High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

Elma van Haren: 0.00/2000
© Ellen Vrijsen
© Ellen Vrijsen © Ellen Vrijsen
Poetry Week 2020

Elma van Haren: 0.00/2000

The Poetry Week is the celebration of poetry in Flanders and the Netherlands, taking place from 30 January to 5 February. In 2020, the theme is ‘The future is now’. Because we believe that children are the future, every day we present a Dutch children's poem in English translation. Today: 0.00/2000 by Elma van Haren.


I know nothing yet, but I'll see a century go by.
I am walls thick and high
at the edge of a wide sea,
but I know nothing yet
and joining in is not for me.

I know nothing, I can’t look
I am the stock in a cupboard brown.
I’m waiting, feeling my way down.
I am for later
cause no one to frown.

I want nothing, I have no ears.
I just roll over, the rolling thunder
with thunderhead and forked tongue.
But I have sought nothing at all
since I’ve never lost anything.

I’m a number with lots of noughts.
Of an empty century I’m the spring.
You’ll have to fill in your own time.
Not me! Why should I?
Boredom is not my thing.

I am the hole in your jumper,
the chink between doors,
the dark of your nostril.
I’ve no colours
Not white and not black I lean
against the window in daytime, at night.

I am the squeak in the cellar,
the creak in the attic
or – if you want –
the rustling under your bed.
I am not hungry or thirsty,
no pain or joy in my head.

I creep while you sleep into your head.
I am all you don’t believe in.
I’m without regret and grief’s pall,
for I know nothing yet and
want not a thing.
You not at all!

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