Friday 11 January 2013

The second poem of 'Galgenfrist' (Short Respite) from 1958 by the Danish poet Ivan Malinovski

Autumn suite


Bastard in this light
wordless among these voices
the dahlias the gleaming drops
of the rowan
the maize and marrows calling from the market square
rows of asters and marigolds
                                                      each with its own cry
oh this silent smell of potatoes cabbage turnips
homeless homeless
among the lady apples of naked trees
the fat blister beetles of fallen leaves

in this richness
so rich in poverty
only you so dumb on the earth
so empty-handed at this season the season of thirst
hungering for supplies travels possession
apple-sweet melancholy
kernel root

the wriggling pupa under the eaves
an affront to his restlessness

enters the day dazzled
goes shrunken among mosquitoes
now the sparrows’ bush
stands ablaze
and nothing shall be his


now you sink back
                  into an old darkness
impossible recognition
                  images you have never seen
are called out along
                  strangely secret streets
flee with the leaves
                  flee in geese-wedges
find confused the spot
                  where some other where you
kissed her first
                  wanted her happiness
seek seek seek
                  but nothing is understandable
everything is reversed
                  everything is absurd and self-evident
the cemetery has not changed
                  the melons have the same taste
among all these corridors
                  not one even so that is yours
the thread is broken but heavily
                  you incline towards a past
(the stones the roots the darkness)
                  suddenly you can sigh
without knowing the reason
                  all at once you recall
an old death in the family
                  an unusual illumination
a mountain bonfire nighttime courage
                  (the stones the roots the darkness)
the sole trace of this
                  the sole recollection of the leap:
the wedge in the twilight now
                  above the woods of reeds


there then
the smell of autumn in the living room: green apples
there then
while the sky is saturated with melancholy moisture
the leaves weep

there then out there
the light: a column above the earth’s fatness
there then there then the mouse’s self-comfort
the stubble with dew’s filigree
and the snail’s small ear duct
listening clenched around an echo’s salt

consumptus est the red-fruit jelly
the kiosk’s supply of beer
the lobster we took home from the fishing village at midsummer
the hip-flasks are long since rusty
tinder and birchwood gone up in smoke
the nivea tin empty

our summerland properly assigned
to mould mosquitoes and mice

to resign
close oneself like the snail round an echo
form a membrane as a defence against hoar frost
and eat into a lost salt
there then
– – –
then the room blackens in panic:
ten thousands of bird’s wings

my dream my haste

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