POETRY

Hy soe 140 wurde

hy luts it reade deksel
fan de bierbeker moster
stuts de foarke der justjes yn
en die syn pakesizzer krekt foar
hoe’t de saus troch it spekfet
mjokse wurde moast

it noaskjen by it buorkjen
syn krease streekje bou

âld boer tsjin it terpdoarp
syn libben wie ien lange wedstryd
dy’t er alle jierren wûn
salang as er it oprêde koe
as earste fan it rabjende doarp
de panne mei nije jerappels
op tafel te krijen

twa wiken earder as de oaren
bliksem

yn in parallel hielal is er hast hûndert
lûkt er noch altyd it lid fan de wite amer
en skept pikestront oer de ierde
krûpt har nachts leaf oan

stekt der gjin mes mear
neist beppe har holle
mei de punt yn de keukendoar

puft de kachelpiip
de skuorre fol

 

He was going to live to 140

he pried the red lid off
the beer-glass mustard
dipped his fork in quickly
and demonstrated to his grandson
how to mix the gravy
and the bacon fat

dropping by and nosing round
his tidy piece of land

old farmer up against the terp
his whole life one long battle
that he won every year
as long as he still managed
to be the first in the tattling village
with a pan of new potatoes
steaming on his table

beating the rest
by a bloody fortnight

in a parallel universe he’s almost a hundred
still pulling the lid off the white bucket
and spreading chicken shit over the soil
cuddling up to grandma in bed at night

instead of stabbing a knife
into the kitchen door
next to her head

the stovepipe puffing
the barn full

Translation: David Colmer