Saturday, 16 December 2017

Poem by Hans Tentije


Before daring to execute your leap you had let the bee’s wax
with which your wings were to be fixed to your shoulder blades
harden firmly, while well aware
that you can never escape from any labyrinth
especially not the inner one

no matter how carefully your father set about his work
made use of his best implements, and chose feathers
with sturdy shafts and quills, the risks
remained enormous

which in the last resort weighed heavier against gravity
than the sensation of breaking free, being able to marvel at
the splendid panorama, the entire archipelago
hundreds of metres below you, the mainland still
many miles away

and on the thermal of a light breeze your daring swelled
into hubris, the shrivelling sun
robbed you of your pinions, you were already stone-blind
before the water closed above you

having so cleverly escaped from the convolutions of the maze
you hoped to transcend yourself by making a cast at what was
highest of all, for there for each attempt one must
of course begin repeatedly from the beginning: to capture
a glimpse of the infinite –

that’s why

Time for a Brorson Christmas hymn!

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Congratulations to Nachoem Wijnberg!

State and market

If you’re the highest representative
of the state
you walk across the market.

Where too little’s being sold
you buy what’s still lying there
before the big deals
come with a low offer
when the day’s nearly over.

Or you offer loans,
at an interest rate that’s lower
than that asked for by the banks,
so the sellers will be able to wait one day longer,
which also makes money for the state.

You start to sell
what you’ve bought from them
when the prices begin to rise
as if people expect
them to rise even further.

And when they themselves still have
what they can sell for the higher prices
you let them pay off their loans.

Don’t forget, part of your job
is keeping anxiety and compassion
separate from each other.

From: Of great importance (2015)

Heavy, light

You can give hundreds of examples
of what weight is, but you only remember
just the one of them.

When you weigh a hundred and twenty
kilos because you
wanted to run into someone
who says to you: you can’t always
be that heavy.

And then one more; a child
with each of his hands
in the hand of one of his parents
who raise him up together and let him swing
while they walk on.

You make what’s light heavy
because you’re not good at it
and don’t want to learn from others.

After that you just will be asked
about what’s heavy
and you hope that in the meantime
– you can’t say how –
you’ll get better at what’s light.

From: For you, yours (2017)

Not like a bird

Inside women are
smaller women,
sometimes larger women
and even larger women in those women.

The men
reveal to those who are unable
by pretending they are almost unable:
sitting still among shadows.

They reveal to those able to fly,
not like a bird
but like a bird being taken out
of a bird and then put back again.

From: Birds (2001)

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Well-known poem by Willem Kloos

de blâren vallen zacht

De blâren vallen zacht...
Ik kan alleen betreuren,
Dat ik niet eens verwacht,
Wat eens nog kan gebeuren...
De blâren vallen zacht...

the leaves now softly fall

The leaves now softly fall...
And all that I’m regretting
Is just what may befall
No keenness is begetting...
The leaves now softly fall...

Saturday, 9 December 2017

'What freedom is" - Wim Brands again

Wat vrijheid is

Wat vrijheid is leerde ik van een oom die in vee handelde.
Na zijn vijftigste kreeg hij een vriendin.

Zij had evenveel verstand van koeien als hij.
Soms namen ze een dag vrij.

Ze noemden dat vakantie.
Ze bezochten dan een veemarkt.

What freedom is

I learnt what freedom is from an uncle who dealt in cattle.
When past fifty he acquired a lady friend.

She knew just as much about cows as he did.
Sometimes they took a day off.

They called that a holiday.
They then visited a cattle market.

Friday, 8 December 2017

'Thirty years' - a Wim Brands poem in English translation

Thirty years

Thirty years since his parents disappeared
and didn’t come back.

This morning when it was windy and he
thought he heard the door creak

he quietly welcomed them; they had
been away long enough now.

'Postcard' - a poem by Wim Brands in English translation

'Nolde' a poem by Wim Brands in English translation