High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

Anne van Winkelhof: Growl
Friday Verses

Anne van Winkelhof: Growl

This week's Friday Verses are written by Anne van Winkelhof. We translated Grom (Growl). This poem was first published in Dutch in Het Liegend Konijn, a magazine for contemporary Dutch-language poetry.

Anne van Winkelhof (b. 1991, Spijkenisse) is a writer, presenter and performer. She graduated in Dutch Studies in 2014. She enjoys writing and talking about language, literature, culture and her attempts to function as a human being in modern society. She publishes her poetry in such magazines as Hollands Maandblad, Het Liegend Konijn and Hard/Hoofd, and reached the final of the 2019 NK Poetry Slam. She was a winner of the 2017/2018 Holland Maandblad incentive scholarship in the poetry category. Since 2017 there has been a dustcart (from Roteb) driving around Rotterdam sporting the following line of Anne’s: do you remember what you looked like/and especially how differently the world looked.


You’re more free of natural laws.
Not a stray wild animal, that is more
what I see in the water:
red eyes, lips chewed to bits and
looking away, always looking away.

Just grab a flame and come hunting,
stuff me in your trap and beg me
to leave my home behind:
bunch of home-made
branches, earth, droppings,
remnants of broken
men, our children hiding high
in trees (or hidden away?)

With a branch I draw an arrow in the air
towards leaves under toes,
present myself a-straddle and
feel the roots on fingertips.
The ants see a nest in me.

You remain someone without laws,
take off your clothes, blow
the insects away and spit between my legs.
I growl and look nowhere.

(Dutch version below the photo)


Je bent losser van de natuurwetten.
Niet een losgeslagen wild, dat is meer
wat ik in het water zie:
rode ogen, kapotgebeten lippen en
wegkijken, altijd wegkijken.

Pak eens een vlam en kom jagen,
stop me in je val en smeek me
mijn thuis achter te laten:
bos van zelfgemaakte
takken, aarde, uitwerpselen,
restjes van kapotte
mannen, onze kinderen in bomen
hoog verstopt (of weggestopt?)

Ik teken met een tak in de lucht een pijl
naar bladeren onder tenen,
presenteer mezelf in spreidstand en
voel de wortels aan vingertoppen.
De mieren zien in mij een nest.

Jij blijft een mens zonder wetten,
trekt je kleren uit, blaast
de insecten weg en spuugt tussen mijn benen.
Ik grom en kijk nergens heen.

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