Tuesday 30 July 2019

Henrik Nordbrandt: 'Offshore Wind' (2001) - Part I


Between Christmas and New Year
there is practically nothing.
It can almost be
in an ordinary, black handbag
of the kind midwives use
my mother used to say.
But I don’t know if that sort of logic
is applicable nowadays.
It doesn’t matter if you forget the bag.
There’s nobody, after all, who wants to have it.
Next year at the same time it’s there again
on the bench on the platform.
Nobody sits down next to it.
That’s the way it is between Christmas and New Year.
It’s a bit different, of course,
if it’s just snowed
and there’s a little snow on the top of the bag
and you can imagine
a train pulling in
out of the twilight.
That, then, is what the bag looks like.
It’s yours. Take it!
My mother won’t let on.


This time it was farther up
than you could really say it was down.
It felt like before early
and later than latest.
The air was an air bluer than blue
and it was almost more beautiful
than it really was terrible
if you can say that.
In short, it was before me
but most strangely as I had been long since.
January, they said. The sun came out
and caused the snow to slide down the statues.
In the air, gold shone on verdigris.
Behind lay the sea, and everything
they even so could never have taught me to say.


That which bleeds only hurts later:
That which flowers
pulls up by the root:

The plum tree at the lake’s edge stares
at a fallen regiment.
The cut freesias in the steel beaker
smell like the very soul
of the hospital bed.

An invisible amputation
accompanies visiting hours.
Pain is transferred
to a sense we knew nothing about.

Down from the earth the sharpest light
of the year now streams upwards
so we see each other for the first time

and look away.

Then come the long warm days
in sunlit fields
where you can walk for hours
and feel almost nothing.

The coolness of the woods
only reminds you
of the coolness of the woods.


Yesterday we were children, tomorrow nothing.
Just now the elder is in flower
You must keep yourself awake if your heart
is not to fly straight into its net.

It is even tempting to get lost in your own thoughts
among overgrown railway tracks
and dream of the terminus:
The stationmaster’s children are not a day older.

That ought to have made us suspicious.
Even so, we bought their ice-creams.
We knew a long, hot day lay ahead of us,
but not that their laughter would follow us.

At night you see someone you think you know
and then it is only that person’s dog
It is easier to find the way home than ever before
That is why we never go there any more.


It is as light as it is summer
it is as dark as it is me.
It is as before as it is after
and as late as it is always.

Summer goes from valley to valley.
The trees bend, darken and sigh
because they cannot keep up.
The white stone has sucked up so much light
that the light can now find nothing.
The lost years have left mother-of-pearl in the shadows.

I have no number for either my regrets
or those that died.
Tattered clouds cast chitin-hard shadows
over ivy and wall:
I think of the fact I must leave
and feel strangely elated.

It is as light as it is summer
and as late as it is always.


The most horrible thing that exists
is truth.

Who would not like to die
as may-rain over lilacs
or wild carrot by the wayside?

Fanatics do not know
that they know this.

I fly through the January night
at a low height above snow-covered Europe
Cathedral after cathedral
casts its light across the snow:

Never have I seen
never so clearly.


When season and life coincide
yellow leaves fall into yellow sun.

Then it’s September
and soon spring.


A grave, empty, in the snow.
Only my deeds remain.
That is how I envisage
The meeting at the crossroads.

I came before I was there
and thus become myself.
Those I have hurt run like blood
in the black water of the ditches.

In the same way as when in May
the corollas sound like laughter
even though a single tear
blinds a whole, large forest of firs.

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