Thursday 5 April 2018

Benny Andersen: 'Hor og kærlighed' in English translation

fornication and love

To play on a lousy
neglected and misused instrument
is like going to bed with someone
                you do not love
neither the piano nor yourself
feel anything at all except the urge
to get it over with quickly
You shut your eyes and think of
Steinway & Son
or Hornung & Møller
you’re seized with self-pity
and pity for the poor wretch
and the music sounds accordingly:
until you suddenly find a sound
a humming strength
a 10th of former days
that has miraculously survived all infamy
                                 and rape
an upright melancholy
like a partially burnt field of stubble
You open your eyes
stare with unaccustomed tenderness
at the worm-eaten yellow keys
everything is closer now
imprisoned and forgotten notes
                are set free
How wonderful it can be to be alive
To hell with Steinway & Møller
Now it’s just the two of us
for this short eternity!

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