Poetry in translation: Dorien de Wit

after Dorien de Wit

on the airstrip
people lay their heads on tables
I think of ducks plunging their head under the duckweed
staying so long without air

buckled in we disappear from sight
I want to stay the same but miles high
we turn into a dot
has someone pulled the plug from my head

the first night I see from the balcony lights flickering
motional in a rhythm, a hill that breathes
the belly of my cat

during the day I wear out my new view
by passing my eyes over it time after time
I prefer to skip the nights

on a dented mattress
I feel the impression of a stranger
which forms an arc in me

homesick is a towel in the shape of a swan

This is my translation of a poem by Dutch artist and writer Dorien de Wit. Sorry, I don’t know the title of this poem. I found it online without one.


  1. Isha Chawla Avatar
    Isha Chawla


    Liked by 1 person

  2. sunhesper Avatar

    Beautiful work. I feel that tug, hard. Also, “motional” does not get the use it deserves; my auto correct even tried to dismiss it, but it’s excellent here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Conny Avatar

      It’s a great poem. Deceptive in its simplicity. It was much harder to translate than I initially thought. I loved the ‘belly of my cat’ line. That triggered such a tactile memory for me. Yes, ‘motional’ is unusual, the poet used the adjective form instead of noun. Thanks for your support Sun!

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