Monday 4 February 2013

Poem by the Norwegian writer
Arnljot Eggen (1923-2009)

Village in an underdeveloped country

My small community in Norway
was also ravaged by tuberculosis
Young girls with high fevers lay screaming
that they didn’t want to die
Most of them had all their teeth pulled out
before they were twenty
The draughty old houses there
were also picturesque
For tourists
We played the five-card game for a cigarette
and sat on a doorstep and spat
That’s how you passed the time
when you didn’t have a job or go to school
There was ‘such peace and quiet’ about the place
like in the village here

I return home once more,
in strange clothes
I’ve been away about twenty-five years
I’ve lived in a country that wasn’t ours
Do you still recognise me, brothers

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