Set in stone in Leeuwarden

Rutger Kopland’s poem. Photo taken by me today.

Brilliant in simplicity. Rutger Kopland is my favourite Dutch poet as I must have mentioned before. He uses plain language that takes you places. In this poem he takes us to the place of the poem, Leeuwarden, then to himself.

Leeuwarden’s streets are filled with more and more poems to read. The tourist centre can provide you with English translations or you can look online. Some poems are in Frysian but most are in Dutch. This one’s in Dutch:

Een steen uit Leeuwarden

Je staat te lezen en daar staat
in Leeuwarden ligt voor mij
een steen en die is deze.

Maar nu je dit leest ligt hij
te zeggen in je hoofd ben ik
voor jou geen steen meer.
(my translation)

A stone from Leeuwarden

You stand reading and it states
In Leeuwarden lies a stone for me and that is this.

But now you are reading this,it lies
to say in your head I am
no longer a stone for you.

So difficult to translate because of the word plays in Dutch. The first stanza tells of the poet receiving a letter which tells him he a stone or tablet awaits him in Leeuwarden: that is this…

He then transfers the stone to a living soul because by reading the words of the poet the reader sees the poet and no longer a stone. Or that is my take on it.


Hi there,
it’s nice to meet you. This is Wilma. She was called Willem for a day.

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