Those who hoard fire in their rooms
also hoard the temptation
to set themselves burning.
You feel sorry for the fire.
It fills your room.
I see your hand resting on the arm of your chair
see a cigarette burn down to your fingers
see you move in a reflex and my body
as the shadow of your pain
all that is falling taking shape
in the window and
the cigarette also.
The red of your mouth is beautiful
when you speak, beautiful the black
of the flame in your eyes.
Where there's fire, there's warmth for two.
Which words are following me
to help me find you again
in all that's burnt and
no longer recognizable?
By Jan Baeke
Translated by Antoinette Fawcett
From BIGGER THAN THE FACTS
by Jan Baeke
Translated from the Dutch by Antoinette Fawcett
Published by Arc Publications (2020)
Jan Baeke is a Dutch poet, translator, editor and curator, with nine poetry collections to his name. His latest collection, Seizoensroddel (‘Seasonal Gossip’), was awarded the Jan Campert Prize 2017. Bigger than the Facts appeared with Arc in 2020, translated by Antoinette Fawcett. Baeke is currently the festival programmer for Poetry International in Rotterdam.
Antoinette Fawcett is a translator from Dutch. After a career teaching English and world literature in the UK and several other countries, she returned to university to study for an MA and then a PhD in literary translation. Bird Cottage by Eva Meijer was her first full-length translation.
Photo by Lisa Kalloo
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