Thursday, 17 March 2011

Poem by the Danish writer Klaus Rifbjerg

In Bellman’s time

Carl Michael Bellman
often felt quite atrocious
in the morning.
Carl Michael Bellman wanted
so much to have a quick drink
but knew it just wasn’t on.
Carl Michael Bellman’s mornings
were prosaic,
then he wrote poetry.
With seething stomach and liver
like a stone
Carl Michael Bellman sat
in his cold room and would have
given almost anything
for a glass of hock
or to see a tankard full of ale
but he stood his ground.
Carl Michael Bellman’s fingers
were sore and it hurt
to play the lute.
He played and looked out over
the chimney-topped roofs and the wet snow.
He said to himself:
Give up now, Carl Michael Bellman
throw your pen down now
and give up,
sell your lute now and mull
a glass of red wine with cloves
the devil take the lot of it.
He felt quite atrocious in the morning did
Carl Michael Bellman
To hell with you, Ulla & Movitz
it said inside his head
though on the paper different music came
(Your health, comrades, your health, dear sisters!)
and in the evening things were a bit better.

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