Category Archives: Quotes

As ‘t myn tiid is

Gurbe Douwstra is a Frisian musician from Drachten, the Netherlands. I ran into one of his songs on a social network, and it touched me. This is because I have lived the first half of my life in Friesland, a province in the Netherlands, with its own officially recognized language, which we proudly call Frysk. While I don’t speak it, it is still close to me.

By no means am I going anywhere – I like to think that I still have the vigor of life in me. But as the text is beautiful, I wanted to share it with those unfamiliar to Frysk. So here is my attempt to translate his song “as ‘t myn tiid is” from Frysk into English and Japanese.

Gurbe Douwstra's song in Frisian
Gurbe Douwstra’s song in Frisian

When it’s my time

When you miss me, have a need of me
or look for guidance, when you daren’t go further
then close your eyes, and stand still for a while
look in your heart, and know that I’ll be there

Don’t be sad, it is as it goes
all that lives, will one day pass away
But just believe me, I mean it sincerely
no single life, long or short, is for naught

So when it’s my time, grieve not too long for me
I’m not far away, I’ll always be near
I’m in your being, I’m in your blood … you’re my blood
Never forget this, my child, and everything will be alright





Carpe diem

I was watching an episode of Vikings, and there was a scene where King Ecbert was reciting a Latin poem to his daughter-in-law. It said:

Don’t ask, we may never know, Leuconoe, what the Gods plan for you and me. Leave the Chaldees to parse the sentence of the stars. Of expectations, life’s short. Even while we talk, time, hateful, runs a mile. Don’t trust tomorrow’s bough for fruit. Pluck this. Here. Now.

In my curiosity I looked for the original text, and found it was one of Horace’s odes, to be specific Ode 1-11. Its full text is here:

Tu ne quaesieris, scire nefas, quem mihi quem tibi
finem di dederint, Leuconoë, nec Babylonios
temptaris numeros. Ut melius, quicquid erit, pati!
Seu plures hiemes, seu tribuit Iuppiter ultimam
(quae nunc oppositis debilitat pumicibus mare
Tyrrhenum). Sapias, vina liques, et spatio brevi
spem longam reseces. Dum loquimur, fugerit invida
aetas. Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.

Now, the translation in the Vikings was probably meant to be poetic, and therefore slightly different. Also, the last few sentences in the translation refer to the last two lines of the poem, so the middle body has been cut out.

Here is how I would have translated Horace’s poem (with a little help from a few other sources):

Don’t ask, for we don’t know, what ending the gods
will give me or you, Leuconoë, nor try to make sense
of the Babylonian numbers. How much better it is
to accept it, whatever it will be. Whether Jupiter gives us
many winters to come, or whether this is the last one
(currently weakening the shores across the Tyrrhene
sea). Be wise, strain the wine, and for life is short
cut back on your far-flung hopes. As we talk, so flies away
our hateful age. Seize the day, with little trust in tomorrow.