Gerry van der Linden







Tomorrow the sea will fall backwards

ebb will drink flow

without warning

the sky will let rip


we’ll be left behind in the sand

threadbare angels

dissident angels

without all-day passes


tomorrow the wind will turn

without mercy

driftwood will capsize

nothing amazing ahead


we’ll be left behind in the sand

with peeled bodies

tainted thighs

dredged mouths




Martha Rudzka waking up

regarding household 


a chair with three legs

a table without a top

a paper without stories


pamphlets bread sausage

presidential candidate pyjamas

cut sheets


measly bread

her clothes

vetted breasts


early morning light

a man without shoes

unsmoothed hair


a smile appearing honest

soft pats on her thigh

her empty case


empty household

empty clothes




Fatima S. has disbanded her body


familial rules

in honour of sun public days

nothing worth doing

in personal pitch black


no name to support her

voice nor child the latter

on her heels unrest on off

jumps up from sleep


head heart

ageless house as serving hatch

ageless dismissed mouth


screaming costs money energy woman


veil to lie beside




Honey-mouth jumps out of bed

there lies the town

a stone recently thrown

such a pleasant day

honey-mouth Dutch tulip

with her yellow silk headscarf

camel boys watch out!

cans of Arabian coffee

thud in the sun




honey-mouth closes her eyes

her feet careful

relieved the front door swings

bong! the church bell strikes

good morning honey-mouth

her stomach ramadans

her head bumps heaven

not rose-coloured

clouded faces in fact




shut up honey-mouth!

nice lies tap fire

what to call truth?

how does she feel? warm cold?

why doesn’t she speak?

more she wants to taste


how much truth does

a veiled kiss eat?




A man sweeps the pavement

why his wife left him

he does not know

sweeping the pavement

makes him happy

a child won’t go to school

stops at his feet crying

the man sweeps it away

a cool morning breeze blows down the street




A woman fits a dress

why her husband left she does not know

fitting the dress cheers her up

a man passes the shop

sees her whirling in the window

the woman takes off the dress

here there beyond

dresses walk containing women

that don’t fit




Across the street

a tree is being cut down

branches lie on the quayside

the tree falls with a thud

light falls on the stones

four men in orange overalls

fasten steel cables around its bark

it is hoisted

the tree passes the window

the room disappears in its shadow

the men yell

the tree passes through the sky

which is blue as a doll’s eye




A woman in torn clothing

cries heart-wrenchingly

by the store’s revolving door

a married couple comes to a halt

muslim woman sprains her ankle

bags rush past the shopping route

the woman points her sobbed-on claw

at the striped sleeve of a man

listen up where did you get that child?




The city a hanky

down at heel filthy

pigeons scoff

trees flee

trams catch loudly

on the city’s grooves

in the supermarket the whores

on half-mangled step-ins

morning men

remainder the morning

kids bounce off


the city a hanky

not picked up


the city





all poems translated by Willem Groenewegen, 2007



Poems from Glazen Jas (Coat of Glass; 2007)

First 9 from cycle ‘Rumoer’ (Bustle) pp. 39 – 48











Gerry van der Linden‘s first poetrybook The Note was published in 1978. The critics wrote: young, fresh poetry with a vunerable, philosophical touch. Overwhelmed by the attention she left for the USA and started living and working in San Francisco for four years. She translated and read her poetry with Alan Ginsberg and others. Her second poetrybook came out twelve years later in 1990;  Fall on the edge and contains intriging poetry of life and death in a sharp, passionate and playfull language. She is also a prose writer. In 1992 she wrote her first novella Envelop and in 1995 the novel Wind, which startled the critics by its unusual structure, different style’s of writing and poetry all in the same book. Nowadays she’s working on new poetry and short stories, titel Agfa Click.


Publications: 8 poetrybooks, 3 novels


1978 poetry: The Note, 1990 poetry Fall on the edge, 1992 novella: Envelop,

1993 poetry: At my hand of feathers, 1995 novel: Wind, 1997 poetry: Sandglass, 1999 poetry tale/with cd: The girl Lila and the Signs of Time, 2000 novel: Dagger, 2001 poetry: Way out, 2004 poetry: Good people, 2007 poetry: Coast of glass.


Gerry van der Linden was for three years a member of the board of the Dutch PEN (international organization of Poets, Essaysists, Novelists), teaches Poetry and Literature at the University of Amsterdam and is personal coach for many upcoming writers. She also works as a visual artist. Her work is translated into English, German, French, Turkish, Bulgarian and Indonesian. In and out of Holland she is a respected, well-known poet and writer. Website

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