Tuesday 11 June 2013

Knut Ødegård - poem in English translation

What is secret is slow in moving

The old bicycles stand in basements
deep in dank darkness
and in the attic: covered by a thin coating
of dry light dust. Cycles with wheels stiffened
in the final turn taken before being deserted,
abandoned to mummifying or dissolving
in wet rust: The secret, the slow decomposition.

The spokes, bulging out from the hub, invisible
in swift motion at top speed. At nights: the dynamo
thumbed over onto the tough rubber, the irregular light
flickering for the road.
A fine tracery of thin spider’s web covers the spokes,
the rubber swollen out in dark scars under the thin
gluey strands: Small dry wings are stuck fast,
it is difficult to catch sight of the black insect.

I sit with a photograph of my father. He has just got off
the bicycle which he props up close to his body:
His fingers grip the handlebars.


David C Brown said...

Good. Like the contrast. Have you got a Pa bicycle poem?

John Irons said...

i'm not even sure that pa could ride a bicycle. but maybe he could believe he could.
i have other bicycle poems somewhere - translated from dutch. i'll have a look.