Sunday, 10 June 2012

Poem by the Danish writer
Inger Christensen

                Poem about death

nothing has happened
     for days i have been sitting
          with the paper in front of me
               but nothing happens

i am like a child that
     is fed on sorrow
          i lift my arm
               but can write nothing

i am like a bird that
     has forgotten its peers
          open my beak
               but can sing nothing

it feels so strange
     shameless to think
          of death when none of those
               one knows has died

it means that each time
     one looks oneself in the mirror
          one looks death in the eye
               without crying

as if it was a clear
     completely intelligible answer
          but to questions
               one does not dare ask

i can write nothing
     the paper is empty as yesterday
          it seems so introverted
               whitish and still

the same whitish colour
     as snow when it gets old
          and the frost-crust cracks
               but nothing trickles out

nothing no tear
     no snowdrop nothing
          just think if we were
               not to die

just think if we could
     always be here on the earth
          what earthly state
               could then be called death

and what death be called life
     when the soul of the blind man
          shows the whites
               of his eyes and sees

last night i dreamt
     i was dead and came running
          with my dog
               into the realm of the dead

there was nothing to be seen
     only stones and a few bushes
          a landscape the travellers
               have often spoken of

as mentioned i was dead
     but so tired that i soon
          fell asleep on a rock
               and dreamt i died once more

i would rather not die
     here in the darkness of this realm
          but in my own home
               where i was not dead

so on my way back
     i settled on the rock
          for days i sat
               writing as here

all the death
     a normal human being
          has to go through
               in the course of a life

when i woke up i saw
     that nothing had happened
          the paper was empty
               but i was breathing quietly

it feels lonely thinking
     about death in december
          with the shroud of the clouds
               around one’s house

in the park the menacing
     light beneath the trees
          every kind of the dead
               walking around the town

one with a fish
     that he helplessly
          mourns for
               with a fisherman’s tears

one with the bird
     in distress that he carries
          close to his heart
               his defunct heart

one with a word
     that has lost its object
          the abandoned words
               that a body shakes off

the body whose blood
     runs away from its brain
          the body whose heart
               is cold as a knife

     amongst the stars
          we scream
               from inside the coffin

the words die
     on our lips
          the body is an animal
               that is to die

in wild grief
     i suddenly recall
          the garden of eden
               the open wounds of the graves

the zinc watering can
     the metal vase the rake behind the stone
          and the autumn swirl of starlings
               in squalls through the air

the swirl where the world
     of the dead and the non-dead
          meet in the consolation
               of the great inconsolable

write about death
     describe in a poem
          what you feel
               concerning death

in the face of death
     i am like an animal
          and the animal can die
               but can write nothing

try to write
     a poem about death
          does death have any meaning

now that the apples
     fall so far
          from the tree of knowledge
               that they are

not eaten out of inclination
     and not out of hunger
          but out of tired desire
               death is alone

now that the apples look like
     models of apples
          ideal apples
               without blemish

now that the worm may gnaw
     in the breasts of other
          than human children
               death is repressed

take death by the hand
     give it an apple
          go over to its grave
               and take a bite of the apple first

the words die like flies
     their corpses everywhere swept away
          from the white paper
               give the dirt a little room

that which is new-born is like
     a supernatural creature
          that only when stricken
               with illnesses looks like

a human child
     give us room to love
          a mortal form
               of immortality

like the depths lift the water
     up to a source
          death lifts the living
               up to drink

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