Saturday 30 May 2020

Halbo C. Kool: 'Le poète pur parle'

Le poète pur parle

Ik ben een smerig rijmelaar
met roos en vet in ’t sluike haar,
die, ongewasschen, ongeborsteld,
al zweetend met zijn rijmen worstelt
om, is per slot een vers gelukt,
na ’n haastig middagmaal verrukt,
op alle muzen te gaan klinken
en me een goeden roes te drinken,
want zonder muze, zonder rijm
ben ik een slordig sliertje slijm,
dat om zijn kleinheid te vergeten
zijn heil zoekt in onmatig eten,
in drank en spel en vrijerij,
een kermisklant, zoo vogelvrij …

Halbo C. Kool
In: Scherven (1932)

Le poète pur parle

A grubby rhymester without flair,
with dandruff in lank, greasy hair,
I wrestle here unwashed, unbrushed
quite sweaty with my rhymes and flushed,
should finally a line succeed,
I thrilled, with dinner gulped at speed,
with every muse my glass start clinking
and set about some heavy drinking
for with no muse, devoid of rhyme
I’m just a slapdash string of slime
who would forget his petty cringing
and seek salvation in mere bingeing,
in drink and gambling, wild excess,
a showman, outlaw, nothing less …

Dèr Mouw: The only poem ever to start with 'Spitsbogend'

Spitsbogend zetten kerkhofpopulieren
op zilvren voorjaarslucht hun diagrammen:
als ordinaten staan loodrecht de stammen,
waarom de lijnenfantazieën zwieren.

Ze staan als geel getong van ijle vlammen:
’t is of dood-zelf het Pinksterfeest wou vieren;
ze staan als lang orkest van reuz’ge lieren:
’t is of dood preludeerde in vlucht van gammen;

ze staan als sprok’ge groei van gouden veren,
uit dons van groen rijzend de grijze schachten:

’t is of, Phoenix, met nieuw ontvlamde krachten
het leven uit de dood terug wou keren.

Op eens – geruis, geruis. – Ik sta te wachten,
of ’t kerkhof vliegen gaat naar zonnesferen.

The churchyard poplars, gothic-arching, form
spring diagrams against the silver sky:
as ordinates the trunks, erect, stand high
and round them lines of fantasies all swarm.

They stand like yellow tongues of flaming trails:
it’s as if death itself’s observing Whitsun;
they stand, a giant-lyre orchestra now risen:
as if death were preluding flights of scales;

they stand like airy growth of golden feathers
their tall grey shafts of green down upwards soar:

it’s as if Phoenix, flaring strength rewon,
would have life to return from death once more.

All at once – rustling – and I wonder whether
the churchyard’s flying off to realms of sun.

Tuesday 26 May 2020

Nils Ferlin: 'Jag kunde ju vara...

Jag kunde ju vara ...


En luffare är jag — vad mera,

jag kunde ju vara en präst,

jag kunde ju vara en brukspatron

en bonde eller en häst ...


Jag kunde ju vara en svala,

en kråka eller en snok,

en snok — eller kanske en blomma,

ett sommarstänk i en bok ...


Nå — öster börjar i väster

och söder slutar i norr,

virrig är jag av frågor

och halsen är fan så torr ...


... en luffare är jag, som halkar

förbi i vägarnas grus.

Mitt hjärta är hett som en masugn

och kallt som ett fattighus.



I could of course be


A tramp’s what I am - what else then,

I could be a vicar of course,

a foundry proprietor too perhaps

a farmer or just a horse…


I could of course just be a swallow,

a grass snake or maybe a rook,

if not a snake then a flower,

a summer’s dash in a book…


Well, east has in west its beginning

and south ends in north as well,

I get confused by questions

my throat is as dry as hell…


…a tramp’s what I am who’s lurching

around in the dust of the road.

My heart is as hot as a furnace

yet a poor man’s cold abode.



Lars Gustafsson: 'Tranflog'

(Flight of cranes over Skåne, April morning.

The light tracks of a bird are hard to find again.
The number of wild cranes is also very few.
Soon shall the withered grass burn till no straws remain.

This morning was a joyful woman’s reign
whose voice in lust’s short instant rush rose pure and true:
The light tracks of a bird are hard to find again.

All birds are in some secret goddess’s domain,
who taught  them flight and unrest, fleeing staying too.
Soon shall the withered grass burn till no straws remain.

They now change places at the front, the forward dame
by her male consort, and slide off towards the blue.
The light tracks of a bird are hard to find again.

Unfathomable moment! You cannot retain
your form, nor can you slide away anew.
Soon shall the withered grass burn till no straws remain.

And this white blind-born morning would force me retain
the guilt that was my death, which I in secret had to rue.
The light tracks of a bird are hard to find again.
Soon shall the withered grass burn till no straws remain.

Sunday 24 May 2020

Lars Gustafsson: 'Skäggdoppingen'

4 (Skäggdoppingen)

I de rena klara höstkvällarna
i små grupper framför motorbåtens stäv.
Och försvinnande utan rädsla, utan iver,
enbart därför att detta,
att försvinna,
är dess självklara konstart.

Jag har ofta önskat
att jag kunde följa den
också på dess andra flykt.
Ser den vattenytan
som en andra himmel?
Hur är dess tunga vingeslag under vattnet?

Tror den sig vara
samma fågel i två skilda rymder?
Den ena behärskad av vindar,
den andra av svala djupströmmar?

Trädet med dallrande löv.
Sjögräsets långa hår i strömmen
där den kalla bottenkällan faller ut.

Hur kan den föra
så skilda ting till samma liv?
Eller tror den sig vara
två fåglar
som möts ett ögonblick

i vattenytans hisnande och stumma gräns?

4 (The didapper)  (strictly: great crested grebe)

In the pure clear autumn evenings
in small groups ahead of the motorboat’s prow.
And disappearing without fear, without flurry,
simply because
is its natural art-form.

I have often wished
that I could follow it
also on its other flight.
Does it view the water’s surface
as a second sky?
What are its heavy wing-strokes under water like?

Does it consider itself
the same bird in two separate spaces?
The one ruled by winds,
the other by cool deep currents?

The tree with quivering leaves.
The long tresses of the sea-grass in the current
where the cold bottom spring meets the lake.

How can it fuse
such separate things into one life?
Or does it consider itself
two birds
that meet for an instant at the

dizzying, mute boundary of the water’s surface?

Saturday 23 May 2020

Holger Drachmann: 'Ad kendte Veje'



O hvor hvert Fjed dog er gammeltungt,

       naar Vejen skal trædes tilbage;

       Trittet var let, saa tyveaarsungt,

       da det gik mod de dejlige Dage.

       Liden Fugl paa vor Vej

       havde travlt med at synge

       sin Elskovssang;

       i hver Bøgetræsgynge

       var Legen i Gang, —

       nu synges, nu leges der ej.

       Kun de susende Graner har endnu Røst,

       og det lyder som oprørt Vand;

              det tegner mod Høst.


Elskede! ak, den dobbelte Klang,

       som strider i denne Kalden:

       Sangfuglelatter fra korngul Vang

       og hulkende Skovvandes Falden!

       Nu er Sommeren væk

       og kun Høsten tilbage,

       en Middelhøst;

       kun en Afglans af Dage

       med kummerlig Trøst,

       et Billed med falmede Træk.

       Og jeg trykker det blegede Blad til min Mund.

       Der er dobbelt og stridende Lyst

              i Afskedens Stund.


Nej, jeg vil ej som den Klagende staa,

       naar Intet dog kan forandres;

       heller ad høstgule Gange gaa,

       naar Stierne dog skulle vandres.

       Der er Kraft i den Luft,

       som fra Granskovens Naale

       min Aande naa’r;

       gennem Høstsolens Straale

       et Farvevæld gaar,

       hver Blomst har forstærket sin Duft.

       Lad kun Vaaren forstumme; her spirer et Frø.

       Jeg har Sange i Hjertet endda;

              de kan aldrig dø.



Oh, how each footstep with lead seems hung,

       when the path must be trod till it’s ended;

       Light was each  step, so twenty-years young,

       when it led towards days that were splendid.

       A small bird as we passed

       was so busily singing

       its song of love;

       in each beech there was swinging

       and playing above, —

       songs and games did not last.

       Only pine trees now soughing have voice at all,

       and its sound’s that of water when rough;

              soon autumn will call.


Dearest one! ah, the double-edged plea

       that clashes in this strange calling:

       Songbirds’ gay laughter from corn-hued lea

       and woodland streams’ sad-sobbing falling!

       Now the summer is gone

       there’s but  autumn remaining,

       and autumn’s stalled;

       merely day’s image waning

       with solace now palled,

       a picture whose features once shone.

       And I press the wan leaf to my lips with a sigh.

       Double urges still clash when recalled

              at the hour of goodbye.


No, as lamenter I’ll not say adieu,

       when change there is no evading;

       rather tread paths of autumnal hue,

       when only such paths lie in waiting.

       There’s a force in the air

       which as pine needles’ resin

       my mind sets on fire;

       and the autumn’s rays dress in

       a rainbow attire,

       each flower has a scent twice as rare.

       Let the spring remain silent; a seed time is nigh.

       All my heart’s songs will never expire:

              they refuse to die.


Friday 22 May 2020

HCA: 'Jylland mellem tvende Have'

Jylland mellem tvende have
som en runestav er lagt,
runerne er kæmpegrave
inde midt i skovens pragt,
og på heden alvorsstor,
her, hvor ørknens luftsyn -
ørknens luftsyn bor.

Jylland, du er hovedlandet,
højland med skov-ensomhed!
Vildt i vest med klittag sandet
løfter sig i bjerges sted.
Østersø og Nordhavs vand
favnes over Skagens -
over Skagens sand.

Heden, ja, man tror det næppe,
men kom selv, bese den lidt:
lyngen er et pragtfuldt tæppe,
blomster myldre milevidt.
Skynd dig, kom! om føje år
heden som en kornmark -
som en kornmark står.

Mellem rige bøndergårde
snart dampdragen flyve vil,
hvor nu Loke sine hjorde
driver, skove vokse til.
Briten flyver over hav,
gæster her prins Hamlets -
her prins Hamlets grav.

Jylland mellem tvende have
som en runesten er lagt,
fortid mæle dine grave,
fremtid folder ud din magt,
havet af sit fulde bryst
synger højt om Jyllands -
højt om Jyllands kyst.

Jutland by two oceans bounded,
laid out like a runic stave,
runes of ancient barrows rounded,
each a wondrous woodland grave,
and on heath they weave strong spells,
here where desert mirage,
desert mirage dwells.

Jutland, you’re the country’s homeland,
highlands with seclusion spread!
Wild in west with dune-topped dome and
sands that rise in mountains’ stead.
Baltic, North Sea here hold hands,
joining over Skagen’s
over Skagen’s sands.

Ah, the heath has no contender,
come and take a look around: 
carpeted by heather’s splendour,
flowers thick-piled for miles around.
Quickly, come and see first-hand,
ere here swathes of cornfields
swathes of cornfields stand.

Soon rich farmsteads will do battle
with steam dragons flying past,
here where Loki now drives cattle,
woods will spring up all too fast.
Britons will soon brave the wave
come to see Prince Hamlet’s
see Prince Hamlet’s grave.

Jutland by two oceans bounded,
laid out like a runic stave,
of the past your graves have sounded,
a strong future you shall save,
and the sea will proudly boast,
loudly sing of Jutland’s
sing of Jutland’s coast.

Willem de Mérode: 'Avondregen'


Er was een zacht gedruppel in de blâren
Of nu de zomerregen zou beginnen.
En traag gleden de schemeringen binnen
Van buien, die ons dreigend overvaren.

De geur van vocht en bloemen vloeide samen
En dreef de paden rond als lichte nevel,
Bleek uit den damp hief zich de roode gevel,
Toen kletsten groote druppels aan de ramen.

En gij: het leven is niet te vertragen.
De bui komt zwaar en driftig nederslaan
Gelukkig wat gered is en geborgen,

Maar ik: zie hoe gerust de rozen staan,
En hemels wreede lafenis verdragen.
Zij dulden sterk en bloeien tegen morgen.


There was a gentle dripping in the leaves
As if the summer rain would now begin.
And lazily the twilights glided in
Of showers borne menacingly on the breeze.

The smell of flowers and dampness merged and then
It drifted round the paths like wisps of mist,
Through steam the gable’s red was faintly guessed,
Huge rain-drops dashed against the window pane.

And you: with life there’s nothing can contend.
The shower is heavy in its headstrong fall
Fortunate what’s been saved and stowed away,

But I: see how each rose stands calm and tall,
Sustains the cruel assuagement heaven sends.
Endures and lives to flower at break of day.

Monday 18 May 2020

Ludvig Holstein: 'Det er i dag et vejr - et solskinsvejr'

How fine it is today

How fine it is today – a day of sun!
Oh spring so dear, once more you have begun!
Now all those winter months are gone completely,
I will buy hyacinths that smell so sweetly
and take them to the one my heart has won.

She bought some white and then she bought some blue,
she bought of those most beautiful in hue.
How fine it is today! The sun is shining!
And happy memories are me entwining,
I’ll take them with me to my love so true.

And they came floating down in rings and rows.
She passed among them and her heart still glows.
It is a day of sunshine without equal!
And I have sun enough till there’s a sequel,
and I must kiss each little leaf that grows.

She kissed them all, she kissed them one by one,
she took them to the one her heart had won.
My friend, look, hyacinths that smell so sweetly!
My friend, those winter months they’re gone completely!
How fine it is today, a day of sun–!