High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

Ulrike Burki: Berlin
Friday Verses

Ulrike Burki: Berlin

This week's Friday Verses are written by Ulrike Burki. We translated Berlijn I (Berlin I). This poem was first published in Dutch in Het Liegend Konijn, a magazine for contemporary Dutch-language poetry.

Ulkrike Burki (b. 1998, Antwerp) is studying Dutch and German Language and Literature at the University of Antwerp. Mostly she prepares papers on Charlotte Mutsaers, Ward Ruyslinck, Felix Timmermans and Stefan Zweig, but sometimes she also writes poems. About the babushka on her aunt’s bookcase, for example, or about Chaudfontaine and the very small girls in very big communion dresses. That has won her some prizes, including the Write Now! Audience Award in 2015 and inclusion in the anthology of the Turing Poetry Competition.



The city stretches out like a run-over pet, the houses here are domino-like and where the wall once ran there’s nothing left, a sign
that reminds us to be sure not to forget and against the sign a man, one hand in his trouser pocket, the other stretched out to take a selfie.

We visit places that can tell us much about the past and hence also about ourselves, teach us to recognise ourselves in every stone. In the evening we exchange the words of the audio guide for those of now and soon and later. In the hotel room I stretch the sheet into a white flag, only a breath of wind is needed to bring down the whole lot.

(Dutch version below the photo)



De stad strekt zich uit als een platgereden huisdier, de huizen hier zijn van domino en waar de muur ooit liep is nu niets meer,
een bordje dat ons eraan herinnert vooral niet te vergeten en tegen het bordje een man, de ene hand in zijn broekzak, de andere vooruitgestrekt om een selfie te nemen.

We bezoeken plekken die ons veel over het verleden en dus ook over onszelf kunnen vertellen, leren hoe in elke steen onszelf te herkennen. ’s Avonds verruilen we de woorden van de audiogids voor die van nu en straks en later. In de hotelkamer
span ik het laken tot een witte vlag, er is maar een zuchtje wind voor nodig om het hele spel omver te laten vallen

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