Thursday, 23 March 2017

Yet another poem about a butterfly - by the Norwegian poet Inger Elisabeth Hansen

USE AND ABUSE OF THE CHEQUERED BLUE BUTTERFLY
       SCOLITANTIDES ORION


Chequered Blue, you who were found where quietness reigned,
you who on the quiet were expelled by land policies,
you mirrored-blue resident of granite down by Iddefjord, on the steep slope
in at the edge and the outermost, expelled from slopes of south-facing rock
by land policies, common-sense coloured, camouflaged in the rock-face brown,
camouflaged in the mirrored-blue, almost without a colour to your name,
easily overlooked, not designed to shelter in a rose, bashful lover of shore-violets in May,
expelled from your habitat

Now that’s you’re included on the red list,
now that your copyright’s expiring,
let me borrow you, I want to borrow you, Chequered Blue, Scolitantides Orion, now that
you are brought out and illuminated on your way out,
now that you are transilluminated by your own disappearance like a star long since
extinct, now that you have your fifteen minutes of fame,
let me borrow you

Let me use you as a vessel,
let me give you an old captain,
one who can navigate, one you can sail you all the way to Orion, an old captain who will
not leave his ship while still the boat sails along,
while still the heartbeat is strong, one who can navigate for those in need to reach Orion

But you are the Chequered Blue,
you prefer to fly low, thrive when the granite rises like wings from the sea,
you thrive when sun-warm, south-facing slopes of rock rise on the horizon,
Scolitantides Orion, coloured like the horizon with dark wing-fringes,
you are not destined skywards, you are not destined for Orion,
you are to be placed under special protection
and assigned a habitat among cabins and cottages down by the sea

Did I use the Chequered Blue as a vessel for my longing?
Was it merely my longing that needed a captain?
A captain who can navigate the Chequered Blue to Orion? What should it be doing there?


Poem by the Dutch poet Hans Faverey



Rarely does the leap of a panther
resemble at all the same leap by
the same panther, unless as if
willed by that panther itself.

The dolphin swimming in front of the ship
swims in front of the ship right up until
there is no question any more of a
dolphin swimming in front of a ship.

And so it will come about that you scarcely

notice how your armpit sweat changes odour,
that it escapes you how the centaur first
paws the ground before it comes up
to you, and kicks and smashes everything
in your safe house to smithereens.

To see the original poem, go to here



Monday, 20 March 2017

A poem about a man who is an abyss by Toon Tellegen


Ik ben benieuwd


Ik ken een man die een afgrond is

er groeien rozen langs zijn wanden
en een enkel schichtig boompje van grote zeldzaamheid

er zijn spelonken in hem
waaruit vleermuizen tevoorschijn schieten,
’s avonds als het donker wordt

mensen die zich te ver vooroverbuigen
vallen in hem,
er wordt gegist naar hun lot

er staan reusachtige waarschuwingsborden op de wegen naar hem toe

er wordt langs hem gepatrouilleerd,
er worden voorstellen gedaan hem dicht te gooien

ik gooi een steentje in hem,
ik ben benieuwd of ik het neer hoor komen



I’m curious


I know a man who is an abyss

roses grow along his walls
and a lone timorous small tree that is extremely rare

there are caves in him
out of which bats come flitting
in the evening when it grows dark

people who lean too far out
fall into him
their fate is only guessed at

there are huge warning signs on the roads leading to him

patrols are maintained along him,
proposals are made to have him filled in

I throw a pebble into him,
I’m curious if I will hear it reach the bottom


Monday, 6 March 2017

From Andersen's 'Collected Poems (1833)


‘I dreamt I was but a little bird’

I dreamt I was but a little bird,
Over land and wave was gliding,
My heart’s emotions and all I saw
I had not a way of hiding.

I sang all thoughts deep-lodged in my breast,
Those sad and joyous sensations,
I soared and dived o’er the foaming sea
And many unknown locations.

One morning high on a branch I sat,
And chirruped songs ten a penny
The flowers in the grass stood all around
So lovely they were, so many.

But one with a scent and tint so rare
Excelled all others begotten,
On her I did gaze, for her did sing
And foreign climes were forgotten.

I there decided to build a nest,
Be even my wings forsaking,
I wished there to sing my finest song,
Till my heart at last were breaking !

Her head so chaste in the wind she bowed,
I touched the flower’s head full-flushing,
The petal’s scent I then understood,
In the morning sun bright-blushing.

And downwards the flower did bend her head,
I recall it all so closely!
My love so clearly it seemed I read
In her trusting eye though mostly.

A huntsman appeared, both bold and young,
With his gun slung o’er his shoulder,
He placed the flower in his buttonhole
Where she then did brightly smoulder.

A dewdrop fell from her petals fine,
Though maybe a tear concealing,
I sang then and thought, it’s me he’ll shoot!
For death I found so appealing.

The flower’s undimished scent’s a home,
And never she will regret it!
From town to town I fly on and on,
If only I could forget it!

I grieve – though I sing more than before,
while I o’er meadow I’m winging,
A hunter will surely come along
And will shoot me while I’m singing!