Mustafa Stitou
Selected Poems

 

Translated by David Colmer and Willem Groenewegen

 

FOREFATHERS, DOWNSTAIRS NEIGHBOURS

 

Some forefathers, we now know, dreamed God

and from this our world of finite things came forth.

It was they who once offered a child to something

all-powerful and invisible.

We also know that some dogs -

That some people begin to resemble their pets

after a while. Sometimes

it's absurd to look at, mostly it goes unnoticed.

My downstairs neighbours, childless as it happens,

always hold my shopping and ask me in a hushed

voice whether they're bothering me and if they can

help.

Other forefathers were at a loss what to do with death

or birth for that matter, in every new-born child they saw

a dead forefather. And the confused faith they founded

has been haunting our genes ever since;

my downstairs neighbours have confided to me they will

and wish to reincarnate as mild-mannered animals, as bees.

 

 

Translated by Willem Groenewegen from

Varkensroze ansichten [Pig Pink Postcards], De Bezige Bij 2003

 

 

MOTHER TONGUE

 

Cr-ksh

   Cr-ksh

Cr-ksh cr-ksh

Cr-ksh

(Ewes, ewes, are you coming?)

 

(Goats, goats, are you coming?)

h-tch h-tch

h-tch h-tch h-tch h-tch

   h-tch

h-tch h-tch h-tch h-tch

 

(You coming, cow?) haash

haashhaash

haash

haash

 

(Cat) bshbsh

   bshbsh

bsh

bshbshbsh

 

(Wanting the dog

wouldto drop it get lost

she shrieked)

eh-dep!

   eh-dep eh-dep!

eh-dep!

 

 

Translated by David Colmer from

Varkensroze ansichten [Pig Pink Postcards], De Bezige Bij, 2003

 

 

PIGHEADED

 

- So, what do we see?

- A rabbit of course!

- A rabbit. And?

- And? I see a rabbit.

- And also a . . .

- I told you, a rabbit!

- Duck.

- Duck?

- Ears, beak, see?

- I only see a rabbit.

- And a duck.

- A rabbit!

- Duck!

- Rabbit!

Rabbit rabbit rabbit!

 

 

Translated by David Colmer from

Mijn gedichten [My Poems], Vassallucci, Amsterdam 1998