Monday 30 August 2010

A heron poem by the Dutch poet Chr. J. van Geel

Een reiger loopt voorzichtig
op hoge poten door
de sloot en brengt zijn spieden,
ook als het donker is,
als witvis aan het licht.

A heron cautiously
walks on long-toed feet down
the ditch and brings its spying,
even when it is dark,
as whitefish to the light.

Thursday 26 August 2010

A recent poem of my own

hard as nails

this spring
my fingernails started to erupt
their growth rate doubled

they also grew hard
shearing off at mad angles
developing ridges

i kept on walking into things
with my nails
leaving shards everywhere
they seemed to grow lower
and striate

i look at them
and see my mother’s nails
on what are becoming
my mother’s hands
but with my father’s veins

then look at the portrait
just right of me
with my son
and grandchildren

but cannot see their nails

Another poem by the Swedish poet Hjalmar Gullberg


Jag fiskar åt min älskade, utsträckt på balkongen,
drivande med strömmen i skymningshavet,
hennes hår kring min panna är mitt doftande nät.
Flämtande röda dyker redan de första
stjärnornas evighetsfiskar ur svindlande djup…
Jag seglar med min älskades kyss på pannan,
mitt nät är tungt av silverblänkande stim.


I fish for my beloved, outstretched on the balcony,
drifting with the current in the twilight sea,
her hair around my forehead is my scented net.
Flickering red the first eternity-fish of the stars
are already plunging from dizzying depths…
I sail with my beloved’s kiss on my forehead
my net is heavy with silver-glittering shoals.

Saturday 21 August 2010

Poem for 23 August in the Danish poet Klaus Høeck's '1001 POEMS'

        the dog days are now
        over the grass is
changing colour bleached with chlor
        ine and is getting
        ready for the words
of the text the poems are
folding in on themselves it’s
        summer still yet it’s
        already autumn
like a double stop from frantz
        ignaz biber’s ros
        ary sonatas

Friday 13 August 2010

A poem by the Dutch writer Toon Tellegen


I stand at a window.
I see words coming.

Some words I recognise:
although, red, previously,
nevertheless in its flapping jacket,
truthfulness, imperfect...

Some clamber onto each other’s shoulders.
‘Who are you?’ they shout.
‘Overcast,’ I shout.
‘Heavily or fairly?’ they ask.
‘Slightly,’ I say. ‘Slightly overcast.’

I lower my eyes.
I wish I was glittering
or somewhat
or even more: notwithstanding.

It starts to rain.
Although looks up, her cheeks grow wet.
Far and wide run away.

Darkness falls.

Wednesday 11 August 2010

A poem from Lars Gustafsson's latest collection 'On the Use of Fire'


This was the strange word
that I looked for in my dream
And was quite unable to find.

I woke up
having dreamt of a fish
with red eyes

easy to catch with chewed bread
on a bent pin

So much more sluggish than fair bleak
those warm shorewater’s

indefatigable dancers


Yes, this dream was full
of beauty and dancing
And no one in the whole world knew
That the roach is called roach.

Monday 9 August 2010

Another poem by the Danish writer Jeppe Aakjær, later set to music by Aksel Agerby

May Night

When wild geese honk on Walpurgis night
who thinks then of going to rest?
With dew-beaded hat you roam out of sight
through fjordland and woods newly dressed.

Way out there gleams so mighty a star
that all of my eye it now fills;
I’m sure that same star I once saw afar
when I gazed o’er my childhood hills.

And the peewit’s cry is borne on the wind,
though longing’s borne farther away.
How bitterly close one’s heart is confined
when the avocet migrates in May!

There’s trickling in grass and cheeping in moss,
the tree-tops twitch out of their slumber;
from the farthermost cape the scent wafts across
of anemones countless in number.

The lonely young lamb on the hill far beyond
can be heard with its plaintive small baa,
and the frogs all croak from puddle and pond,
as if star now were singing to star.


To see what Klaus Høeck does with this poem in his collection 'In Nomine', go to here.

To hear a snatch of Agerby's version, go to here (no. 7)