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Feature: The Low Countries
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Astrid Lampe

4 Poems from «Spuit je Ralkleur» (Spray your RAL Colour)

Translated by Willem Groenewegen

This piece is about 4 printed pages long.


on the spot then

grand galleons see them set to sail the
load to be hauled ashore with might and main
from back to back lifted to fore to aft
up to where the cursor winks this
wheelchair friendly threshold right? this
ditto folding screen from behind which

                        from behind which I

from behind which I hinging pliantly were to describe the fell sleeve of
the shirt of Valmont fragrant
in all scents and sizes that flared flirt sleeve of the
masculine shirt belonging to him right, Valmont
the buzz and boast of ít: my masheen
the buzz and boast of ít: this chrome foot across
this dial ouch

this wave this ell
so .pliantly .falling .flowing .streaming .shiv’ring fabric

the boast of trumping me
of the masculine shirt

even before it’s in state

speed bump, liquid threshold, state!

up to where the cursor winks
that he ignores as by and large he does everything here

every cloth-covered button or nose-cold border.
with a single wet little finger (actually uninhibited)

lingeringly spinning little curves                 brushes from table

phoenix phallus phoenix
phoenix phallus phoenix

roll up your sleeve eve
would describe, pussy: Fore! Aft!-
dear dear

dresses me down to a tee


voda voda
my bum just won’t be stashed away in a portacab’
you also force a derivative form of sitting on me

no scratch-proof powder coating not me
my capt’n finger knitted me this cloth
bulls-eye right ho leave that climate control to us no worries
voda voda: the forest a single force

oh my gawd, the sun spots rippled away with us so comfily

to our lodge

not scratch-proof
not bulls-eye
but to a man going for the humph us
you betcha target
scoffing along with the 3D-bite of the sun


shake down your coat of mail
please make way on the bridge
this pattern of stains is immersing itself
in the delicate mechanism of the sucking lamb nò nò
don’t strike capt’n dear, snatch it from me

rather sought the flutter than the verdure
reconcile yourself with soured coverings perhaps
prednisone: that folder’s empty!

I crack the bridge till I hoarse and coarse
flea water (flea water?)
are these your crutches perhaps

sorry those
zone of silence seized me by the throat by ’eck with
a thousand antique fans legs ribs at once I won’t play down that smell
you came en masse (merci)
his stern trawler my larking about right
now! snatch it from me love, belowdecks
the pattern of stains is already shaking down their coat of mail oh

what where and when and when me capt’n dear but —


jack the nodder in and jump up by chance

this broad brogue

tastily knitting data in line
with slick underwater-panorama shots coming into bud tongue tonguing
tons of oil

wet in wet yes pet

the so in-intimate
sheer blue air cushioning fresh pecked crocuses just now
fresh peck

yes jack that nod…

this also takes my biscuit
but the base as well
of everyone’s sturdy beard-tugging singer singer sewing masheen almost
after zing zing!

and spray wie (deutsch) my new york bravest

Thanks to the Foundation for the Production and Translation of Dutch Literature for supporting this translation.

Astrid Lampe

Astrid Lampe

Astrid Lampe was born in Tilburg, the Netherlands in 1955. Her first collection, Rib, was published in 1997, followed by De sok weer aan (‘The sock on again’) 2000 and De memen van Laura (‘Laura’s Memes’) in 2002. Spuit je Ralkleur (‘Spray your RAL colour’) appeared in 2006.

Translator Willem Groenewegen was born in Eindhoven, the Netherlands in 1971. He grew up in Britain, and was educated at the University of Groningen. A specialist poetry translator, his major translation projects include Arjen Duinker’s selected poems 1988–2000 (The Sublime Song of a Maybe, Arc Publications, 2002) and Rutger Kopland’s new selected poems, What Water Left Behind (Dublin, Waxwing Poems, 2006). He was guest-editor of a special issue on contemporary Dutch poetry for the South African poetry journal Carapace (no. 53, June 2005).