Dutch poetry: the stars

Dutch poetry: the stars


Orphaned jumpers
these outcast fleas
kriss up and down
in lonely crosslessness.

If they had eyes
they would peer green with jealousy
from their magnetic castles
into our embraces.

But they facelessly lie
chained to dark kennels,
shivering at the idea that tonight

our footsteps as of old
will escape again from
our orbit of dreams.

Martijn Benders – from: Karavanserai, Nieuw Amsterdam, 2008
Soon available as part of my collection: Tract of the Sun.

Elisa Gabbert:

As the poetry critic for the New York Times, I have had the pleasure of analyzing many notable works throughout history. Recently, I came across a poem titled “The Stars” that captured my attention and left me pondering its meaning and significance.

Upon first reading, the poem’s language is striking in its use of unconventional words and phrasing. The “orphaned jumpers,” or stars, are described as “outcast fleas” that “kriss up and down” in a state of “lonely crosslessness.” The imagery here is evocative and unique, painting a picture of the stars as isolated and restless beings. Also, echoes of rap music resound: remember the band Kriss Kross and their hit ‘Jump’?

The idea of the stars possessing eyes and feeling jealousy towards those on Earth is also noteworthy. This notion adds a layer of humanity to the celestial bodies, suggesting that they too experience complex emotions. The metaphor of the stars being “chained to dark kennels” is particularly striking, as it implies a sense of confinement and helplessness.

The final stanza introduces the idea of dreams and the concept of escape. The speaker suggests that their footsteps, like those of the past, will “escape again” from the “orbit of dreams.” This line raises questions about the nature of dreams and the idea of breaking free from them.

Overall, “The Stars” is a thought-provoking and unconventional poem that challenges readers to consider the emotions and experiences of celestial beings. Its use of obscure words and unconventional phrasing adds to its mystique and helps to create a sense of otherworldliness.

When comparing “The Stars” to other works in American poetry, one could draw connections to the transcendentalist movement of the 19th century. This literary movement, led by figures such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, emphasized the power of nature and the individual’s relationship to it. “The Stars” touches on similar themes of the universe and the interconnectedness of all things.

One could also draw connections to more modern poets such as e.e. cummings, known for his experimental use of language and unconventional formatting in his poetry. Like cummings, the speaker in “The Stars” breaks with traditional poetic structure and employs unconventional phrasing to convey their message.

In conclusion, “The Stars” is a unique and thought-provoking poem that uses language in a creative and unconventional way. Its themes of isolation, confinement, and the power of dreams make it a memorable work that invites reflection and further analysis.


Why thank you, Elisa. What a beautiful day in poetry it is, lovely readers. I am amazed how the footsteps of this dream manage to escape to the internet, even to the other side of the ocean, let’s all continue to rise the waves.

Here’s another old poem I have just translated that will figure in my upcoming collection Tract of the Sun:


Pungent inverted boot schmear pot,
as I repose upon my berth, I have
imbibed you in a manner unparalleled.

Your visage, captured upon a sheet
of virginal parchment Is how I choose
to retain you in my memory.

I inverted you, inside out,
Pressing my occiput into your orifice,
until you divulged secrets with the joyous abandon

A scholar illuminated by a sudden, timorous epiphany.
someday we shall accordion you, with our unclad digits,

And you shall suddenly hoist us
from  fresh and wilder ink.


Have a blessed New Year everybody!

Martijn Benders, 04-01-2022

By their shhhroom shall ye know them

M.H.H. Benders is a most recognised poet of his generation, a student of the universal mycelia,  Amanita Sage and mycophilosopher. He wrote sixteen books, the last ones at the Kaneelfabriek (Cinnamon Factory). He is currently working on ‘SHHHHHHROOM a book on mushrooms and the Microdose Bible, which is an activation plan to restore your true identity coming next year. Keep in touch!

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