Au Musée

The word turns to mud
in the mouth of time,
unsayable this winter’s night
while the sea still speaks,
the room an orchestra pit,
under the cuneiform
of stars in the darkness
over terp and coast.

Someone stumbled along the sea dyke,
a ghost disappearing
in tha herta fon tha winde,
I heard the slurping of the sludge,
thinking in that Moddergat café
of my language, Frisian,
on its way
to the Musée,
Persephone’s home.

Via Quatrebras I drove
through dead and sleeping villages
into the Woods, a storm
tore at the trees;
the breaking branches buffeted
by a sea of voices,
a sea of the drowned,
the sea that spoke, cruel and pounding,
south of Lampedusa.



Translation: David Colmer