Here you can read a couple of reviews and some of Jaap’s poems translated in English, Slovenian, Russian, French and Spanish.

“No big words, but remarkable and simplistic language. Robben’s strength lies in his ability to combine gravity and lightheartedness, how he gives meaning to the ordinary, how he captures a moment in a few words and how he precisely strikes the heart of his subject.” – Mirjam Noorduijn – De Groene Amsterdammer

“Jaap Robben asks those stirring questions that are innocently concrete and philosophical at the same time. (…) infectiosly gets you thinking.” – Pjotr van Lenteren – de Volkskrant

“Poet Jaap Robben strikingly depicts the imaginative world of children. these written works of art also bring a smile to the faces of grown ups. Furthermore, the enchanting illustrations by Benjamin leroy eliven things up. A wonderful collection of poetry that tastes like the last piece of your favorite cake.” – METRO Belgium

Shall we start a forest?

Dig a hole

and plant your tree


next to mine.


They can shelter each other

from wind

when it storms


or can sit silently together

in Sunday’s sun.


And in the evenings

when they look at each other

through the eyelashes

of their branches

they already seem

to look like a forest.

Zullen we een bos beginnen? (De Geus, 2008) Translation by Brian Doyle


Our Car

Only this summer

our little car winked

cheerily at street corners.


Kissed poles and posts in parking places

and waved his windscreen wipers

at things he could barely see through the rain.


But ever since our camping gear

has been safely stowed away again

our little car stands lonesome in his garage.

He no longer wants to start

and he coughs when somebody turns his key.


Oily tears trickle and drip

to the floor among the tools,

the jerrycan and the paddling pool.


Without us noticing a thing,

after a summer spent hand in hand

driving through France and Switzerland,

he had fallen roof over wheels in love

with our pretty little caravan.


Onze auto uit Zullen we een bos beginnen? (De Geus, 2008) Translation by Brian Doyle


Has all our water once been tears?


Are my tears to be found

in the blue of the sea?

Do they mingle again

in the steam of my tea?

Or in the icy autumn rain

that drums against my window pane?

Maybe the one will meet the other

in an icicle, dangling from a tree,

or maybe they’ll only meet again

when they trickle down the cheek

of you or me.


Is al het water ooit verdriet geweest? uit Zullen we een bos beginnen? (De Geus, 2008) Translation by Brian Doyle



Our neighbour is a robot.

His name is Mr Chips.


He has gears in his ears that buzz when you speak.

And when he walks,

his knee joints click and squeak.


His walking was getting slower,

so the hospital doctors gave Mr Chips

a new pair of knees and two metal hips.


He is a robot, but he dresses like you or me.

And his favourite drink is a bottle of oil;

he never drinks coffee or tea.


Every evening at the kitchen sink

he oils his teeth

and then takes a drink


Yes, Mr Chips is a robot.

I’d always thought as much,

but now I know for sure.


Because last Wednesday afternoon

he suddenly fainted

and fell on the floor.


‘Not to worry,’ the doctor said

‘It’s metal fatigue, just rest in bed.

These iron pills will cure your ills.’


And if that’s what even the doctor says

and Mr Chips is made of steel,

then Mr Chips is not quite real!


Robot uit Zullen we een bos beginnen? (De Geus, 2008) Translation by Brian Doyle


Zvite Nogavice


Neumno, da ljudje

spravljajo nogavice v zapor

v temo svojih omar.


Jih zvijajo tako,

da jih strašno tiščijo,

v povratni salto,

flik-flak dvojno zavito

in skrito



Kot da se ljudje bojijo

da se ob priliki ne izgubijo


Ampak nogavic ni treba z zvijanjem moriti

saj brez naših nog sploh ne morejo hoditi






Iz zbirke: A narediva gozd?, De Geus, Breda, 2008

Knolletjes sokken uit Zullen we een bos beginnen? (De Geus, Breda 2008) – Translation by Draga Rinkema


Не  основать ли нам лес


Вырой яму

и бережно

посади свое дерево

рядом с моим.


Чтобы они в  непогоду


друг друга  от ветра.


Или молчали  вместе

на воскресном солнышке.


А вечером, глядя

друг на друга

сквозь ресницы


уже становились

похожими на лес.


Zullen we een bos beginnen? – Zullen we een bos beginnen? (De Geus, 2008) Translation by Nina Targan Mouravi


Две слезы


Маме случается всплакнуть,

две слезы, откуда ни возьмись,

а я сижу на лестнице,

жду, пока она меня заметит.


Тогда мама целует меня

и шепчет:


Слезы понимать не обязательно,

они приходят, и все тут.

И эти две – тебе.


Twee tranenZullen we een bos beginnen? (De Geus, 2008) Translation by Nina Targan Mouravi




Бабушка забыла мое имя, –

раньше она косилась

на шпаргалку,

лежащую у телефона,

путая меня с отцом,

братом, дядей.


А теперь, когда я

вхожу в ее комнату,

еще держась

за ручку двери,

она говорит: “А…


Бабушка забыла

мое имя.


MeneerDe nacht krekelt (De Geus, 2007) Translation by Nina Targan Mouravi


Comment nous sommes devenus voisins


Où nous nous trouvons, ça s’appelait


et le lointain



Jusqu’à ce qu’une ligne sépare soudain

notre herbe de celle des autres.


Un trait bien plus fin que rien

fit que dès lors nous fûmes pareils

et tout le monde au-delà

en réalité tout autre.


Hoe wij buren werdenTraduction : Daniel Cunin


De cómo nos volvimos vecinos

Donde estamos ahora se llamaba


y a la lejanía

le decíamos allá.


Hasta que de pronto una líneas

separaron nuestra hierba de la ajena.


Una raya aún más fina que la nada

dispuso que de ahora en adelante

aquende éramos iguales y que allende

eran todos en verdad muy diferentes.


Hoe wij buren werden Traducción: Diego J. Puls