Hester Knibbe has enjoyed increasing attention from European and American readers as the author of two books of poems in her native Dutch: Oogsteen (2009) and Bedrieglijke dagen (2008), both from De Arbeiderspers. Rather than wait for her first book of poems in English, I thought I’d offer a taste in the translated poem below, a wonderful achievement in 12 lines. Next week, I’ll follow up with an interview with Hester and her translator, Jacquelyn Pope.
Saved two children last night.
They lay under thin black ice
one gone blue, the other grey.
I laid them out on grass
that snapped under my step
wrung their bodies warm and dry
gave them the gust of my breath.
Then I looked out at the morning
that lay lukewarm on the water
put on a tank top
arranged some grasses in a vase
fished two children out of sleep.