Archive for May, 2022

It is always worth keeping up with the excellent Dutch site The High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands :

The site is in English and covers huge areas of Dutch cultural activities, literature, history, arts. It is a dynamic and exciting place.

Tom Christiaens / adjunct-hoofdredacteur Ons Erfdeel vzw / eindredacteur the low countries has given me permission to reproduce their English translation of Dutch writer Alara Adilow’s poem, from the Friday Verses slot.
Alara Adilow is a writer of Somali heritage; she is currently getting her first book together in Dutch.
What really appeals too me about her poem The Cafe, is how it develops, broadens, opens up. It is not a chamber piece, playing all its introduced themes, but an expanding piece. Having said that, the opening images do promise what they fulfil, that is, an expanding range of imagery.

This is the writer’s only work in English so far, that I am aware of.

I urge you to follow up the links here to the site, and explore.

The Café

In a dusty café I drink a couple of espressos.
An elderly soprano dressed in a white negligé
with pearls round her neck plays a sonata on the piano.

She doesn’t touch her mussels,
a dead bee floats in her cognac.

Outside the storm grates among the remains of the day.
The wind tears at the yellow beach huts.
A seagull flies over the lamppost and disappears
in a sparkle that pricks my eyes.

Faces flash through the smog
in blue and red scarves they float over slippery clinkers
Laughter rings out in the greasy window 
until the vague forms glide away.
They leave a garden of footsteps behind.

A spider creeps across the edge of the table. I put my hand down.
I hold on to the spider like a future.
The café fills with the spider’s thoughts,
The thoughts drown in the crescendo.

Autumn and night waltz together under stars,
The stars shrivel and blow away.

A naked madman comes into the café
with earth and earthworms in his hair.
He introduces himself jovially.

The wind catches fire.

Heaven lies in a coffin
emaciated, lifeless, without
her boundless visions gloomy.

In the walls of the café a glowing fire blooms.


Posted: May 23, 2022 in Chat
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A drop of rain falling –
it didn’t know where its parents were,
It didn’t know where its companions were
all it knew was falling.

The wind took it up, turning it over
fingering the bead of it until it shone.
It lay dead-weight in the palm, submissive
to all the wind’s intimacies.

But the wind had other business 
caught up for a moment with all this
glittering, and wondering
What was all this
stripping its valuables
leaving the wind empty 
and cold in the sky?

Pearls, diamonds, gem-stones – 
worthless; all it needed 
was sustenance.
Wind threw rain over.

And being taken up, cast down
rain fell heavier than ever
a pebble for its heart

To destroy itself on a leaf.
Caught hurting on the tree’s hand
spilling all that encrusted it;
to enter the green caverns
a formless thing.


Une goutte de pluie qui tombe –
il ne savait pas où étaient ses parents,
Il ne savait pas où étaient ses compagnons
tout ce qu’il savait était de tomber.

Le vent l’a emporté, le retournant
en caressant le grain jusqu’à ce qu’il brille.
Il gisait comme un poids mort dans la paume, soumis
à toutes les intimités du vent.

Mais le vent avait d’autres affaires
rattrapé un instant avec tout ça
scintillant et se demandant
C’était quoi tout ça
dépouiller ses objets de valeur
laissant le vent vide
et froid dans le ciel?

Perles, diamants, pierres précieuses –
sans valeur; tout ce qu’il fallait
était la subsistance.
Le vent a chassé la pluie.

Et d’être prendre en haut, 
jeté vers le bas
la pluie est tombée plus fort que jamais
un caillou pour son Coeur

Se détruire sur une feuille.
Pris blessé sur la main de l’arbre
renverser tout ce qui l’incrustait ;
entrer dans les cavernes vertes
une chose sans forme.


Una goccia di pioggia che cade –
non sapeva dove fossero i suoi genitori,
Non sapeva dove fossero i suoi compagni
tutto cio che sapeva stava cadendo.

Il vento lo prese, capovolgendolo
toccando il vetrofinché non brillava.
Giaceva come un peso morto nel palmo, sottomesso
a tutte le intimità del vento.

Ma il vento aveva altri affari
preso per un momento con tutto questo
scintillante e meravigliato
Cos’era tutto questo
spogliando i suoi oggetti di valore
lasciando vuoto il vento
e freddo nel cielo?

Perle, diamanti, pietre preziose –
senza valore; tutto ciò di cui aveva bisogno
era sostentamento.
Il vento ha rovesciato la pioggia.

Ed essendo preso, gettato giù
la pioggia cadeva più pesante che mai
un sassolino per il suo cuore
Autoistruggersi su una foglia.

Preso ferito sulla mano dell’albero
rovesciando tutto ciò che lo incrostava;
per entrare nelle caverne verdi
una cosa senza forma.


Una gota de lluvia cayendo –
no sabía dónde estaban sus padres,
No sabía dónde estaban sus compañeros.
todo lo que sabía era caer.

El viento se lo llevó, volteándolo
digitación la cuenta de vidrio
hasta que brilló.
Yacía como un peso muerto en la palma de la mano, sumisa
a todas las intimidades del viento.
Pero el viento tenía otros asuntos
atrapado por un momento con todo esto
brillando y preguntándose
que fue todo esto

despojando de sus objetos de valor
dejando el viento vacío
y frío en el cielo?

Perlas, diamantes, piedras preciosas –
sin valor; todo lo que necesitaba
era sustento.

El viento descartado lluvia .
y siendo arrebatado, echado abajo
la lluvia cayó más fuerte que nunca
un guijarro para su corazón
Destruirse en una hoja.

Atrapado lastimado en la mano del árbol
derramando todo lo que tenía incrustado;
para entrar en las cavernas verdes
una cosa sin forma.


Summer sun has all the new
plastic black guttering cracking
and creaking, expanding;
the sound along the terraces
unique, rousing.

As the heat fades they’ll retreat again,
regain their old state. All their
hidden musics dictate the noise
of neighbour’s grass cutters, something-elsers.

I thought of the endless dripping from
the corner gutter that turned to pouring
when the join went, and me trying
all sorts to stop it cheaply. How it
cost us dearly.

And I thought of us getting all
the soffits changed, fearing old asbestos;
but there was none. That also cost us.
To relish peace of mind,
is to pay its pound.

I thought of that lonely pigeon
three days up there alone, mate dead,
the feathers scattering in the after-draft.
Its grieving there, unfed; silent
in the dark,
in the head.

My Admiration

Posted: May 7, 2022 in Chat

for skill and enterprise, endurance and great sense of values.