International Translation Day: Saskia de Jong’s ‘pier’

In honour of St Jerome and International Translation Day, here is my first ever translation, being a version of Saskia de Jong‘s poem ‘pier’, originally published in Dutch in her book resistent (Uitgeverij Prometheus, 2006). Yay for translators!

pier
 
at ijmuiden they’ve asphalted the sea
now the sea fingers the tar
looking for itself
just like a sniffing sow smells what
formerly was a part of herself
 
along the sea, they’ve built upon sand,
            constructed views
and installed loudspeakers outside too
so that music drowns out the slang of the waves
it’s understood exactly where you are
 
go back to the start

2 Comments

Ta, Graham! It’s funny you mention that phrase – the word ‘slang’ appears in the original poem, and I initially translated it as ‘snake’ (as a snake in Dutch is a ‘slang’), so the phrase was ‘the snake of waves’ which I was kind of proud of until Saskia told me it was actually the English word ‘slang’, which, you’re right, is also cool. So, yay for poets too!

O hai, you were saying?

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