High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

Fien Leysen: Under Sheets
Friday Verses

Fien Leysen: Under Sheets

This week's Friday Verses are written by Fien Leysen. We translated Onder lakens (Under Sheets). This poem first appeared in Dutch in Het Liegend Konijn, a magazine for contemporary Dutch-language poetry.

Fien Leysen (Mechelen, b. 1989) is a theatre-maker and writer. She studied Language and Literature and afterwards Drama at the Royal Conservatory in Antwerp. Her degree project, the theatrical piece Wat (Niet) Weg is (What Has (Not) Gone) has already had 375 performances and can still be seen in Flanders. In 2021 she will also resume her second theatrical piece Wie We Zijn (Who We Are), and the Royal Flemish Theatre and deSingel premiered the theatre installation Numi Yaldati, which she created with the scenographer Manu Siebens. Leysen’s narratives for the stage constantly balance between poetry and prose. Besides theatre and audio work, Leysen occasionally writes poems and columns. (She hopes to publish a poetry collection one day.)

Under Sheets

With the lights out, love,
It seems as though everything is right.
The world quiet and from under sheets,
we think of future this and thats and growing old,
and everything is always right.

Leave the lights out, love,
we will see only what we want,
eyes shut, gaze upwards and in the distance

starry sky stickers on my ceiling
you say it’s romantic, and I say
it’s a realistic representation of our solar system, nothing more
but we know that it is right
and that we are nothing in the universe
stardust and still nothing
I murmur that it’s beautiful, and you shake your head,
it’s just what it is
but we leave the lights out
and we know better
that it all always starts under sheets,
in the dark,
both love and resistance
you turn round and press your lips into your pillow
I keep a hand on your back
try not to sleep
seek for proof
that the night
is just as short as the day
and everything is always
for just as long as it is

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