Dichter fan Fryslân

Poet of Fryslân

Eeltsje Hettinga

Westminster Bridge

With a red point Siamese on his shoulder
a solitary man crosses Westminster Bridge
and listens while Big Ben strikes
to a nation that yowls and yells like
a terrace full of hooligans, treating the city
to a proud chorus that carries far and wide
along the river: Europe, Europe, bye, bye, bye!

This is the island that is withdrawing
onto its own island, thinks the man sat down
in front of the screen in the Polish pub
on the night of the blind and hostile divorce,
watching as a very dapper Ukip gent –
stiff upper lip and stiff right arm – rams
his knuckle duster under Europe’s skirts.

In private they talk of towering walls
and impenetrable borders as lithe
hard bodies – Britannia rules the waves,
so scuttle the boats of those who don’t belong,
growls Joe on-the-dole Blow, nursing
his pint at the bar, or will this old realm
of ours never amount to anything again?

And it was in my dream that a zeppelin
floated high in the sky over Dover, said the man
with the Siamese on his shoulder, the hatch
flew open, a cruise missile shot out, the rider
on its nose whooped and waved his bowler,
bellowing, Come on baby, light my fire,
and let the whole damn continent tremble.

A solitary man crosses Westminster Bridge ,
reads to a loud meow the graffiti barking
Brexit-Brexit and hears the underworld
rattling its chains at Waterloo.
On the newspaper stands, the calendars
colour the new year in while an island
withdraws onto its own island.



Translation: David Colmer


Poet of Fryslân

The Poet of Fryslân writes six to ten poems a year, and knows how to reach and tie to an audience with his poetry. The poems are highly preferred in the Frisian language or in a Frisian regional language.

The Poet of Fryslân acts as a poetic ambassador and takes care of Fryslân’s poetic representation in a modern and inviting manner. Inside and outside the province. Preferably inspired by actual events or special moments that occur in our province. The Poet of Fryslân knows, in a contemporary and accessible way, how to present current and social themes in poetry.

The Poet of Fryslân is expected to perform a number of times a year on yet to be determined occasions.

Eeltsje Hettinga

Eeltsje Hettinga has been elected the first ever Poet of Fryslân. The appointment is for two years. Deputy Sietske Poepjes will appoint the Poet of Fryslân on November 24, 2017 in the Herman Gorterkerk in Balk.

As the Poet of Fryslân, Hettinga acts as a poetic ambassador over the next two years. He writes six to ten poems a year, most inspired by striking and current events in the province. The Poet of Fryslân receives a fixed fee of € 2,500, – per year and € 250, – for each poem.