November 2023

Jan Kooistra was the RIXT poet of the month in November. You can read his original Frisian poems from that month here. The translation of one of his poems – ‘Balloo Heath’ – is published here.

Photograph: Jan Kooistra
Balloo Heath

on the Balloo Heath no one’s building bunkers 
with no chance of rockets raining down
no walls are being built, no fences set up

on the Balloo Heath there are no protests 
there is no black and no white, no hustling 
or bustling, no violence and no aggravation

on the Balloo Heath there is pain nor thirst 
no poverty or illness, no resentment
and no motherless child without a tomorrow

on the Balloo Heath the dead are fast asleep
in their timeworn graves because they know
yellowhammers and godwits will return from afar

on the Balloo Heath the trees always cry 
in late November, is that why the days
are so silent here on the Balloo Heath?

© Jan Kooistra
translation: Trevor Scarse

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