Friday, 3 April 2015

A poem by the Danish writer Peter Laugesen


This morning
the roaring whisper of the sea.
The song of the birds.
and the necessity of crafting.
The carefree clouds play in the wind.
Stars by the thousands
glittering small
pebbles on columns of sand.

The children wake up
in a burning language.
A forest after the storm.

Where do they come from
and where are they off to?

The night’s weightlessness
broke like a flood
into their eyes.

They fall out
of open textbooks
like sunshine.

I hear
what the withered trees
have to say.
The grass
runs up the slopes.

A white bird and four
small black pebbles,
gleaming with salt water,
guard sleep’s open door.

The seaweed’s writing
illegible –
one day perhaps
an archaeologist whose fate’s an early death
will solve the mystery –
a lost language
that an unruly younger sister
has flung away on the beach.

Words drift across the paper like clouds in the sky
and their shadows drift through the mind.

Walk westwards along the shore
and turn left southwards
at the first drop of rain.
Take the first path eastwards
till where the yarrow’s in flower
and turn southwards again along the stream,
and you’ll come to our spot.

The sand flies
like white ants
on the wind’s thoughts
through the bristly manes of the dunes

In every single
little thing
never before seen
in truth’s kindly
killing light:

How can we do
what we do
to the origin of everything?

Birds sing themselves to death
and pebbles fearlessly meet
the howling wind on the beach.


David C Brown said...

Great images.

Pietro Bosetti said...

Can you tell where is it from and its original title in Danish? Thank you

John Irons said...

the original title is 'altings ophav', but can only tell you it is from one of these collections - Milesten, Borgens Forlag 1991,
Helt alene i hele verden og hip som ind i helvede, Borgens Forlag 2001, Trashpilot, Borgens Forlag 2000, Barnetro, Borgens Forlag 1985

i was sent a number of poems to translate, but which poem belongs to which collection was not specified.