Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Henrik Nordbrandt: 'Offshore Wind' - Part VI


A little into March summer suddenly
seems all too close:
One evening evening just keeps on going.
The darkness can’t put out
the white houses in the lyme grass on the dike.

Past and future are each other’s hostages.
The ransom money glitters
in the offshore wind on the far horizon
where no one can come.

So my travels resist
and erase the languages
where I for a while was me.

In all the world I have finally
always remained at home.


The flies have regained their glow
the sun begins to blare.

The days pass slowly and half
alongside each other

so the lakes turn, dark-violet
woods wash gold.

Now and then one gives a start:
One was just about to catch sight
of one of those whose thoughts you share
but out of habit take to be one’s own.

They follow one, one feels
but one never sees them:
One walks the earth alone
and imagines the trees full of life.

One’s still oneself
when the wood ends and the day is past
fortunately out in the open
beneath a new-moon-black sky.


The summer is over.
It resembled the other summers
as much as they resembled each other
and were different

and like the statues on Easter Island
they opened their eyes
as soon as you turned your back on them

And every summer
remembered more than had taken place.


On my way away from the place where I was
I stop for a while at a river.

There an inn lies
red in the October dusk
down by the water’s edge.

The red colour is swift
like an on-coming express train
and numbing like an anaesthetic.

I haven’t been shut out
of my senses like this
since I was four.
Nor will I ever again
be taken back so suddenly.

The place where I was
was the place where I was

and a barge lay there
half-full of water and yellow leaves

that hat never sailed on the sea
into which the river emptied.


A little later on in the summer
there is a narrow gravel path
that goes behind the hospital
where it apparently ends in a rubbish heap
but on closer inspection
continues out into the countryside.
There lies a dark-red house on a hill-top
shut in on itself like a safe-deposit box
over which cumulus clouds build their vault.
The hospital walls are yellow like morning urine.
It is afternoon.
The approaching evening lies years back.


Notes from a summer: Air marked by years.
The wind rises, and with it the words:
‘It was otherwise such a beautiful country
and so blue a sea. You could see
all the way down. Almost all the way.’

And thus my gaze crams the mountain ridge’s lesson:
We know nothing, and on the other side
there is a new valley the like of this one
There too you notice the god
who moves into cars when they are scrapped.

The bridge over the motorway stands on one leg
like a long-desired object
it has up till now been impossible to discover.
After it you land up in the queue.
But as yet there is no question of sleep.

The King of the Dead bears cement to my mother.
My mother concretes the coasts.
There are only a few drops left of the sea.
I cannot see the bottom
because I’m standing a little lower than the sun.


As the term offshore wind suggests, you saw from the land
the invisible force that made the sea so smooth
that you’d slide out onto it if you did not resist

so clearly that the pine trees behind your back
which you otherwise only heard, now suddenly
added their darkness to the depths

that began where the smoothness sharply stopped
and blinding wave-crests crushed
a mirror over the abyss into which we felt

we were doomed to sink: Shards of glass
were scattered and gathered and scattered again
so we smiled, saw ourselves smile, recovered our breath,

and delightedly shouted offshore wind, offshore wind again.

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