On Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 December, poet Tsead Bruinja, musician Zea and photographer Rosa van Ederen visited care center De Flecke in Joure with guest poet Bart FM Droog. They made personal portraits with and for the ladies Knol, Feenstra-Sijbesma, Van der Meulen and Ten Boom-Dam. The visit to De Flecke is the end of Portraits in Poetry. Tsead about the series: “Without support from the Lira Fund, the Dichter des Vaderlands foundation, Leeuwarden City of Literature, the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Dasja Koot (formerly assistant Dichter des Vaderlands), the residents and all the dear employees of the various residential care centers would have we can’t do this. Thanks!”

Tsead about the visit to De Flecke: “After an evening of leaving voicemails looking for a replacement for Iduna Paalman who had fallen ill with the flu, we had a bite in the morning on our way to Joure. As we passed Emmeloord, Bart FM Droog’s girlfriend answered the phone in Eenrum, Groningen. ‘Barthomoleus’ was first called towards the horn by his girlfriend Noor, then convinced by us, after which he took a shower and then jumped into his car. He arrived at residential care center De Flecke just in time for coffee with sûkerlatte. De Flecke was the last stop of a tour that started in January 2020 in Dokkum. Instead of an eleven-village tour, our tour has become a tour of one city, nine villages and a spot. ‘Stain’ is the term used, according to wikipedia, “for settlements with urban characteristics that are not a city”. Joure was our first stain. It was also the first residential care center where the contact person, Marijke Thibaudier, wrote a poem herself. Arnold sang a life song inspired by Leonard Cohen for Mrs Ten Boom-Dam, Rosa visited her grandparents’ old house with Mrs Van der Meulen where she used to skate. Bart FM Droog managed to capture in words the zest for life and positive attitude of Mrs. Feenstra-Sijbesma. He later e-mailed: “After the performance, she and two of her daughters turned out to be very pleased with the poem. It was very special to me how she is remarkably optimistic about life. Despite the fact that her husband, to whom she has been happily married for sixty years, lives in another care home, so they can only see each other once a week. This country needs more people like Ineke.” I myself spoke to Mrs. Knol, who talked about how well she once could aim. When a carpenter teased her as a schoolgirl when she emptied a gutter, the wet sludge hit his face. Another example of her keen eye can be found in the poem.”

Listen to the song ‘De ballonnen efternei’, about resident Margje Dam, written and composed by Zea.

View a selection of the photos Rosa made of the workshops (by Tsead, Zea and Bart with residents) and the final presentation:

Read the poems Tsead and Bart wrote about the residents:

View some of the photos Rosa made as a portrait of Mrs Jannie van der Meulen:

Rosa: “Jannie van der Meulen has lived in Joure all her life. That afternoon we went out together through the streets where she had walked as a little girl. That is how we ended up at the house that has been in her family for 150 years and where Jannie’s youngest sister now lives with her husband. It was very sunny and cold weather, very good skating weather. Jannie liked to skate as a girl, with her three sisters she went over the locks of Joure on Frisian doorlopers. At the house on the Molenpad cried her pake. “Catch Famkes!” and threw pieces of cake on the ice in front of them. When the sisters skated on to their other grandfather and grandmother, about 20 kilometers away, split pea soup had to be eaten. Because she was so hungry she ate it, but rather Jannie left the soup, the skins of the peas from the own garden were still in it and she was horrified by that. It was a beautiful afternoon walk with the frost still on the plants where a lot of beauty could be found ‘if you only want to see it’, as Jannie said.”