Ysabell's Poems Page- Nis Randers


This one is more unknown than many in the collection, but it is well worth reading:

Nis Randers

by: Otto Ernst

Thunder and howling, a surf-roaring night;
lightning affords but an instant of sight-
a scream through the tempest!

And when the skies burn, you can see it quite clear:
a ship hit a sandbar and now it is near
the brink of destruction!

Nis Randers squints hard and looks out to the sea:
"There's a man on the mast and he can't get free!
We've seconds to save him!"

His mother grabs hold: "You're not going out there!
You're all I have left now. Please, don't even dare!
I beg you, as mother!

"The sea's claimed your father and kin, one by one,
more than three years missing is Huey, my son,
my Huey, my Huey!"

Nis tries to break free, but she will not let go;
he points to the shipwreck and says calm and slow:
"He, too, has a mother."

Then he leaps to the boat, and with him six more,
all of true Friesian* blood. Each one mans his oar,
they smash through the breakers!

The boat hits a crest, then it falls out of sight!
It turns and it twists in a duel of fright;
it can't last much longer!

The sea's like wild horses that foam and that rear,
like man-eating dragons that strike every fear;
all snorting destruction!

Each wave leaps the other in violent clash!
They writhe and they froth to the thunder's great crash!
Where are they? WHERE ARE THEY?!--

Three strikes of lightning!!! The bolts just soar!
What's that--A boat that's headed for shore!
It's them . . . and they're coming!

All eyes are strained toward the rescue band . . .
Hugh!-- Is someone shouting?-- Yes, through cupped hand
"Tell mother,-- it's Huey!"

--Translated and adapted into English by Peter G. Czerny

* Freisland, a province in the northern Netherlands

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Night and Day

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