Fermoy Continued – Tsead Bruinja Poem

I know it’s not Sunday, but I couldn’t resist putting up an extra poem by one of the poets that I met last week at the Fermoy International Poetry Festival.  Tsead Bruinja is a Dutch poet who writes both in Frisian and Dutch.  He did a great reading over in Ireland and a lecture on the Frisian language – I think he said there are only350,000people who speak the language and something like 4% of the speakers of the language can read or write? (see Tsead’s comments below this post for the proper figures!) But maybe I’m completely misquoting those figures – if he puts me right, I’ll amend this post! 

Tsead is a great guy and a wonderful poet and deserves to be much more widely read in this country than he actually is!

Tsead’s biog is underneath this wonderful poem, which is the first poem in his pamphlet ‘Tongue’ which has been translated from Dutch and Frisian into English by David Colmer and Willem Groenewegen.  If you would like to find out more information about Tsead, his website is www.tseadbruinja.nl


darling no one knows about the previous lives
in which we passed each other by or missed the bus
one of us was on or you were my sister my mother
and it was doomed between us because too many

years or a faith loomed up between us
sometimes the distance must have been as solid
as a continent with me for instance busy
inventing fires while you and your lover

were lighting candles on the other side of the ocean
am I holding you too tight again I don’t want
to crush you but I’m scared and glad at once that

nothing will ever come between us again beyond
this universe where we can’t come together because
it’s much too small for the sorrow of two becoming one

darling let time tear us apart as we die one by one
we will fight back with bridges of words

Tsead Bruinja is a Dutch poet who writes both in Frisian and Dutch. He was born in Rinsumageest (17-7-1974) and educated in Groningen, where he studied English language and literature at the University. His Frisian debut De wizers yn it read [The meters in the red] was published in 2000. In 2008, he published his fifth collection of Frisian poetry, Angel / Sting. His Dutch poetry collections are Dat het zo horde [The way it should be] (2003), Batterij [Battery] (2004), and Bang voor de bal [Afraid of the ball] (2007). Dat het zo hoorde was nominated for the Jo Peters Poetry Prize. Translations of his work have been published in several international magazines, such as Atlas (India/UK), Action Poétique (France), Mantis (USA) and Mentor (Slovenia). Tsead performs his work widely and lives in Amsterdam. In 2008 he was nominated to become the next Poet Laureate of the Netherlands.

3 comments on “Fermoy Continued – Tsead Bruinja Poem

    1. Thanks Tsead-you could tell I was listening ! I kind of, vaguely got the figures right-only out by a couple of thousand 🙂 sorry about that x I’ll amend properly

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