Poem by Jan Glas

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Hello all
Here is the second of the two Dutch poets I met over in Ireland at the Fermoy International Poetry Festival.  I am so glad I met Jan last weekend – he absolutely melted my heart with his poetry and his personality..again I’m going to sound very gushy here – but I often meet lots of lovely people at various poetry events – in general, poets, I find, are generally lovely.  However, it’s not often that I meet someone who I immediately click with, and who I feel I would like to be friends with until I’m old and wrinkly.
 
I told my husband that I was going to kidnap Jan and bring him to live in Cumbria with us, and his only rather sensible response was ‘can he cook?’
 
Jan Glas lives in the city of Groningen and writes poetry in his native language Gronings and in Dutch. Gronings is part of the Low Saxon language, Low Saxon is spoken in the eastern part of the Netherlands and the northern part of Germany.
 
Glas published four books of poems. Three in Gronings and one in Dutch. His collected Groninger poems, with new poems added, will be published in 2012. He received the (German) Freudenthal Prize for new literature in the Low Saxon language and the Belcampo Scholarship; the literary award of the Province of Groningen. He was co-editor of three anthologies of poems in the Groningen language.
 
Glas frequently performs, reading his poetry. In 2010 he was invited to read his Low Saxon poetry in Istanbul and in 2012 at the Fermoy International Poetry Festival in Ireland. Jan Glas performed  his Dutch poetry at the literairy festival ´Wintertuin´ in Nijmegen and at the ´Dunya Festival´ this year in Rotterdam. In october 2012 a book of (Dutch) poems will be published.
 
This poem is one of my favourites that I heard Jan read – obviously the Low Saxon version is first and the English translation underneath.
 
Blonde knecht –  by Jan Glas
 
Wat ik ook schrief
ik blief n boer.
Boer mit ain knecht.
Blonde knecht ien
blaauw overaal.
Zun schient, knecht
 
en boer rusten op 
t laand en zomor 
streelt knecht
boer zien waang
en zegt:
‘wat n laive boer’.
 
En boer wordt rös om 
kop, kikt over t laand
en schut ien t ìn 
‘deur mor weer’, zegt 
boer ‘wie monnen nog 
ale gedichten melken.’
 
 
Jan Glas
The fair-haired farm-hand
 
No matter what I write
I will stay a farmer.
A farmer with one farm-hand.
A fair-haired farm-hand
in blue overalls.
The sun shines,
 
farm-hand and farmer
are resting on the land
and just like that the farm-hand
strokes the farmer’s cheek
and says:
‘What a dear sweet farmer.’
 
And the farmer blushes,
looks over the land
and gets to his feet.
‘Back to work then,’
the farmer says, ‘we’ve still
all the poems to milk.’
 
 
 
 
Jan Glas
Translation: John Irons
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3 responses »

  1. This is lovely 🙂 The unexpected, absurd but sweet… 🙂 My mother spoke Gronings (stads) with her mother, it is a language I never thought of it as being so poetical!

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