Featured Writer Erik Lindner: ‘One Poem’

The sea is purple at Piraeus.

A flag creeps out of the campanile
when the wind turns.

A man steps over a dog.
A woman stoops to rub her eyelid.

In an umbrella shop an umbrella falls off the counter.

A pigeon perching on a narrow branch
falls off, flutters, and settles again.
The berry out of reach at the end of the twig.
The branch that bends, the ruff that bulges when the pigeon shuffles along.

A girl gets on the metro with a desk drawer.

On the thick sand by the breakers
an angler slides his rod out horizontally
a bike beside him on its kickstand.

He stands with legs apart as if he’s peeing.
Birds’ footprints in the sand.
The rod arches over the sea.

– Erik Lindner

translated from Dutch by Francis Jones


De zee is paars bij Piraeus.

Een vlag kruipt uit de klokkentoren
als de wind draait.

Een man stapt over een hond.
Een vrouw wrijft gebogen over haar ooglid.

In een parapluwinkel valt een paraplu van de toonbank.

Op een smalle tak zit een duif
die erafvalt, fladdert en opnieuw gaat zitten
de bes die te ver op het uiteinde van de twijg zit
de tak die doorbuigt, de kraag die opbolt als de duif verschuift.

Een meisje stapt in de metro met een bureaula.

Op het dikke zand aan de branding
schuift een visser horizontaal zijn hengel uit
een fiets staat naast hem op de standaard.

Hij staat wijdbeens alsof hij plast.
Vogelpootafdrukken in het zand.
De hengel kromt boven de zee.

– Erik Lindner


This untitled poem by Erik Lindner was first published in his fourth collection of poetry, Terrein (De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam, 2010). It has since been translated into several different languages and was published on lyrikline in 2014 and the Poetry International Web in 2016. The original poem in Dutch, alongside the translation into English by Francis Jones, has been republished in Rochford Street Review with the author’s permission.


“The more I travel, the more I notice that poetry in every country, means something different. And then I mean, not only what it consists of, even where that is understood. In every country, poetry is presented differently, it takes another place in the culture. What is understood by poetry seems to say something characteristic about that culture. I gather impressions that illustrate this idea: experiences, anecdotes, messages and letters. Images of what I find in the street, meetings. Sometimes it’s not about poetry at all.”

– Erik Lindner


Erik Lindner reads ‘De zee is paars bij Piraeus’ (Literaturwerkstatt Berlin, 2014) published on lyrikline: https://www.lyrikline.org/en/poems/de-zee-paars-bij-piraeus-5879#.WgfG-MaWbIU


Erik Lindner. photograph by Gerald Zörner
Erik Lindner. photograph by Gerald Zörner

Erik Lindner, poet, writer, and literary critic, was born in 1968 in The Hague, Netherlands. He has published five volumes of poetry, including his debut collection, Tramontane (Uitgeverij Perdu, 1996), and the novel, Naar Whitebridge. His most recent collection of poetry, Acedia, was published in Amsterdam by De Bezige Bij in 2014. His poetry has been translated in several different languages; with translations of his poems appearing in poetry anthologies published in France, Germany and Italy, and on Poetry International and lyrikline. Erik is editor of Terras magazine [http://tijdschriftterras.nl/] and lives and works as a freelance writer in Amsterdam.

website: http://www.eriklindner.nl/



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