Ik ben lekker stout

Ik wil niet meer, ik wil niet meer!
Ik wil geen handjes geven!
Ik wil niet zeggen elke keer:
Jawel mevrouw, jawel meneer…
nee, nooit meer in m'n leven!
Ik hou m'n handen op m'n rug
en ik zeg lekker niks terug!

Ik wil geen vieze havermout,
ik wil geen tandjes poetsen!
'k Wil lekker knoeien met het zout,
ik wil niet aardig zijn, maar stout
en van de leuning roetsen
en schipbreuk spelen in de teil
en ik wil spugen op het zeil!

En heel hard stampen in een plas
en dan m'n tong uitsteken
en morsen op m'n nieuwe jas
en ik wil overmorgen pas
weer met twee woorden spreken!
En ik wil alles wat niet mag,
de hele dag, de hele dag!

En ik wil op de kanapee
met hele vuile schoenen
en ik wil aldoor gillen: Nee!
En ik wil met de melkboer mee
en dan het paardje zoenen.
En dat is alles wat ik wil
en als ze kwaad zijn, zeg ik: Bil!

Annie M.G. Schmidt 1911 – 1995)
Uit: Ziezo,
Querido's Uitgeverij,
Amsterdam, 2006
Ik ben lekker stout is a mini paean to the delight of being wicked. Annie Schmidt has perfectly captured the pique of a young child that has heard the word ‘no’ one time too often. Balanced on the moral seesaw between desire and obedience, it wishes only to run off leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.

What makes Schmidt’s poem such a pleasure is the enumeration of crime upon crime, the devilish voice of the speaker, and the comic musicality of the meter, rhythm and rhyme. And of course Schmidt’s own indulged humour, recognisable to most parents, who try not to laugh, whilst attempting to correct their wayward offspring.

The translators of this poem have really taken up Schmidt’s example. The judges thoroughly enjoyed the sense of fun and inventiveness of the translators. There were so many excellent translations to choose from. It was with regret that we had to eliminate many. For this reason we ended up choosing two winners, David Colmer and Paul Vincent. Renée Delhez, and Sadiqa de Meijer also produced lovely translations.

The two winners are interesting in that they demonstrate entirely different approaches to the translation of the poem. David Colmer has captured the sense of fun in the original, inventing calumny upon calumny, and in doing so almost creating a new poem. Together with a number of the translators he felt the need to update the poem, whereby the milkman and his horse disappear. Paul Vincent follows the original more closely, but creates an equally witty and playful translation in English.

Paul Evans
For the jury.
Nice and Naughty

I’ve had enough! I’m not a lamb!
I don’t want to say hello!
I don’t want to say, ‘Yes, sir,’ – ‘Yes, ma’am,’
or hear about how big I am…
as if I didn’t know.
I’ll stay out in the yard all day
until I’m sure they’ve gone away!

I don’t want to eat that mushy rice,
I don’t want to brush my hair!
I don’t want to hear their good advice.
I want to be naughty, not nice,
and lean back on my chair,
and play pirates in the kitchen sink,
and finger–paint with Indian ink!

And when it rains I’ll go and dance
in puddles up to my knees.
I’ll poke my tongue out at my aunts,
’cause when I’m old I’ll have a chance
to say thank you and please.
And I’ll do everything that’s wrong,
the whole day long, the whole day long!

I want to jump on the settee
and cover it with grime.
I want to scream hysterically,
and take the dog to bed with me…
but I’ll say when it’s time.
That’s all the things I plan to do.
If they don’t like it, I’ll say, ‘Poo!’

Translation: © David Colmer, 2011

I’ve had enough, I’ve had enough!
I won’t shake their silly hand!
I won’t repeat the same old stuff.
If you want ‘yes ma’am, yes sir’ – tough!
No, never ever, understand?
I’ll tuck my hands behind my back
and stay tight–lipped – I’ll never crack!

I’ll throw my yucky porridge out,
I’ll never give my teeth a brush!
I’ll chuck the table salt about,
I won’t be nice, I’ll be a lout –
slide down stair rails in a rush.
At bath time I’ll play ‘shipwreck hell’,
spit on the lino floor as well!

I’ll stamp in puddles when it rains
and stick my tongue out at the sky
and cover my new coat in stains,
and for whole days I’ll take great pains
not to give a polite reply!
And I’ll do everything that’s wrong,
the whole day long, the whole day long!

I’ll climb the sofa at a bound,
with mucky shoes on, of course.
All day my screams of ‘no!’ will sound,
I’ll join the milkman on his round
and afterwards I’ll kiss his horse.
That’s my plan then, that’s the sum:
if they don’t like it, I’ll say ‘bum!’

Translation: © Paul Vincent, 2011
I’m naughty, yes I am

I won’t do this, I won’t do this!
I will not hold the door,
and say what the politest is:
Oh yes sir, no ma’m, thank you miss…
or shake hands, ever more!
I say no word and keep my hands
inside the pockets of my pants!

I do not want that nasty grit!
I do not want to floss,
but spray the mirror with my spit.
I want to be a naughty kid
and launch my apple sauce
and hide behind the berry shrub
and play a ship wreck in my tub!

And jump in puddles on the square
and kick the metal bin
spill ketchup on my underwear.
Tomorrow only, I told Bear,
will I behave again.
And anything that they call wrong,
I want to do it, all day long!

I want to race my dirty bike
across the Persian rug
and scream as loudly as I like
and catch a ride with milkman Mike
and give his horse a hug.
What do I want? Well, this is it.
And if they’re angry, I say: Shit!

Translation: © Jos Welie, 2011
I’m jolly beastly

I don’t, don’t want it anymore!
The shaking hands politely!
I will not say at every hour:
Certainly madam, certainly sir…
I’ll keep my hands behind me!
Forever now behind my back
all jolly and say nothing back!

I hate my oatmeal porridge, I guess,
my teeth I don’t like brushing!
And with the salt I like to mess,
beastly I want to be, no less,
like, down the banister rushing
and playing shipwreck in the tin bath
and spitting all over the floor cloth!

And I want to stick out my tongue
and stamp in every puddle
and soil my new coat all along
and get my p’s and q’s all wrong,
my words I want to muddle!
I’ll do things not nice, as they say,
the whole long day, the whole long day!

And I’ll jump on the canapé,
my shoes being very filthy,
and all the while keep screaming: Nay!
And with the milkman run away
and kiss his little filly.
And that is all I want to do,
and if they’re angry I’ll say: Poo!

Translation: © Peter Verstegen, 2011
Glad to be bad

I’ve had enough, now let me play!
I’m tired of shaking hands!
Why do I always have to say:
No Sir, yes Ma’am – all through the day!
I’ll tell you how it stands:
Behind my back my hands will be,
and not a word they’ll get from me.

I won’t eat gruel, it smells like pee,
I want to paint my hair!
And put some salt into the tea,
and be as bad as bad can be,
go riding down the stair,
play shipwreck in a tub, and more:
I want to spit down on the floor!

In puddles I will stamp my feet,
my tongue out all the way;
mess up my new coat when I eat,
and to the people I must meet
I’ll be polite … some day!
And all the things I shouldn’t do,
I’ll jolly do them all day through.

In muddy boots I’ll climb the couch,
and give them all a fright,
scream: No! a lot, make funny sounds,
go with the milkman on his rounds
and kiss his horse goodnight.
That’s all I want – just for a start,
and when they’re angry, I’ll go: Fart!

Translation: © Erik Honders, 2011
I’m happier naughty

I’m done with this, I’m done with this!
I’m done with standing straighter!
I won’t shake hands or give a kiss,
say hello mister, hello miss,
not now or even later!
I’ll hide my hands inside my sleeves
and I won’t speak until they leave!

I won’t eat yucky cream–of–wheat
and I won’t brush my teeth, so there!
I want to make a fort of sheets,
I’m naughty, do you hear, not sweet!
I want to slide straight down the stairs
and pour the salt out on the floor
and scribble on my bedroom door!

I want to stay out in the rain
and then stick out my tongue
and cover my new coat with stains
and not say pardon me again
until tomorrow’s done!
And I want everything that’s wrong,
all day long, yes, all day long!

And I will touch the radio
with very dirty hands
and I will keep on screaming: No!
And follow where the milkman goes
and tell his little horse she’s grand.
And that is everything I’ll do
and if they’re angry, I’ll say: poo!

Translation: © Sadiqa de Meijer, 2011
I am naughty

Don’t bother me, don’t bother me!
Don’t want to shake your hand!
No more you’ll hear repeatedly:
“Yes Madam” or “Yes Sir” from me
no, this is my last stand!
I will keep my hands out of sight
won’t answer and be impolite!

No yukkie oatmeal in a bowl,
don’t want to brush my teeth!
Want to be messy as a whole,
‘cause being naughty is my goal
the menace of the street
and playing shipwreck in the tub
and spit in daddy’s coffeecup!

And jump in puddles if I please
and then stick out my tongue
spill things on my new dungarees
and for two days I will not cease
doing the right things wrong
And all I should not do or say,
I want to do all day, all day!

I want to sit on the settee
with dirty shoes of course
I want to yell: No! constantly
Go with the milkman on a spree
and than I’ll kiss his horse.
And that’s about all for my part
And if they’re angry I say: Fart!

Translation: © Rob Oostenrijk, 2011
So there!

I’m sick of it, I’m sick of it!
Of sitting up and begging!
I’m sick of hearing day and night:
Say please, Say sorry, Be polite…
I’m sick of all that nagging!
I’ll scream, I’ll shout, I’ll spit, I’ll sneeze,
I’ll do exactly as I please.

I’m sick of horrid porridge pies,
I’m sick of being cuddled!
I wanna tell enormous lies,
and stick pins into butterflies
and jump in filthy puddles
and scribble pictures on the wall
and smash the windows with my ball!

And do a wee wee in the bath,
eat tons and tons of jelly
and kick the gravel on the path
and make a bonfire in the hearth
and scratch the doggie’s belly.
I only want to do what’s wrong
the whole day long, the whole day long!

And pluck the petals off a rose
and act all dumb and silly
and spill my juice and pick my nose
and fiddle with the garden hose
and wobble with my willie!
And that is all I want to do
and if they’re angry, I say: BOO!

Translation: © Renée Delhez, 2011
I am pretty naughty

No more, no more, no more, no more!
No longer shaking hands!
Whenever someone’s to the fore:
Yes, Ma’am, yes, Sir, that is a bore …
Nobody understands!
I’ll fold my arms, my face so stern,
and I’ll say nothing in return!

I don’t want yucky gruel for food,
I will not brush my teeth!
I only will when in the mood,
I will not be well–bred but rude
and go myself beneath,
and have the bathtub overturn
and spit in sails without concern!

And step in every puddle’s mud
poke out my tongue at all
the world. I’ll spot my jacket. Tut!
And I will keep my mouth right shut
and only two words drawl
tomorrow! And I want all day
what I can’t have in any way!

And on the sofa, I’ll lie down
with dirt upon my shoes
and I’ll scream: no!, and I will frown!
I’ll take the dairyman to town
and kiss the pony to amuse.
That’s all I want for years to come,
and if they’re angry, I’ll say: Bum!

Translation: © Andreas Grün, 2011
I am naughty, and I like it

I don’t want to, absolutely,
shake hands like I’m told I should!
Or to say ever astutely:
Yes sir, yes ma’am, never rudely.
Never again, even if I could!
My hands I keep right out of sight.
Don’t care if that is wrong or right.

I don’t want that awful porridge,
I don’t want to brush my teeth!
You can send me off to storage,
instead of healthy I’ll eat forage.
So what if it makes you seethe
if I play shipwreck and much more,
and if I spit right on the floor!

I pound in a puddle and make a mess
and then stick out my tongue.
Spill food and don’t worry about finesse
and talk so that it gives you stress.
Never polite, I’d rather be hung.
I want to do what I never may
The entire, yes the entire day!

I want to climb across the couch
With filthy, muddy shoes.
And scream all day “hey hey you slouch”,
It’s the milkman for whom I vouch.
To kiss his horse, of that I muse.
All I want is play in the muck
And if they get angry I’ll say “get stuck”.

Translation: © Earth Court, 2011
Ich bin schön ungezogen

Ich will nicht mehr, ich will nicht mehr!
Ich will nicht Händchen geben!
Ich will nicht sagen: Danke sehr,
Jawohl, natürlich, auch nicht mehr …
Nein, niemals mehr im Leben!
Im Täschchen steckt die Hand im nu,
und ich halt mir das Mäulchen zu!

Ich esse meine Suppe nicht,
ich will nicht Zähne putzen!
Ich schmier mir Farbe ins Gesicht,
ich geh auch nicht zum Unterricht,
will alles schön beschmutzen,
will in der Wanne Schiffbruch spiel’n
will spuckend auf das Segel ziel’n!

Und kräftig in die Pfütze rein,
und dann die Zung’ rausstrecken,
und kleckern und dabei laut schrein,
und übermorgen artig sein,
bis dahin mich verstecken!
Und ich will alles, was ich mag,
den ganzen Tag, den ganzen Tag!

Und ich will auf dem Sofa steh’n,
mit Schuhen darauf liegen
und immerzu im Kreise dreh’n!
Und ich will mit dem Milchmann geh’n,
vom Pferd ein Küsschen kriegen.
Und das ist alles, was ich will,
und gibt es Stunk, sag ich: Seid still!

Translation: © Andreas Grün, 2011