Tuesday 28 September 2010

Danish version of a poem by Eva Gerlach


“Sol qui illustras omnia solus”
(Bruno, Cantus Circaeus)
Hvad var det du sagde, noget om geddefiskeri
tidligt om morgenen i vinter da mørket
lukkede sig om dig og din far hver især
på knallerten, og hver hakkede
sin våge og du kastede din hvad for en stang,
med en eller anden slags krog, dit alt for lille
agn fra spanden: aldrig fanget
en eneste gedde. Fandtes der ikke en lampe,
hadde vi den ikke siden hen, sådan en
ståmodel, skjoldet metal, den ku’ også hænge.

At holde alt, alle ting i sine
tanker, tid og sted, substans, mængde
og beskaffenhed. At være en
gud som sætter det i bevægelse.
                 Undertiden så du én
hængende i dybden, med sådan en spids
snude som de nu engang har, grå pletter.

To see an English translation of this poem, go to here

Tuesday 21 September 2010

Title poem of a collection by the Norwegian poet Thor Sørheim


In the tops of the black alder trees the nests sway
like dark suns, on the edge sits the male heron
sharp as a dagger, keeping a watchful eye on rats and mice
creeping below in the marsh, the moss that crawls
over tree-trunks and stones, it is early
March, and suddenly wings unfold from the nest,

hoarse screeches creak like rotten trees, there is a smell
of bogwater, bird droppings and frogs, the heron gazes
fixedly at the dangers on the forest floor, it is still
so early on yet that a screech makes sense
for those guarding the eggs just a few metres
from the cars that change strategy twice a year,

and when the herons leave the nest in April
to stand motionless in the reeds before lunging for fish
they still have the heron heights close by, the place
where life begins hoarsely and secretly,
with a bird’s-eye view of the catch
and the certainty that danger is never over.

Monday 20 September 2010

Poem by the Dutch poet Erik Menkveld


Don’t bloody care, keep growing
up everywhere, filmy or knotted,
upright or skewed, to laws no
human can fathom. And the reasons?

To make lanes out of streets, villages
pricy and posh? To block the light or
view of the prettiest places?

OK, you can find one so splendid
on some winter’s day, hours later it still
stands out in the cyclist who saw it.

But close together they have
hardly a chance to command any attention.
Too old hat moreover
for stove or shipyard, they increasingly
get in the way. And that smidgen
of oxygen they are producing!

Yet never is the usefulness of
trees something you hear questioned.
They’re even grown to serve
as trays on people’s bureaus.

Friday 17 September 2010

Poems from 17 and 19 September in Klaus Høeck's '1001 POEMS'

        and it was a great
relief to give the words back
        to their right source to
        their primary cause
nature perhaps or god (who
        knows) a relief to
        release them to set
them free like butterflies for
        a moment and then one
        self to remain be
hind in the empty poems
        and in the silence

        but i was not yet
strong enough to keep silent
        even silence de
        manded its own word
so i marshalled the words to
        gether in the po
        em once more like the
animals in the fields and
        birds in the air like
        the country swallows
that have alighted on this
        line of poetry

Thursday 16 September 2010

A poem by the Norwegian poet Thor Sørheim


I listened to the hymn-singing and the sexton
creaking in the chancel, I shot side-glances
at freethinker Frederik who always followed
the vicar obediently home to Sunday dinner,

I was a thoughtful child that during the sermon
could wonder if it was to be a move forward or
back to start in the game that was set out
on the living-room table, Christ came ever

closer during the ‘Crown Him, Crown Him’,
and when the grown-ups closed their eyes
on the rim of the chalice, I decided to
approach the future from the other side.

Wednesday 15 September 2010

Poem by the Dutch poet C. Buddingh’


My father was so wonderful at doing a lion:
He would crouch under the table, suddenly
shoot out with a roar and chase you
round the whole room till he caught you.

When my sons were small, I mostly did
a fox: I would dress up as an old woman
that came begging for a glass of water or
a crust of bread – and then seize them in triumph.

How much time did I spend on this altogether?
Five hours perhaps: a hundredth thousandth part
‘of my allotted span here on this earth’.

I have lived through a world war
and so much that seemed enormously important.
Dead as a door-nail now. But lion and fox live on.

Tuesday 14 September 2010

A poem by the Danish hymnwriter and bishop Adolph Brorson (1694-1764)

The fairest of roses

Now found is the fairest of roses
Its beauty midst thorns it discloses,
        Our Jesus this offshoot and dower
        Midst us human sinners did flower.

Since lost is the glory of bearing
The fruit of God’s image, uncaring
        The world has seemed, barren and wasted,
        We all by our sins death have tasted.

As thistles to nought can aspire
Than all be consigned to the fire,
        So too was the world fit for burning
        And cursed with no hope of returning.

Then God let a rose thrive and flower.
Its seed He did further empower
        To cleanse and to sweeten entirely
        The yield that was ruined so direly.

Now God’s Church its glory is wearing,
The finest of fruits can be bearing,
        For Jesus its yield is reviving,
        The plants with new sap are all thriving.

The whole world with joy should be singing,
The air with glad psalms should be ringing,
        But many are deaf to the telling:
        The rose in the world has its dwelling.

You thistle-minds, hardened and sickly,
As statues so stiff, thorns so prickly,
        Why stand you there tall and unblinking
        In pride’s so depraved way of thinking?

Oh, seek what is low and in keeping,
In dust for your Saviour be weeping,
        Then you will our Jesus be knowing,
        For roses in valleys are growing.

You, Jesus, will be beyond measure
My rose and my glory, my treasure,
        My heart you have captured completely,
        Your sweetness does nourish and feed me.

My rose is my jewel and my treasure,
My rose is my joy and my pleasure;
        My poisonous lusts you have beaten,
        The cross you deliciously sweeten.

Let this cruel world seek to ensnare me,
Let thorns try to scratch, rend and tear me,
        Let life from my poor heart be taken,
        My rose will remain unforsaken.

Wednesday 8 September 2010

A third Tellegen in English and Danish


I write black poems.
I wash them, I rinse them,
but they still remain black.
I hang them out to dry, the sun shines

and just for a instant they are white,
as white as light-heartedness.

Passers-by clear their throats and ask:
‘What do you wash them with?’
Their poems are blue and green and crimson and violet,
like pride and facial pain and beauty and disenchantment.

The wind gets up, the sun disappears behind a cloud
and they’re black once more,
black poems –

I don’t wash them with anything.


Jeg skriver sorte digte.
Jeg vasker dem, jeg skyller dem,
men de forbliver lige sorte.
Jeg hænger dem til tørre, solen skinner

og for et lille øjeblik er de hvide,
ligeså hvide som letsindighed.

Forbipasserende rømmer sig og spørger:
‘Hvad vasker du dem med?’
Deres digte er blå og grønne og højrøde og violette,
som hovmod og ansigtspine og skønhed og skuffelse.

Vinden tager til, solen forsvinder bag en sky
og de er atter sorte,
sorte digte –

Jeg vasker dem ikke med noget.

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Danish translations of the two Tellegen poems (13.08 and 01.09)


Jeg står foran et vindue.
Jeg ser ord der kommer.

Visse ord genkender jeg:
endskønt, rød, tidligere,
ikkedestomindre i dets blafrende jakke,
sandfærdighed, ufuldkommen...

Visse klatrer på hinandens skuldre.
‘Hvem er du?’ råber de.
‘Overskyet,’ råber jeg.
‘Tungt eller halvt?’ spørger de.
‘Let,’ siger jeg. ‘Let overskyet.’

Jeg sænker mit blik.
Jeg ville ønske jeg var glitrende
eller nogenlunde
eller endnu mer: desuagtet.

Det begynder at regne.
Endskønt kigger opad, dets kinder bliver våde.
Vidt og bredt spæner afsted.

Mørkret falder.


Der står et lokomotiv på et sidespor,
rustent indtil marven, overgroet med tidsler.

Når det regner, græder hun, brune tårer.

Jeg går langs hende, rører ved hende,
aer hende,
siger noget til hende, noget opmuntrende,
klatrer op på resterne af et gangbræt.

I det fjerne slår et ur.
Måske er jeg en prins. Men kan aldrig vide!
Måske er dette Tornerose.
Futtog, kære lille futtog... åbn dine øjne...!

Højt på himlen står solen.
‘Hej!’ råber de. ‘Hallo!’, ‘Vent lige!’ og ‘Stå stille!’
Men vi tager afsted og hører ingen og intet mere.

Sunday 5 September 2010

Today's Høeck, from '1001 POEMS'

        if language in the
        last analysis
belongs to that type of sys
tem (the axiomatic)
        for which gödel’s proof
        is valid couldn’t
        poetry then be
        considered as that
theorem (the one true asser
tion) which cannot be deduced
        (proved) on the basis
        of language itself?

Wednesday 1 September 2010

Danish version of my poem of 26.08.10

en hård negl

dette forår
kom mine fingernegle i udbrud
deres væksthastighed fordobledes

de blev også hårde
brød af fuldstændig skævt
dannede rygge

jeg blev ved at gå ind i ting
med mine negle
efterladende splinter overalt
de syntes at blive lavere
og stribede

jeg betragter dem
og ser min mors negle
på det som er ved at blive
min mors hænder
men med min fars årer

kigger så på portrættet
lige til højre for mig
med min søn
og mine børnebørn

men kan ikke se deres negle

Another Toon Tellegen poem


There’s a locomotive standing on a siding,
consumed by rust, overgrown with thistles.

When it rains, she cries, brown tears.

I walk alongside her, touch her,
stroke her,
say something to her, something encouraging,
climb up onto the remains of a footboard.

A clock strikes in the distance.
Perhaps I am a prince. You never know!
Perhaps this could just be Sleeping Beauty.
Little luvvy loco... open your eyes...!

The sun is high in the sky.
‘Hey!’ they call out. ‘Ho!’ ‘Wait a moment!’ and ‘Stop!’
But we move off and hear nothing and no one any more.