Friday, February 14, 2014

WHITE SHEETS IN THE WINDOW (Witte lakens in het raam) – A Poem for a Lost Child

                 A POEM FOR A LOST CHILD



The woman of Urk stares out into that oblivion,
Beyond the mothering rock; pleading,
And behind her, White sheets in the window;
Waiting for the tears to wring.

Witte lakens in het raam

De vrouw van Urk staart uit in dat oblivion,
Voorbij de Ommelmoerstien; pleiten,
En achter haar, Witte Lakens in het raam;
Wachten op de tranen te wringen.

© R. Derham 2014

Note: In memory of two young Dutch friends lost to the sea off Sheep's Head, West Cork, in the storms of 10 February 2014. R.I.P.

White sheets tied up in the windows of houses are a traditional solemn notice of a death on the former fishing island (now part of mainland) of Urk, in the Netherlands.

I am attaching a Google Translate/MWB version of the poem. My Dutch language ability is negligible but many people from the Netherlands have brilliant command of English and if any Dutch-speaking readers of the blog would like to suggest a better translation, more in tune with the sense of what I am trying to convey in english, please feel free to contact me at

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