Fisherman from Ma Yuan

under clouds birds sail under waves fly fish but in between rests the fisherman waves become high clouds clouds become high waves but in the meantime rests the fisherman   Visser van Ma Yuan onder wolken vogels varen onder golven vliegen vissen maar daartussen rust de visser golven worden hoge wolken wolken worden hoge golven…

Plaza

Not a breath of wind. Yet a man held on tight to a woman, a woman to a child. Little legs moved of themselves. Above on a string a balloon like a fish. Above that the sun, blazing. The child had let go of the fish. Watched it rising, waved it goodbye. What – what’s…

Joke van Leeuwen’s Light-Hearted Anarchy

For years now Joke van Leeuwen has occupied a special position in the Dutch cultural landscape. With such a versatile talent as hers this is hardly surprising. Central to all her work, whether in her early career in cabaret or her poetry readings today, her poetry for adults and for children, or more particularly her…

Autumn Landscape

An ox and an oxcart move slowly in the mist stepping through the mist an ox of the oxcart unfailing its pace Lost in mist emerging from the mist on the jerking cart of the driver’s slumber does not lose itself in traceless sleep Behind the cart a dangling lantern drives a slight wedge of…

The Clouds

I still wore boy’s clothes and lay side by side Outstretched with mother in the heath’s warm lair; Above us shifting clouds were drifting by And mother asked me what I saw up there. And I cried: Scandinavia, and: swans, A lady, and: a shepherd with his sheep – The wonders were made word and…

Density

Haze. Now don’t speak. Much is kept silent. Little is much. Barely the word barely moves in the wind which is nowhere. Now don’t speak. Don’t erase anything. On the same plane of evening. Against which scarcely and nowhere.   Density Nevel. Zeg nu niets. Veel is verzwegen. Weinig is veel. Amper beweegt het woord…

A Sailor’s Grave for Captain Jan

Dutch and American writer Jan de Hartog The Dutch novelist and playwright Jan de Hartog, who died in Houston, Texas, in September 2002, was born in Haarlem in 1914, the son of a professor of Calvinist theology and a Quaker mother. A born rebel, he ran away to sea at the age of ten. In the…

Loss, Longing and Lamentation

The Work of Oscar van den Boogaard Since the publication in 1995 of his great novel Julia’s Delight (De heerlijkheid van Julia), the Dutch writer Oscar van den Boogaard, who was born in 1964, has been considered to be one of the finest literary talents in the Dutch-speaking world. The novel depicts the life of…

Skater

Ripples frozen solid right through to spring till lumps and bumps melt and skates go to sleep Ripples congealed in the middle of the deserted lake where you let a pin drop and stare after your labouring breath Puckered wavelets you feel in your very bones in the pounding pulses under the mittens on your…