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