Three Poems by Leen Raats

Three Poems by Leen Raats

Beyond these mountains

What lies beyond these mountains

rests within me, deep and low

an unspoiled valley

where mythical creatures

with unearthly motives

lead late travelers to their destiny.

This world within me

where red deer graze

in oak leaf-filtered evening light.

Their noses steaming, the fur

on their flanks moist, their hooves scraping

over humus, moss, and childhood dreams.

The sound of a crackling twig

turns their muscles into granite.

In these deciduous forests, old pains resurrect

like fairy rings as the days get shorter.

The pine forests are even older.

It’s where the dead like to dwell, their footsteps muffled

by a carpet of needles.

I feed them memories that linger

between dead straight trunks, cold and silent.

Unwillingly, I keep them alive.


What I want to tell my inner child

You are safe now I’m here

muscles grown, back straight,

fists ready.

No one will harm you.

I know it hurts, still

how you were not seen, not allowed to be there

but I see you. I see you.

Don’t worry about me

I’ve been hardened by empty days

alone in an attic room

in a house without a mother

under a blanket of grief.

I know, it feels like no one loves you

but I’m here. I see you.

I see you.


Signs of life

After all these years you still don’t know

how to live, just like every night you

seem to have forgotten how to fall asleep.

It feels indeed like falling

into the arms of the unknown

that you should have been familiar with by now.

Still, on the first day of spring

you dip your toes in soft sand

like a child’s finger in chocolate spread

rolling up your sleeves, exposing as much brittle winter skin

as possible, turning your face to the sun

as if to say I’m ready, just bring it on.

The warmth however soon becomes so obvious

that you find yourself behind glass too often

engrossed in work, fake news and pseudo-life

letting the day pass by

reading e-mails without attachment

saying ‘see attachment’.


Leen Raats (born in 1984) lives in Belgium. She runs a copywriting business, writing about

nature, landscapes, and history. She self-published books in Dutch and won several writing

contests in Belgium and the Netherlands. Her English publications include Pleiades, 34

Orchard, CrannĂ³g, and Anthra Zine. Find out more at

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