Freedom in English by Martin Cleaver


If being free is: you shut up
because I have something to say

If being free is: you behind bars,
so we don’t need to be afraid
of you being different
in what you do or don’t

If being free is: strictly shaping
tomorrow by turning today
into a lesser day

If being free is: closing doors
to observe freely on a monitor
all that should be safely away
If being free is: always sleeping softly
because others’ tongues have been
maliciously cut off

If being free is: eating what you want and when
but dropping the peelings in daily papers
in which starvation is concealed

If being free is: not having to know
what liberated me, what keeps me free, what
imprisons me in freedom every day

If freedom is: waiting until another
frees me from fears in which
I have absolute faith

If freedom plasters my thoughts
If freedom wafts all around me
and inside me,
but can’t be captured by you

If freedom protects me
against your ideas that are
far too different for me

If freedom to me today seems
so natural, and you can’t
get the meaning

Then freedom is tails for me and
heads off for you
Then freedom is air and arbitrary

But may I be free
to abandon
some of my ample freedom – if
both sides agree of course –
temporarily or for a longer time
in order to free you
from my suffocating freedom

Marion Bloem

English translation by Martin Cleaver