Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Babs Gons

GO BACK TO YOUR OWN COUNTRY

Go back to your own country
Greet yourself at the border
Welcome yourself
On your own soil
Your country
Where the dust of the earth
The heat of the asphalt
The noise of life
come together in your own midriff

Go back to your own country
Set foot on your own soil
Deep within yourself
Lay your hand on your capital city
Take a long breath
In your suburbs
Where the streets
Are named after your true heroes
Go back and be
Your own country

Know your own country
Always just behind your eyes
Tucked away
Just below your chest
Between your thumb and index finger
Never be a foreigner
Because all of this is your own country 

I’m going back to my own country
Set foot on my own lands
Full of tales of ancestors
Where the spilt blood
Brought forth deep-rooted oaks
That hold me upright among the
Remnants of plantations
Overgrown with thistles and cover-ups

Let us go back to our own country
Make the soil belong to everyone again
Let everything that has been trampled on
Grow again upwards to the sun
Let us purify the air
With camphor, coconut, lemon
Burn sandalwood and sage
Listen to the legends
Learn to listen to silence once again
Under the sequoia, the baobab
The ceiba tree
Amidst the noise
Link the voices of those who went before us
With the soil
The sky
The rivers

Come back to your own country
Greet yourself at the border
Welcome yourself
On your own lands

Always keep your country
In hand’s reach
Somewhere just behind your eyes
In the roof of your mouth
Even amidst bleak concrete
Let your feet dance softly on the earth
Make sure there are always
Enough herbs growing in you
Enough sand under your fingernails
That the magic of the wind
Can always find you
That you never forget the language
Let the country speak to you

Don’t ever forget
That all this
Is your own country

Know your own country
Always just behind your eyes
Tucked away
Just below your chest
Between your thumb and index finger

Never be a foreigner
Because all this is your own country

GA TERUG NAAR JE EIGEN LAND

GA TERUG NAAR JE EIGEN LAND

Ga terug naar je eigen land
Begroet jezelf bij de grens
Verwelkom je
Op je eigen gronden
Jouw land
Waar het stof van de aarde
De hitte van het asfalt
Het rumoer van het leven
Samenkomen in je middenrif

Ga terug naar je eigen land
Zet diep van binnen
Voet op eigen bodem
Leg je hand op je hoofdstad
Haal diep adem
Door je buitenwijken
Waar de straten
Zijn vernoemd naar je ware helden
Ga terug en
Wees je eigen land

Weet je eigen land
Altijd vlak achter je ogen
Opgevouwen
Net onder je borstkas
Tussen je duim en wijsvinger
Wees nooit een vreemdeling
Want dit alles is jouw eigen land

Ik ga terug naar mijn eigen land
Betreed mijn gronden
Vol verhalen van voorouderen
Waar het verspilde bloed
Diepgewortelde eiken voortbracht
Die me rechtop houden tussen de
Resten van plantages
Overwoekerd door distels en doofpotten

Laten we terug gaan naar ons eigen land
De grond weer van allen maken
Weer naar de zon laten groeien
Wat is platgetrapt
Laten we de lucht zuiveren
Met kamfer, kokos, citrus
Sandelhout en salie branden
Luisteren naar de legendes
Onder de sequoia, de baobab
De kankatrie
De stilte weer leren horen
Tussen het geruis
De stemmen van zij die ons voorgingen
Ons verbinden met het land
De lucht
De rivieren

Kom terug naar jouw eigen land
Begroet jezelf bij de grens
Verwelkom je
Op je eigen gronden

Draag je land
Altijd binnen handbereik
Ergens vlak achter je ogen
In je gehemelte
Laat zelfs tussen het kilste beton
Je voeten zachtjes dansen op de aarde
Zorg dat er altijd
Genoeg kruid in je groeit
Genoeg zand onder je nagels zit
De magie van de wind
Je altijd kan vinden
Je nooit de taal vergeet
Laat het land tot je spreken

Vergeet niet
Dat dit alles
Jouw eigen land is

Weet je eigen land
Altijd vlak achter je ogen
Opgevouwen
Net onder je borstkas
Tussen je duim en wijsvinger

Wees nooit een vreemdeling
Want dit alles is jouw eigen land
Close

GO BACK TO YOUR OWN COUNTRY

Go back to your own country
Greet yourself at the border
Welcome yourself
On your own soil
Your country
Where the dust of the earth
The heat of the asphalt
The noise of life
come together in your own midriff

Go back to your own country
Set foot on your own soil
Deep within yourself
Lay your hand on your capital city
Take a long breath
In your suburbs
Where the streets
Are named after your true heroes
Go back and be
Your own country

Know your own country
Always just behind your eyes
Tucked away
Just below your chest
Between your thumb and index finger
Never be a foreigner
Because all of this is your own country 

I’m going back to my own country
Set foot on my own lands
Full of tales of ancestors
Where the spilt blood
Brought forth deep-rooted oaks
That hold me upright among the
Remnants of plantations
Overgrown with thistles and cover-ups

Let us go back to our own country
Make the soil belong to everyone again
Let everything that has been trampled on
Grow again upwards to the sun
Let us purify the air
With camphor, coconut, lemon
Burn sandalwood and sage
Listen to the legends
Learn to listen to silence once again
Under the sequoia, the baobab
The ceiba tree
Amidst the noise
Link the voices of those who went before us
With the soil
The sky
The rivers

Come back to your own country
Greet yourself at the border
Welcome yourself
On your own lands

Always keep your country
In hand’s reach
Somewhere just behind your eyes
In the roof of your mouth
Even amidst bleak concrete
Let your feet dance softly on the earth
Make sure there are always
Enough herbs growing in you
Enough sand under your fingernails
That the magic of the wind
Can always find you
That you never forget the language
Let the country speak to you

Don’t ever forget
That all this
Is your own country

Know your own country
Always just behind your eyes
Tucked away
Just below your chest
Between your thumb and index finger

Never be a foreigner
Because all this is your own country

GO BACK TO YOUR OWN COUNTRY

Go back to your own country
Greet yourself at the border
Welcome yourself
On your own soil
Your country
Where the dust of the earth
The heat of the asphalt
The noise of life
come together in your own midriff

Go back to your own country
Set foot on your own soil
Deep within yourself
Lay your hand on your capital city
Take a long breath
In your suburbs
Where the streets
Are named after your true heroes
Go back and be
Your own country

Know your own country
Always just behind your eyes
Tucked away
Just below your chest
Between your thumb and index finger
Never be a foreigner
Because all of this is your own country 

I’m going back to my own country
Set foot on my own lands
Full of tales of ancestors
Where the spilt blood
Brought forth deep-rooted oaks
That hold me upright among the
Remnants of plantations
Overgrown with thistles and cover-ups

Let us go back to our own country
Make the soil belong to everyone again
Let everything that has been trampled on
Grow again upwards to the sun
Let us purify the air
With camphor, coconut, lemon
Burn sandalwood and sage
Listen to the legends
Learn to listen to silence once again
Under the sequoia, the baobab
The ceiba tree
Amidst the noise
Link the voices of those who went before us
With the soil
The sky
The rivers

Come back to your own country
Greet yourself at the border
Welcome yourself
On your own lands

Always keep your country
In hand’s reach
Somewhere just behind your eyes
In the roof of your mouth
Even amidst bleak concrete
Let your feet dance softly on the earth
Make sure there are always
Enough herbs growing in you
Enough sand under your fingernails
That the magic of the wind
Can always find you
That you never forget the language
Let the country speak to you

Don’t ever forget
That all this
Is your own country

Know your own country
Always just behind your eyes
Tucked away
Just below your chest
Between your thumb and index finger

Never be a foreigner
Because all this is your own country
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère