Jan Kooistra – November

Jan Kooistra was RIXT-poet of the  month November 2019. You can read his original Frisian poems of that month here. The translation of one of them – ‘words not deeds’ – is published below.

Photo: Geart Tigchelaar

words not deeds

recently I read that the Poet
Laureate wants to make the woods
dark again and that Greta Thunberg

is autistic, that once more the Kurds
leave everything behind

I was in Sachsenhausen the other day
where I heard horrible stories
I saw a young man crying

saw large numbers of ashen rooks
I heard the echoes in the distance

wanted to move to a village where
you can still see the stars
where the swallows fly in summer and
owls sit on the trusses in winter

sometimes I yearn for the courage
of that lassie from Sweden
and reclaim the dark from the woods
tell those tales again and
unseat all those false blowhards

but I shouldn’t step into
the garden late at night
and look up at that
infinitely glittering sky
because then I will be reduced
to tears like a little boy

© Jan Kooistra
Translation: Trevor M. Scarse

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