This year Leeuwarden and Valetta are joint European Capitals of Culture.
Leeuwarden is the regional capital of Frisia, which has its own language, Frisian, the second official language in the Netherlands. They have a poet laureate in Frisia. He has to write 6 to 10 poems a year. His name is Eeltsje Hettinga.
Malta – the Assassinated Day
‘There are crooks everywhere you look now,
the situation is desperate.’ Journalist
Daphne Caruana Galizia (1964-2017), murdered
not far from Valletta, Leeuwarden’s dark sister city.
Under a moon full-grown and white
like a wild potato gone mad,
a man sits, half in darkness,
alone and smoking on his veranda,
floor strewn with advertising,
newspapers and brochures about temples
and cities and five-star hotels.
But grim is the news driven
by the machinery of death, the island
lays bare its whitewashed tombs.
A single bomb blew a car almost
over the mountains and left the tongue
that made life hell for Malta’s mafia
dead and charred. Like crows
the potato sacks took wing over hills
closely planted with seed potatoes from
Het Bildt. Ai, watch your back, Jack,
now night has fallen in Europe.
In the valley of death they torched the word
the way they once slid books into the flames.
Translation: David Colmer
That last stanza. I don’t know what the poet was thinking. But it makes me think of Nazi book burnings.