English Texts

Here you’ll find all English texts together.

BG 151 – Wagging Weightlessness (Tautogram)

why would we wonder
while whole worlds with wings
wrestle whoever, whatever, whenever
wholeheartedly willing wonderment

witty window-ledges wither with
words written where wildlife wanes
what will withdrawal waste
when wild winds want womanhood

women whose wisecrack wisdom
wills wonderful well-aimed worlds
within wintertime wondrous walls
while wilderness wantingly waits
wagging weightlessness

BG 148 – Populist politicians

The political debate was once a – combative – exchange of points of view and arguments of representatives of the people in order to reach agreement in the interests of the people. Nowadays it seems to be a stage for megalomaniac narcissists to present themselves to their followers.

Populists are people who manipulate you (frighten and reassure you) for their own sake and for their own popularity, through lies. Fortunately, democracy doesn’t end when populist leaders tell untruths. Most of the politicians and journalists just keep doing what they are supposed to do and keep refuting. This also gives the people the opportunity to pierce through shameless inaccuracies.

It is not out of malice that people (especially online) get trapped in a narrow-minded group bubble of conspiracy theorists and propagators, but rather out of stupidity, confusion and fear, as we as humans are confronted with accelerating changes in our society, and with large and sometimes frightening global challenges, such as the destruction of nature, climate change, globalization and far-reaching automation. Denial of reality (burying your head in the sand) and longing for a romanticized past then seem attractive options. And modern technology is driving the growth and maintenance of such virtual bubbles.

If we want to make more progress in politics and tackle the problems that come our way efficiently and decisively, we will have to burst those bubbles. We will also have to reduce the number of political parties to a workable minimum and open up again to the views and arguments of the other. The other who thinks and lives differently than we do, but is therefore not our ‘adversary’. The political debate must again focus on reaching agreement in the interest of the people. Not the self-interest of the political leaders, but tackling the most urgent problems must once again be top of the agenda.

Use your common sense and don’t believe nonsense, however appealing and comforting it may sound at times, such as: ‘Global warming is a fabrication of our adversaries’. Instead, think about what you can do as a step in the right direction. Because if all people take such steps, we can achieve a lot together. Much more than politicians talking out of their necks.

BG 147 – Autumn, autumn, what do you have for sale?

Way back in the 1960s, when I was in kindergarten (in The Netherlands), we learned a song that I still hum silently every fall. It goes like this:
‘Autumn, autumn, what do you have for sale?’
Weird question right? So even back then we were preoccupied with commerce.
‘A hundred thousand leaves in a heap.’
One hundred thousand was synonymous with ‘many’. Looooots of leaves in a heap. Or actually several heaps. Heaps that didn’t last long, because, so it goes on:
‘Bags full of wind.’
Bags full of wind? Bágs full of wind? It seems to me that the writer of the text really lost it here. You sometimes bagged those leaves to carry them away, but the wind wasn’t bagged, was it? Whether the songwriter meant garbage bags or the pockets of our jackets or trousers, there was no wind in it.
The wind blew freely around us, almost blew us upside down, roared around our house at night, tousled our hair, made our eyes water and our noses run. But wind in bags? I don’t think so.
So: ‘Bags full of wind. Yes my child.’
Well songwriter, I don’t know who you were, but you certainly weren’t my father or mother.
‘I hope you like that.’
And of course we kids ‘liked that’. We thought it was fantastic!
Autumn with its tumultuous wind and rain, with its impressive dark clouds flying high in the sky, with all those beautiful dying leaves being blown from the trees and other exciting hobby materials falling to the ground: acorns, beechnuts and chestnuts.
We dried the most beautiful fallen leaves between old newspapers, with heavy books on them. At our house – my parents didn’t read books – old telephone books were used, they were heavy too.
We learned a lot of songs in my early years in school, some of which, like this one, will be etched in my memory forever.
One more time then (in Dutch):
‘Herfst, herfst, wat heb je te koop?
Honderdduizend blaadren op een hoop.
Zakken vol met wind, ja mijn kind,
‘k hoop maar dat jij dat wel aardig vindt.’

Translated:
‘Autumn, autumn, what do you have for sale?
One hundred thousand leaves in a heap.
Bags full of wind, yes my child,
I hope you like that.’

BG 145 – 100 Words Fiction

Two steps

He nearly broke his neck when late at night on the small wooden stairs in front of the bookcase on his right tiptoes he reached for a thick old book on the top shelf. When he had regained his balance and stood firmly on the steps again, he opened the book in a random place. Strangely enough, it felt as if the open page had been calling to him all evening. The text described an elderly man who excitedly leafed through an antique book and discovered very valuable information in it, just before he made a fatal fall.

BG 144 – Random Questions

May I ask you something? Can you tell how many sides a room has? Have you counted the inside and outside? Do you wear a wedding ring? If not, would you like to wear a wedding ring? Do you like frogs or do you think they are disgusting? Can you play chess? Do you practice a team sport? Do you like to eat broccoli? Would you like to eat broccoli if it was orange?

BG 142 – Sentence

She had her mind set on it and she couldn’t help but think she would and had to buy them, even if she had to first save up for it for months, and I just didn’t understand, and then she didn’t understand me in return, in an angry way, and I couldn’t understand why she wanted to make herself disabled deliberately, wanted to make herself vulnerable, why she wanted to limit herself so that she couldn’t get away quickly if she had to, why she would choose to not be able to walk or stand without staggering and without pain, and she thought that was utter nonsense, why from now on she would only want to walk on uneven paving stones holding onto the arm of someone else, probably a handsome man, which seemed like a good idea to her, and why she felt that she would be much more attractive if she forced her body into an unnatural position, but she thought it was not that bad; and why on earth she wanted to appear four inches taller, because what was wrong with her own height and posture, she thought herself too small and too unnoticed; and I simply couldn’t understand why she was willing to deal with that discomfort and pain, why she would from now on after going out throw those things into a corner, cursing and tending to her latest blisters and wounds over and over again, but she thought that was ridiculous because greatly exaggerated; and I just couldn’t understand why she was willing to spend so much money on things that were bad for her body: for her feet, her joints, her back vertebrae and neck vertebrae; because they were so beautiful, she claimed; and I just couldn’t understand why she thought she would get all the attention she craved, and she thought that was a stab in the back, if from now on she were to squeeze her feet into overpriced shoes with sky-high stiletto heels; and what on earth was wrong with that, she asked, and why I was bothering with it, she asked angrier, and I asked her what on earth was wrong with just being able to walk without pose and pain, and what was wrong with feeling comfortable in your own body and with facing people, men, without unnecessary vulnerability and submission, to face them strongly and proudly instead; but I guess she didn’t hear me anymore.

BG 141 – The Swing Realm

“Not too high on that swing!” shouted an unfamiliar male voice behind her. But she didn’t care. The construction creaked every now and then, but it was able to support her almost mature body just fine. With her hands tightly wrapped around the rough ropes, sitting on the smooth-worn oak plank, she swung her legs straight forward and hanging in the ropes with the wind through her hair she went higher and higher.

At the highest point she felt for a moment like her intestines made a little jump, then she swung back down again. Past the lowest point she pulled her feet up toward the plank. High up at the back she hang motionless for a split second before whizzing forward again with even more speed and stretched legs, pulling on the ropes.

She went higher and higher. She felt like she was flying, like she was being released from the ground, from this playground, from her old neighborhood, from her narrow minded home.
Woohoo! Higher and higher! Forward – stretch, backward – fold.
Stretch – fold, stretch – fold, stretch – fold.
She could already look over the trees in the distance and see miniature houses and tiny cars and tiny people moving.
A sense of ultimate freedom washed over her.

“Not so high on that swing!” the same male voice called from behind her. Oh no? …

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BG 140 – Haiku (EN)

head absorbed in phone
luckily just avoided:
homo appicus

BG 138 – Your path

Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today. You are not that other person. That other person does not follow the same path as you and does not take the same turns. Make your own choices. Choices that will take you where you want to go, or take you away from where you no longer want to be. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday and see if you are on the right path today. Your right path.

BG 137 – Average city folks

look at them go
between the houses
offices, apartment buildings, high-rises
over asphalt, along concrete
hurried, rushed, stressed
constantly surrounded by
noise, light, bustle
traffic, commerce
traffic jams, air pollution
their gaze and attention on
their electronics

barely aware of
their own inner self, let alone
of nature, of the
wonder of the universe
that surrounds them
of life itself …

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BG 136 – Music and Time

One of the reasons we humans love music so much is that it gives us a grip on time. The time that often makes us feel powerless, by flying by relentlessly. We grasp it with music, connect it to tones, to rhythms and to melodies. We give structure to time and arrange it so that we can enjoy it. The basis of music is usually a fundamental rhythm, much like our heartbeat, or, on a grander scale, the coming and going of hours, days and seasons. That rhythm, that variable beat, dictates the tempo and keeps track of time for us. Precisely because life is so fleeting, we naturally like patterns and repetitions, recognizable rhythms and arrangements and unexpected deviations from them. Music influences our heartbeat and triggers emotions in us. We can influence our perception of time with the help of music and shape it to our own pleasure. And, unlike clock time, which is already behind us before we are aware of it, we can experience music over and over again whenever we want.

BG 133 – Special Compliment

Special compliment from the deputy director, when she was his secretary and went through his mail with him:
‘Wait a minute, stop working, I’ve been wanting to ask you this for a long time: why are you on that side of the desk and not on my side?’

BG 132 – 100 Words Fiction

Damn tree with shit birds

Lying on his back, in the young grass, under the curly hazel.
The branches move gracefully in the wind. The leaves are bright green, the sky above blue, the sheep clouds cute white.
He shuts out the city noises, concentrates on the twittering of the birds.
Magpies, magpie-birds. There are two in the curly hazel every day.
The same every day? He doesn’t know, he can’t tell them apart.
She will not come again. Not today, not tomorrow, not all summer.
She will never see the magpie-birds with him again.
Goddamn, right in his eye!

BG 130 – Curb our greed

What if we stop producing and consuming a lot of unnecessary products? Those products that are produced only to keep the economy going and to fill the infinitely deep pockets of the rich industrialists. Especially disposable products.
What if we focus on what we really need and produce that in the most sustainable way possible?
That we make considerations: better a little more of this and a little less of that.
On the Earth’s surface that we now use to produce meat, especially beef, we can grow a hundred times as much plant-based food.
That way we also remove a lot of carbon from the air, instead of adding more to it.
We don’t necessarily have to become vegetarians, after all we are omnivores by nature, but a few days a week without meat will do us no harm, if we make sure that we get the nutrients we miss that way through other products.
What if we strive for a circular economy, in which waste materials form the raw materials for the production of other, sustainable products?
In which we give away what we no longer need to …

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BG 129 – Why healthy?

I used to live in a time when you still
had to answer yourself for healthy living,
instead of unhealthy.
A time when you ate (sweets) without limits,
because diabetes was only for old people,
and you were naturally slim.
A time when you had to come up with
strong arguments not to smoke
and to refuse to drink alcohol,
(and to read many books and
to enjoy doing your homework.)
Healthy living was still for wimps back then.

BG 128 – Special Compliment

Special compliment from a visitor:
‘I have looked at your blog and find it beautiful and interesting!
But it seems like something goes wrong when I look at it: all I see is black and white and gray, the colors seem to have disappeared.
You better fix that.’

BG 126 – Love for language

Many people don’t like to read anymore.
Books, long texts, never mind!
Give us passive entertainment
and short summaries.
TLDNR (too long, did not read).

We prefer to be on social media,
we prefer gaming, we watch movies,
we stream series.
There’s nothing wrong with that. But…
we don’t (like to) read anymore.
As a result, we lose language skills
and our pleasure in reading.

We are falling behind …

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BG 125 – 100 Words Fiction

New route

This time everything was different. The route, the feeling, the arrival time, the destination. She walked along the deserted track and felt the cold rain, but in the distance there was always the mountaintop, sometimes shrouded in mist or watered by rain, more often silvery gray in the distant sunshine, while she walked in the shadows. Last time, on the previous route, she was he. He walked elsewhere, in another time, towards another fate. Initially, today was more promising, more challenging, but in the end still normal, as always. She walked close to where he used to walk.

BG 123 – Birthday

Today I turned 58 years old.
You can’t call that middle age with the best will in the world, unless you believe I’m going to live to be 116 years old.
I am already well over halfway and already quite worn out, but I have learned many wise lessons.
That we ourselves determine the meaning of our lives, for example.
That we should not let other people determine who we are and what we should do with our lives.
That life consists of time, that it is finite, that it seems to go faster and faster.
That we ourselves also consist of time and are therefore finite. That this finiteness makes life worth living, makes it precious.
And that we can give meaning to that fleeting time by …

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BG 122 – A thriller in 33 words

His heart beat fast and sweat stung his eyes.
He pressed his back against the rock face and heard the stones fall.
His shoes barely found grip on the remaining patch of ledge.

BG 121 – The power of the (old) white men

The fact that straight white men – including those who should have retired long ago – are mostly in charge of our society is not (as they themselves and also many women believe) due to their superior brains and their superior strength and ingenuity. On the contrary.
The fact that white men think they are automatically entitled to all top positions in politics, in companies, in clubs, and at home, is because they are, well, pretty stupid.
And they are thick-skinned.

There are many things that (old) white men don’t realize.
For example, that women are generally better at leadership and at dividing their attention over several important matters at the same time.
That women are better at detecting and analyzing problems, at finding creative solutions, at choosing the most effective and efficient solution, and at planning its implementation.
That women are less inclined to aggression, violence and to pushing through their own opinion, and that they listen better. That they not only listen to what is being said, but also to what is not spoken aloud.
That women attach less importance to…

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BG 119 – Lightning

(Dialogue between two middle-aged women on a bench in the countryside.)

– About last night.
– Yes?
– Late last night.
– What about late last night?
– I thought I heard something then.
– Oh?
– Yes.
– And what did you think you heard then?
– Stumbling.
– Stumbling…
– Yes. Stumbling in the distance.
– Hm.
– It came from your place.
– Oh?
– It sounded near to your house.
– Oh. It sounded near to me, that stumbling?
– Yes.
– That’s possible of course.
– Did you hear it too?
– What time was it exactly?
– I don’t know. By midnight, I think.
– So, you were still awake at midnight?
– Yes, I couldn’t sleep.
– I was wondering. You normally go to sleep early, don’t you?
– Yes, that is true. But yesterday it didn’t work.
– That’s a pity.
– Yes.
– So….

(silence)

– But did you hear it too? …

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BG 118 – Random Questions

May I ask you something? Do you have tattoos? If so, where? Do you regret anything? Do you prefer a beautiful expensive car or a cheaper one that is more economical? Can you draw a circle freehand? Do you often travel by public transport? Do you remember how toothache feels? May a cat sit on your lap? Do you prefer to eat white bread, brown bread or whole wheat bread?

BG 116 – Tolerance

We humans tell each other stories.
In fact: our civilization is made up of storytelling.
Unfortunately, the stories about everything that is wrong with the world are constantly and enthusiastically told and shared, while the stories about everything that is pretty and going well with the world receive much less attention.
Because apparently, we get less excited about them.
We pay more attention to what makes us angry.

The result of that unrestrained anger is a culture in which people no longer understand the other, have no feeling for the past or context.
A culture in which groups of people quickly feel victimized.
Our collected stories, …

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BG 115 – Haiku (EN)

between the rubbish
of the fierce last winter storm
timid small crocus

BG 111 – Special Compliment

Special compliment from a personal trainer, many years and extra kilo’s ago:
‘You have very strong abs!
Too bad they are invisible behind that thick layer of fat.’

BG 110 – Thoughts on the internet and social media

There is nothing inherently wrong with the internet and social media.
They are very useful and popular.

But because politics, education, healthcare and legislation always lag behind technological developments, especially since the exponential growth that is inherent to digitization, a number of things have been messed up.
– A handful of computer geeks have become absurdly rich with the introduction of the internet, online commerce and social media. It’s time we pump those extreme riches back into society. We could even use that money to solve climate problems and restore nature.
– That same handful of computer geeks have become far too powerful for lack of appropriate legislation. It is high time we gave that power back to our elected representatives.
– A large group of users of the internet and social media have inadvertently become addicted to dopamine kicks, addicted to shopping, victims of psychological problems and/or convinced of extreme and incorrect ways of thinking.

But now back to the technology.
The internet is a wonderful system that gives the majority of people access to almost all existing knowledge. We all benefit from that.
Social media were created to facilitate and revolutionize our social interaction. That also worked out well.
But not in the way we envisioned.

Guess what? …

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BG 108 – Word Puzzle

Put a letter in front of each word to form another word (in your mind or on a piece of paper).
If you did it right, those first letters form a new word vertically.

_  angle
_  pen
_  men
_  night
_  able
_  gain
_  core
_  lapse

Solution:

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BG 107 – Haiku (EN)

winter at the hearth
thick book gentle in both hands
glowing adventure

BG 105 – Kitty from Hamburg

Just last week he had called her. She had sounded cheerful.
“No, no, no, don’t!” she’d yelled, laughing.
“What’s that, aunt?”
“I was talking to Kitty from Hamburg.”
“To who?”
“My kitty!” she laughed, “I was talking to my kitty!”
“Ah okay.” That spoiled rotten cat of hers…
“She ran off with my bead again, hahaa!”
She had always been a little strange, his great-aunt.

And now she was lost.
This morning she hadn’t come to drink a cup of coffee with her neighbors, the Nose couple, at her usual time. She didn’t answer the phone, the newspaper was still in the mailbox, the back door still locked, and she didn’t even respond to the doorbell.
Oh my, oh my.
Couldn’t he come by with the spare key? …

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