Sunday, 30 August 2015

Well-known poem by the Norwegian writer Olaf Bull (1883-1933)

From the mezzanine window

Contemporary in the room’s pale days
we both stand, I and she, my slender lover.
The hidden pulses of our hearts both drink
the selfsame moment as it flows uncovered –
and silent we shall stand and cleave the light
that is from times before we had our life,
and that with slanting gleam will stream afar,
deep into times when we no longer are –––

There are dead days of summer in the light
that pours in through the window’s leafy garlands –
and this deep evening hour will soon recede
and mutely join the others in that far land!
When was I last brushed by that blinding streak,
that meaningless and radiant bright shine
which lights the down upon a woman’s cheek
who does not know at all why she is mine?

We stand in dreams that from the sun sift down
that’s shimmering behind the bowed stone pine;
I see your hip’s shape through your thin blue gown
how finite it though is in form and line.
Your sun-lit hands my eyes too apprehend,
whose skin with hosts of pearl-fine pores is floored,
how close and firm all is! How all things end!
and nothing is eternity, oh Lord!

But far off on the plain there further flame
Soracte’s ancient mount and Tibur’s height,
the stone pine’s crown above the window frame
becomes a hand that shades the eye from light.
And from another mezzanine comes spilling
– Chopin – and wakened by white hands now chases,
in sleepless ring, his lily-pallid trilling
behind the heavy, rose-filled Roman vases.

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