Sunday, 29 October 2017

Een nieuw gerecht -- A new dish

Two friends, a Dutch and a New Zealand one have dared me in the past to write a Dutch poem. It never came to it but today I tried it for the first time and enjoyed it.
There is an english version at the end for Poets United Poetry pantry

Een nieuw gerecht   

Een pas, twee passen op het pad naar 
mijn eerste poëzie in mijn moedertaal 
na enige tijd in het engels te hebben;
vertoefd. Het voelt alsof mijn voeten in  

oude geliefde schoenen glijden. Het
voelt alledaags maar ook almachtig.
Een zekere vrijheid verschijnt. Plots
pluk ik wolken en zonnestralen strelen

en zichtbaar dartel en dans ik op deze
schoenen die me verzoenen en verbinden

met de dag van gisteren. Deze taal
een deel van mij zoals mijn handen,

mijn ogen, de klank van mijn stem deel
van mij zijn. Het is alsof twee dierbaren;
mijn poëzie en mijn moedertaal, elkaar
voor het eerst treffen, net als twee    

ingrediënten voor het eerst in een recept
samen een nieuw gerecht vormen, and 
na ervan geproefd te hebben denk ik mmm
ja dat doe ik weer, dat smaakt naar meer. 

It was not as hard as I thought it would I suddenly felt much more freedom. It was only very hard to translate and it is not a proper representation. You loose beginning rhyme and the likes so I tweaked it a bit so it is not a literal translation.

A new dish

One step, two steps on the street
to my first poetry in my mother
tongue after spending some time in
english. It feels like my feet glide

in old cherished shoes. It feels
ordinary, yet so almighty. A certain
freedom appears. Suddenly 
I pluck
clouds while sun
rays embrace me

and I visibly frolic and 
on these shoes which connect
and conciliate me with yesterday.
This language, part of me, just like

my hands, my eyes, the sound of my
voice are part of me. It is as if two loved 
ones; my poetry and my mother tongue
meet each other for the first time, 

just like two ingredients, form a new
dish together for the first time, and after
having a taste of it I think Mmm yes
I hear my encore, this taste like more 


  1. Hi Marja - so clever ... well done -I'll be back to read the Dutch through ... similar to Afrikaans - not that I can speak that either ... !! But so well worked out ... another string to your bow ... so pleased for you - cheers Hilary

  2. Nice try! Your poem gives much honor to your mother tongue. There's nothing like our first language.English is my ..third language. I write my blog in english so that I reach more people, feel more universal ; but the truth is I feel at my best in my native language.

  3. I have tried to write in Swedish and then translating afterwards a few times... to me it sounded like another poet writing, another voice in my mother tongue I feel.

  4. Well done Marja, great that you took up the challenge. I too double dip in the two languages and as you pointed out, exact translation isn't possible. It feels liberating to be able to express one's (my)self in both languages. Looking forward to seeing more of the same.

  5. It is as if two loved
    ones; my poetry and my mother tongue
    meet each other for the first time.. Marja I love this... I wish I could write in my mother tongue.. But I don't think in it, nor know it well enough to write poetry.

  6. What a lovely poem, I always admire anyone who can learn to speak a different tongue.. And I often think how then when you devote your life to speaking in a tongue other than the one you were brought up in, then your thoughts, that inner dialogue must still speak in your native tongue..

    Lovely poem and like those two dishes side by side, just perfect..
    Wishing you and your family a beautiful day..
    Love and HUGS.. Sue xxx

  7. Mother tongue is something else, no doubt. I have started translating songs of Tagore but as you say 'you loose beginning rhymes and the likes' & they are never a proper representation. But it's really a moment of beauty & wonder when the two meet.

  8. those "old cherished shoes" must surely be the ones you can walk best in when it comes to expression - admire anyone who writes so well in other than their mother tongue

  9. This is so incredibly touching!💞 Especially love; "It is as if two loved ones; my poetry and my mother tongue meet each other for the first time".. *swoooon*💞

  10. She who has two tongues is doubly blessed!

  11. YES! Definitely more of this gliding in old cherished shoes, this thinking and writing in your mother tongue. This is beautiful, Marja, and i thought your trabslation worked wonderfully.

  12. Well done Marja, I find writing tricky enough in my mother tongue, writing so well in a second language is super impressive.

  13. It is beautiful and a good retreat to go back to our roots.

  14. Just wonderful, Marja. Though you said that your translation into English is not perfect, I feel the message strongly. It must be wonderful to experience this freedom. I like the way that your poetry and mother tongue met for the first time. I hope this will be the first of many such poems!

  15. There is beauty and comfort to be found in the reclaiming of something we love.

  16. I have endless admiration for anyone who can write poetry in other than their native tongue. BRAVO

  17. Very nicely done ! And since mijn moedertaal is also Dutch - although from long ago - I found it interesting to read in both languages. Like you said, some of the nuances in the original do not come out in the translation, however, that is not a loss to those who only understand English.

  18. Your joy in doing this is easily felt and makes this writer envious of the experience,


  19. This is awesome! 'my poetry and my mother tongue meet each other for the first time' ... I can only imagine how moving that must have been. This was a pleasure to read, Marja.

  20. How absolutely lovely to see your Dutch poem...I only wish I could read the original Dutch language version....both I am sure convey your love of your first language melding with your love of poetry...'just like two ingredients, form a new
    dish together for the first time'....magic!


  21. Often wondered how translators do their jobs. An Air Force buddy, who served in Japan and learned the language told me stories how English and Japanese really don't mesh at all.

  22. This feels so layered and beautifully structured in English. I only speak English, but I can imagine and appreciate the level of difficulty involved in writing this in dual languages.

  23. It is a magic moment!!! I love this new dish.

  24. Wat een leuke vertaling van dartel en dans :-)

  25. You are so clever to be able to write poetry in both languages.

  26. How delightful to feel your feet gliding in cherished old shoes. I'm impressed at your being able to write in both languages.

  27. I miss you in bogland. I hope all is well.

    1. thanks Yes miss it too but I have so many things going on at the moment and soon going overseas Will come back here in a few months I hope


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