Trees shiver from the cold

longing for their coats lost

only a short while ago.


In the distance, my little skater

is picking up speed

with every stroke


slipping more and more

out of reach, his red scarf

waving behind him.


Just last winter, his hand

firmly in mine, he tried

to find his balance.


He needs to spread his wings

I tell myself, like that blackbird

I saw this morning


dissolving in the sky

as if it had never really

been there at all.

This poem was published in the RED: a Hue Are You anthology 

Paradise or Better Yet

In seven-league boots we trample the earth flat, as if
we are gods, leaving behind us steaming footprints
that grow larger and deeper until our globe buckles.

Aware that somewhere the road must end, we go back
to the drawing board and decide it is time
to return to Paradise, or better yet to that feeling

of greatness: being able to say that we were the ones
who created this — here land where there was no land,
there water, once vanquished, that we bring back

as we do heirloom vegetables and gnarled, pollard trees,
as if nothing has happened, a mere fender bender.
We just wipe some glass off the street, and there you have it

— a new beginning.

Until we overstep again, not wanting to see
those gray-edged shadows that line every cloud
getting darker and darker. Nearly black already.

Translated from the Dutch by Suzanne van Leendert, Robert Bensen, Marjolijn Bijlefeld and Julene Waffle.

Paradise or Better Yet was published in The Nonconformist Magazine

Dry Feet

In this country with its puddles, streams, canals, lakes,
ditches and rivers, water is flowing through our veins.

Low-lying, we don’t wait for it to arrive, we are one
with the sea, see ourselves in its mirror, determine when,
how long and how far its arms may reach.

In this country with its mills, dikes, dunes, dams, mounds
and locks, we know what living below sea level means.

We have witnessed what disappears when the water is given
free rein, felt it reaching our lips, wave after wave
swallowed whatever it could, washing away footprints.

In this country with its history of botters, cutters, fluyts,
kwaks and trawlers, we are taught how to swim at an early age.

We empathize with the water, with its desire to flow
and take up space, realize sometimes it’s better to give back
to the sea, appease Neptune and shift the tide.

In this country with its polders, storm-surge barriers, mudflats
and salt marshes, life is a delicate balance between give and take

to keep our feet dry.

Dry Feet was published in the Polaris Trilogy, which will go to the moon in 2024 in the Lunar Codex time capsule with flight Space X!

Sunflowers in Flaming Fields

Having climbed all the way out of darkness,
they took time to grow, to feel
the ground beneath their feet.

With heart-shaped leaves,
they embraced life, all together
and in sync turned towards the light.

Lined up in yellow uniforms, they learnt
how to stand tall, to keep their backs straight,
above them a clear blue sky.

Only when the late light disappears,
they bow their heads like one big sun,
still shining but invisible in the dark,

waiting for morning to come,
all the while knowing,
it will.

Sunflowers in Flaming fields was published in Songs of Eretz (special benefit edition for Ukraine) and the Off Topic Publishing Standing Up anthology for Ukraine

Plan of Attack

How many bees are there in a day?
—Pablo Neruda


Begin by looking. See the two large eyes on
either side of her head, three ocelli eyes on top.
Realize that the world revolves around her. Wonder
what distance she has travelled and observe her chest.
Not everything with armor can defend itself. Notice
how the space between you and her evaporates. Examine
the delicate wings. They are reminiscent of lace curtains
from times long gone. Behold the life she holds
in her hind legs. Begin by looking.

Translated from the Dutch by Suzanne van Leendert, Robert Bensen, Marjolijn Bijlefeld and Julene Waffle. Plan of attack was published in The Nonconformist Magazine