Monday 1 March 2010

Re-revised translation of Kvernes by the Dutch poet C.O. Jellema


Sometimes, unforeseen, you arrive
where you want to be, lying in the grass,
eyes closed. What you saw: the reflected
blueing mountains, from shore to
shore a ferry a speck in the deep
crinkling water, close by the wooden
stave-old church of Kvernes, beneath
trees the stone moss-covered with its dead –

already pictured in your head, which shares
this with your hand that feels along the
church wall, the tread of your foot from
gravestone to gravestone; you lie with your
back to the rocky ground, a whispering
wind in the shell of your ear, you breathe in
the grass, the unscented warmth of
late sun, this transparent northern

September: here I am – briefly voided of
thinking, living a truth through the
senses more, all this which together
tells of the lasting (as if not
somewhere someone is murdered when
fleeing from hunger, as if not), this
wholeness behind my skin-thin eyelids – though
as usual wording wins through: so

here now my body, contentedly outstretched and
to me with what credible inner
eye perceptible as from above, resting there
in the grass by the edge of the fjord,
houses a landscape: it
became what it perceived, but knowing that
can’t last – for nowhere, not even
here, is arrival for ever.

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