Tuesday, 23 May 2017


A Toon Tellegen poem about the world of words

at a window

I stand at a window.
I see words coming.

Some words I recognise:
although, red, previously,
nevertheless in its flapping jacket,
truthfulness, imperfect...

Some clamber onto each other’s shoulders.
‘Who are you?’ they shout.
‘Overcast,’ I shout.
‘Heavily or fairly?’ they ask.
‘Slightly,’ I say. ‘Slightly overcast.’

I lower my eyes.
I wish I was glittering
or somewhat
or even more: notwithstanding.

It starts to rain.
Although looks up, her cheeks grow wet.
Far and wide run away.

Darkness falls.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Poem by the Flemish poet Andy Fierens


mummies love daddies
daddies love mummies

usually a mummy gives
her love to one daddy
(the converse also applies)
day after day
just gives love
to the same daddy
or the same mummy

it sometimes happens
that the one contains
more love
than the other is
                      equal to
we say about these others
that he/she is satiated
or quenched
the one (daddy/mummy) then has
a residue of love
and we sometimes call this
the surplus (that is jargon)

pay attention now
what follows is important

love has a limited shelf life
that means
that it can go sour
just like milk

what’s such a daddy or mummy to do
with that surplus?
let it go bad?
let it languish in some corner?

or could they
use it to make
someone else happy?
a daddy or mummy who is lonely?

no right-minded
person can
object to that
you might think


but as you all know
with adults
you never know

imagine mummy gives her surplus
to another daddy
one of those who’s lonely
then there’s a big chance that your
daddy will call your mummy a whore
that means that daddy is not happy
that he

is ventilating his dis-satis-fac-tion

or imagine daddy gives some love
to some lonely mummy or other
then it’s not unlikely that your mummy
runs through the house
screaming strange things
such as i’ll milk you dry
to the last penny
just wait till you’re asleep you bastard
and i’ll smear
tar on your balls

that’s terrible

it sometimes happens that a daddy gives
his surplus to another daddy

and sometimes things get patched up
between mummy and daddy
(but if daddy gives his surplus
to another daddy
usually not)

that’s how it goes with adults

later when you’ve become an adult
and married
or live together with someone
or have a living-apart-together realisation

the chance is pretty big
that you’ll notice sooner or later
that you’ve a surplus
then above all you must make
someone else happy with it

for life is short
and senseless without love

but you’ll probably have to learn
to keep your mouth clamped shut

for silence is golden
and girls you don’t want to be whores do you?
and boys you don’t want tar on your balls do you?

but such worries are for the future
just start by looking up the meaning
of the word jargon

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Early poem by David Koker (27 November 1921 - 23 February 1945)


We looked up at each other from our reading
quite simultaneously. And through our eyes
there passed the very same serene surprise
that everything could be so good and pleasing.

Within these walls, where joy all haste is spurning,
where in their sunlike, unassuming shine
white, slender Sabbath candles now are burning,
life’s smallest things can seem both whole and fine.

Glimmering light-spots dancing on the ceiling
the table of a never-ending white,
with dishes motionless and softly gleaming,
the wine, the pure white bread. Oh how this sight

expressed such solemn presence, nonetheless
seemed so aloof. We find ourselves constrained
for just one instant by bright giddiness
yet to what’s innermost have been ordained,
and like the things around us self-contained

have we become as we observe each other,
re-find ourselves in space so bountiful.
Each in his solitude and yet together –
such was our Sabbath, and so wonderful.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

A poem by C. Buddingh'

Pluk de dag

vanochtend na het ontbijt
ontdekte ik, door mijn verstrooidheid,
dat het deksel van een middelgroot potje marmite
(het 4 oz net formaat)
precies past op een klein potje heinz sandwich spread

natuurlijk heb ik toen meteen geprobeerd
of het sandwich spread-dekseltje
ook op het marmite-potje paste

en jawel hoor: het paste eveneens

Seize the day

this morning after breakfast
I discovered, through my absent-mindedness,
that the lid of a medium-sized jar of marmite
(the 4 oz net one)
precisely fits a small jar of heinz sandwich spread

naturally I immediately checked
if the sandwich spread lid
also fitted the marmite jar

and yes indeed: it fitted as well

Monday, 8 May 2017

HCA the Scandinavian

‘A Scandinavian I!’

We Scandinavians are a single people,
Although three kingdoms are our native lands;
Yet one of heaven’s great gifts makes us equal:
Our hearts now form a whole with steadfast bands!
Let all past wrongs between us be forgotten:
Margrethe’s purer spirit is begotten
That now unites us, threefold strength supplies us,
Our language unifies us.
On hills, in woods, on night-blue sea I cry
Aloud with joy: A Scandinavian I!

Join me on Dovre’s peaks and Jökel’s glacier,
Hear thundering waters, farming maiden’s song;
Fresh lake and mountain air breathe in and savour,
I walk where once Norse gods did stride along;
And if I most would hear of men of glory,
Of Olaf, Hakon, Harald and their story,
Then mountainwards! with mighty rock-built castles
Stands Norway richly marshalled
In gleam of Northern lights, where seas run high;
I love you well! A Scandinavian I!

Come, take the swiftest boat, let steam transport us,
Let rivers and great lakes our roads now be!
Sail over mountains with tall birch below us
Exhaling scent! Oh, Sweden I love thee!
From here once Gustav Adolf’s name resounded,
The last true Northern knight of fame unbounded.
Some bark-bread, and the Swedish peasant’s singing,
Frugality him winging,
He sings the songs that bards did once supply,
As we do too: A Scandinavian I!

A fresh bouquet of corn and hops and clover
Is Denmark! Come and see our woods of beech!
The gentle plains its spirit’s sons rove over,
And horses’ clanging hooves all corners reach –
To art and science we Denmark would be showing,
Of this small land all Europe shall be knowing:
Through Thorvaldsen its name in stone is ringing,
Through Tycho first set winging;
A rose is Denmark! Scandinavian, tell
Of sea-tossed land where flowering spirits dwell!

Let not this unity e’er wilt or wither,
Let Norway, Sweden, Denmark stay as one;
The ancient folk-songs bind us all together,
Their melody’s a bond surpassed by none.
The seed of unity promotes good harvest,
To East and West our bold gaze reaches farthest,
In joy and sorrow, here our home is nearest!
Here those live who are dearest!
From fir and birch and beech, in sea and sky
Let joy’s song sound: A Scandinavian I!