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The old gull

The old gull sees us but doesn’t think:

‘What is going through people’s minds

down below me in the dunes,

along the beach and in the woods?’

The old gull flies his flight alone

His screaming cuts through morning mist

His calling sounds over the roofs

His wings are skimming

past our graves, through skies

but the old gull doesn’t think of us

He sees us though

and knows that we are passing in the time

and that he will remain a while

He does his flying on his own

always going towards freedom

De ôde kôb

De ôde kôb sjogt ûs wol mar tinket net:

‘Wat gaat er door de mensen heen

Beneden mij in duinen,

Langs het strand en in het bos?’

De ôde kôb flygt syn eigen flucht

Zijn schreeuw doorklieft de ochtendmist

Zijn roepen klinkt over de rode daken

Zijn vleugels scheren

Langs de graven, door de lucht

Mar de ôde kôb tinket net om ús

Hij ziet ons evengoed

Hij weet dat wij voorbijgaan in de tijd

En dat hij nog wel blijven zal

Hij vliegt zijn eigen vlucht

Altijd zijn vrijheid tegemoet

This poem was written in Westers (one of the three dialects of the island of Terschelling) mixed with Dutch 🙂 Published in De Terschellinger 0f 31 march 2021.

Dit gedicht is gedeeltelijk geschreven in het Westers (Terschellings dialect) en gedeeltelijk in het Nederlands. Terschelling met nog geen vijfduizend bewoners heeft drie dialecten, plus het Nederlands dat wel het meest wordt gesproken, en ook nog het Fries. Misschien een beetje veel 🙂 maar toch ook wel leuk om af en toe bij stil te staan.

RIXT : Frisian Poets

Last year I joined the Frisian poets group RIXT https://eng.rixt.frl/

WHAT DO WE STAND FOR?

Poetry collective RIXT is a broad platform of Frisian poets. We write and publish poems about current issues in and outside Fryslân. We show the vitality and relevance of Frisian poetry to a wide audience.

Check out the site! 🙂

My first poem with them was written during a workshop on Terschelling last year:

The ‘driig’ *

a procession of pale people

I saw: your understanding – a ‘driig’

to the cemetery of Saint John

You’re now digging deep into my petrified words

like looking for the morning

before the tears fell,

like you know where the coffin is,

where the coffin is immovably buried

where it chafes, the silicon grinds

on the granite of my soul

I saw a ‘driig’

and they were all acquaintances

The ground smelled vaguely like a day in spring

You dig through the granite

hit the coffin – almost

You want to say you are not lying here

But it is September, I say, it is too early

The crows laugh at the mistake

  • * A driig is a vision, for example in a dream, of a funeral procession, with participants known to the dreamer. The order they walk in, tells the dreamer who it is in the coffin.

(Dutch) De driig

Ik zag: jouw begrip – een driig

een stoet van bleke mensen

naar het kerkhof van Sint Jan

Jij graaft nu diep in mijn versteende woorden

alsof je de ochtend zoekt

voor de tranen vielen,

alsof je weet waar de kist ligt

waar onbeweeglijk de kist ligt begraven

waar het schrijnt, het silicium knarst

op het graniet van mijn ziel

Ik zag een driig

en het waren allemaal bekenden

Vaag rook de grond naar een dag in het voorjaar

Jij graaft door het graniet

raakt de kist – bijna

Zie maar, je ligt hier niet, wil je zeggen

Maar het is september, zeg ik,  het is nog te vroeg

De kraaien lachen om de vergissing

(Frisian) De driig

Ik seach: dyn begryp, in driig

in omgong fan bleke minsken

nei it tsjerkhou fan Sint-Jan

Do dolst no djip yn myn ferstienne wurden

lykas sikesto de moarntiid

foar’t de triennen foelen

lykas witsto wêr’t de kist leit

wêr’t ûnferwrikke de kist leit yn ’e grûn

dêr’t it skrynt, it silisium knarst

op it granyt fan myn siele

Ik seach in driig

en it wie allegear kunde

Faach rûkte de grûn nei in dei yn it foarjier

Do dolst troch it granyt

rekkest de kist – hast

Sjoch mar, do leist hjir net, wolst sizze

Mar it is septimber, sis ik, it is noch te betiid

De krieën gnize om it fersin

Oersetting: André Looijenga

Major Anthology Released by Four Windows Press — fourwindowspress

(I am a bit late in posting this but here it is: a lovely anthology and proud to be in it 🙂 )

Lockdown estivation post card

(The blackbird keeps me up all hours, and doesn’t want my sleep to come, as days are with no end and night is now a memory.

I won’t go out, but wait in my cool room till all this madness of a lockdown goes away. Till presidents of the US have brains again. So see you hopefully in Fall.

I stay and bathe my soul in sunshine from my home. The blackbird sings of better days with plenty water. )

It is really Summer and the weather here is great. Wish you were here. More news will follow in my letter.

Home alone

Cat is there to ignore me,
chair is there to relax.

Sun is shining its comfort,
blackbirds sing, moving on.

Everything seems the same, now
yet all is different and wrong.

Freedom looks far away,
as we know we must stay
where we are, for our good.

Fear and sadness so close. It’s
the same everywhere.

Yet I do like the sun
when I take my face out 🙂
and the cat and the singing,
yes we all will move on.

We are all in this mess,
so no one is alone.

Once we’ll see loved ones back,
and this nightmare is over,
once the birds have their young.

Until then: world, keep strong.

from a sunny Terschelling, greetings! And stay healthy!

The mistress (awkward verses #1)

Lie me some more love again
as it doesn’t matter now –
no harm was done
(but no good either)
in these dead hours of the night.

Lie me some more love again.
Your words will stay with meaning
till it’s dawn.
Don’t break us up but lie to me,
return to her, and then be gone.

The mourning

There is a woman on the island who mourns for her husband
and cannot stop mourning in the time we have set for her.
She needs a psychologist so we say
but she cannot go to the mainland for help,

she cannot cross the sea as she is too depressed
and we all think this is crazy, she is crazy
for not getting her act together by now and crying
all the time. And we tell her all we know about grieving.

And we feel so much better
about our own heroic distances from the death
and how we move on in spite of our losses
and keeping up the spirit
although the real spirits better be absent.

We are still here
as no one has gone to the mainland as well;
for whatever reason we can think off we are reluctant
and we mourn in our ways without knowing we do.

We mourn as we water
the already dead plants in the garden,
as we go about our lives in a slower pace
as we hear ferry whistles and the sound
of geese flying over, without us longing
to go away too.
We are too dead to mourn well.

The portrait painter

When word was out
that he, the village artist,
was making another portrait
no one dared to see it
as they expected to drop dead at first glance
as they knew others had died in admiration
just by watching his art,
which they burnt.

So they shut his cabin
locked the windows and doors
with him inside
and it became quiet,
all was good
and grass overgrew the dwelling.
The cabin rotted,
the village slowly vanished.

Years after the last villager had died
a little girl found her way in the cabin,
stepped over the skeleton
drawn as she was to the painting
and she took it outside
where no one ever expected
such beauty to be found
in such a derilict place.

The colours that never saw daylight
started to live,
the immortal face they saw
was that of a young man,
the artist himself, as he had been,
while he was being buried alive
by the people
who were for ever faceless.

Moving On – book release

My sixth poetry anthology in English is out now!

moving on

 

Link to Amazon :   Moving on and the other titles

Creative reclamation

I wonder how you call my love for you –
probably collateral damage or,
if I’m lucky, you say you want it one day
for creative reclamation.

It has been about a bit, this love,
and torn apart, neglected, stored on ice,
and put in the attic for not being useful
but it is still around somewhere
if you want to do a bit of tinkering.
Still. Not for ever.

Maybe you can shape  it in time
into a hopeful poem about resurrection
and other passion flowers to hold on to
when all is bleak and dry.
But then again you write fiction don’t you.

I wonder whether I shall  live
to see my love reclaimed. Or even named.
And that you said you loved me:
it would be nice to see it
shining through the old parts of my rusty heart.

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