Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Nine collections of Klaus Høeck in English translation!

The Danish Royal Library website with nine complete collections of poetry by Klaus Høeck is now up and running again here:

Monday, 23 May 2016

Ah yes, recognise this? A Høeck poem from 'Legacy'

       WHAT the bleeding hell
is the name of the man? – can
       tarello or is

       it parabellum
musarelli maybe? – or
       scarletto? what the

       hell is it with all
those italian instruct
       ors? – scorsese i

       exclaim to a be
wildered man in the co-op
       ah – that’s what IT was

Sunday, 22 May 2016

A Benny Andersen poem about preservation

The poetics of preservation

As a boy I kept caterpillars
was very fond of them
preserved one during the occupation
picked from the hedge a caterpillar
a fine fat multicoloured privet hawkmoth caterpillar
with a black crooked horn behind
put it in a jam jar
with a supply of privet leaves
with a lid of perforated greaseproof paper
but instead of munching away
it became motionless
the fine colours
the wriggling fatness
became wrapped up and hidden
in a lifeless colourless pupa.

I placed the glass
at the back of the larder
autumn passed
winter passed
it was forgotten
there were other things to think about
Hitler and Rommel
with Eisenhower and Montgomery
spring drew nearer
one spring day mother called out
A mouse a mouse there’s
a mouse in the larder
you must get rid of it right away

A flapping sound from the bottom of the cupboard
a wing-span larger than the jam jar
a beauty that demanded the whole universe
full of paternal pride I let out
my young privet hawkmoth into the light
just wait
soon you will get to see both the dark
and all the stars you have deserved

old and bereft of parents
I often resort to the same method
preserve fat wingless poems
in dark drawers for months
miss my mother
deputise for her
listen expectantly terror-stricken
to the foreboding flapping from the dark of oblivion
that announces liberation is near
that the poem is now on the wing

Thanks for the m(o)use

Thursday, 19 May 2016

'Det är sent på jorden' - Ekelöf poem in English translation

cosmic sleepwalker

the trees undress the stars start to fall
the cold yellows the leaves that scrape the great horizon of
         the sunset.
the withered leaves fall softly over broken eyes that
         forever stare into the sky’s extinction.
the withered leaves settle softly over the eyes of the blind
         child and over the hands that grope in sleep and hunt
         for shells among the stones on the shore
and in the sunset’s bloodshame the memory of the time lives on
         when i myself was blind as a child and my dreams
         were a child’s dreams.
now it is late on the earth, and fate is already sealing my eyes
         but the dreams transform me once more into a child
         that hunts high and low for shells in the twilight that
         falls over the deserted nursery of the shores
and listens to the beautiful waves burst into tears against
         the blind stones of the shores
the world is deserted and bare before the sea and dusk cast
         a veil over my threadbare despair and the sea is
         far off in front of my feet
deep down there the fishermen sleep soundly amongst their shells
help me to search help me to search for the sake of love and
         the tears transformed into pearls deep down in the sea
the stars are already falling mesmerised like questions from another
         world and the autumn wind answers with oracles from the trees’
         branches distant as the sea and the stars
distant as a motionless thought in the stars’ grey heads that
         blindly since time immemorial have pondered the invisible
help me to search help me to search for my own shell that
         i love blind as a child for the hope of life’s pearl
         help me to search before it’s all over
my final breath is already disappearing as vapour amongst seaweed
         and starfish and my face becoming hazier and hazier as
         in a mist disappearing slowly like a moist profile
         in the sand
a bird falls silent and a half-closed flower whispers words from a
         wilderness that neither sees nor hears i am falling
         falling into eternity distant as the sea and
         the stars
help me to search help me to search for the sake of love and
         the tears transformed into pearls down in the sea
my longing blows away the clouds from horizon’s temple
         distant as the autumn wind or my final breath that
         is disappearing among the stars distant as the stars
         in the sea
and the beautiful waves that all are each other’s sisters
         wash away my footsteps in the sand and burst into tears against
         the shore’s blind stones
help me to search for my own shell that has disappeared in the sea
         of eternity and the great indefinite that i love blindly
         like a child for the hope of life’s pearl
lonely lonely as a pillar on the plain and blind as a child
         whose loneliness the never-ending mother sings softly to
tired and meaningless as an answer without question or a question
         without answer.
the trees undress the stars start to fall
         it is late on the earth.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

On writing poetry - Klaus Høeck (Legacy)

       i don’t like it when
a poem comes out just right
       encloses itself

       in a jewelcase
of lovely words and telling
       images and be

       comes verse of uni
versally approved beauty –
       and that all and sun

       dry hasn’t been swept
in under language’s car
       pet (cheating) – got it?