor M. Scarse

Willem Abma – January 2018

Willem Abma was RIXT-poet of the month January 2018. You can read his original Frisian poems of that month here. One of them – Ljouwert Cultural Capital 2018 – is published here in translation.

Ljouwert Cultural Capital 2018

beyond thousands and thousands
a blink of an eye a split second
a shaky hold in the retreat

and along the alleys and the streets
from house to house facades that suppress
who found fortune and who distress

but, Ljouwert, capital of culture,
where one can hear many a foreign speech,
where can a stranger truly find your stature
and is it really this city where one’s heart beats?

that is where from an ancient and deep thirst
of what is valuable and frailty doesn’t burst,
in their mother tongue one can find community
that unifies city and village in their diversity.

© Willem Abma
Translation: Trevor Scarse