The Tree

The tree my father grew
from his garden I take an axe

and branch by branch
I break the tree 

and set to work
the million maddened bits, 

the fire of night. 
Only for ash I keep.


Daljit Nagra

(English translation by Jan-Willem Ankers)

De Boom

De boom die mijn vader plantte
uit zijn tuin pak ik een bijl

en tak voor tak
breek ik de boom

en aan het werk
de miljoen gestoorde spaanders,

het vuur van de nacht.
Ik zorg alleen voor as.


Daljit Nagra

(uit het Engels vertaald door Jan-Willem Ankers)


In the closing paragraph of my introduction to this website I invite others to share in the pleasures of poetry. Today, still blushing following last week's posting of friendly panegyric, I crawl out from behind the settee to suggest there can be few better demonstrations of sharing than we find in the collaboration of six poets from Britain and the Netherlands, resulting in the bi-lingual publication from which I have chosen this week's poem by Daljit Nagra, a British/Asian poet translated by Jan-Willem Ankers. 

I am grateful to Five Leaves Press ( for permission to post this 'heart and head' poem taken from the 2006 publication By Heart - Uit Het Hoofd, edited by Victoria Briggs. It would be interesting to receive your thoughts after having read both the English and Dutch, to print and share them with others.

Poem posted Saturday 27th August.