Friday, 21 August 2020

Torild Wardenær: First two poems of 'Velde' (2020)


Velde, from Old Norse vald (might, dominion)
1. Power, right of disposal, governance
 2. Area, land over which one has disposal, property


One foot in Hades, one foot in the world 

When days and nights have hypnotised each other, and heaven and earth
plundered each other of time and place, I take things into my own hands,
wake up the days once more, restore time and place.

But soon another countdown starts, and there is a gasping for air,
winter makes me feel claustrophobic.
Not only has the town I live in become too constricted for me.
Norway is narrowing even further, Europe is as noisy as ever,
the sea is rising, and even outer space has become too small,
almost overgrown as it is with satellites and figments of imagination.

The living wander about, talkative, but with little to report. The dead
are omniscient, but incommunicative, keep silent about everything.
The unborn have all the time in the world, but are agile and
evasive, nor do they ever answer.
When I look up for guidance, the cardinal directions get entangled
in each other, gang up with the harsh regions where I was first
expelled then played havoc with, but finally declared alive, and
chased away.

And this demanding body,
aching at times, so cool and strong at times,
begins fortunately enough to start moving again in mid-March,
in a strange, I note, and unknown tempo, so I turn in surprise. There is a
mythological figure following me, close on my heels. I do not
recognise her at once, but believe it must be Persephone. She with
one foot in Hades, one foot in the world,
now on her way up to the light, along with me.


New summers, new millenniums

The early summer, surrounded by a Genesis-like shimmer of joy
reels off prophecies: 
There shall be animals in the forest and fish in the water.
There shall be cattle tracks and boat landing places
and aspen, fern fronds, clover and mullein
shall be allowed to grow in peace, here 
in the west of the country.

I think I hear these warnings above the roar of waterfalls, laugh,
for it is hopeful and comes out of the blue,
and the early summer can surely not be mistaken?
I dig a hole, and were I to find something in the barren soil,
a handle or a key or a rusty cross from the Viking Age,
I would brush the earth off it, wash it in the stream, hold it up to
the sky, as a monition against destruction.

I find nothing, stones on stones are all there is here.
But the aspen absorbs water through its ingenious transmission system,
rustles its leaves as only the aspen can, and I wade through the stream,
have everything I need.
Transport my own organs with me: my smooth, well-shaped liver, intestines
coiled up in their nest, sphincter muscles wisely distributed about my body.

In the undergrowth the early Devon ferns grow twelve millimetres a day,
and the season, with the Genesis-like shimmer of joy about it,
continues to promise new summers, new millenniums.

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