August 2020

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.

Photo: Geart Tigchelaar
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

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