February 2022

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

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