Monday, 29 March 2021

Dan Andersson: 'Kolvaktaren'



Tåligt, manligt vakande,

kärlig sömn försakande

vakt vid kolen satt.

Spröda, hårda händerna

röra lamt i bränderna,

som gnistrande och glödande,

av röda flammor flödande,

ge ljus åt snårens natt.


Röken kväljer kvävande,

nät av ångor vävande,

het och stark och frän.

Kolen kallna klingande,

knäppande och ringande,

i höga svarta hoparna

vid askbeströdda groparna

emellan frusna trän.


Långa äro stunderna

långt i ödelunderna,

mil från folk och hus.

Rävarna gå jagande,

skallen gnälla klagande

som hungergråt från skogarna

och hagarna och slogarna

och frusna hedars grus.


Glatt från gula lågorna

flyta värmevågorna

mot mitt breda bröst.

Flammorna gå lekande

skänka kärligt smekande

värme åt en frysande

och med glädje lysande

sken till ögontröst.


Snart är morgon gryende,

då gå jättar flyende

ned till Hanga hed.

Där är lugnt bland enarna,

där är bon i stenarna

där bli trollen räddade,

i djupa gömslen bäddade,

vid aldrig vandrad led.



The charcoal-burner


Patient figure waking, the

longed-for sleep forsaking, the

charcoal burner sat.

Hands now gnarled and furrowing

in his fires are burrowing

which glittering and glimmering

with red flames gently shimmering

give light where scrub is mat.


Choking smoke asphyxiates, 

net of vapours enervates,

burns and makes one wheeze.

Charcoal cools down clinklingly

Ringingly and chinkingly,

to mighty stacks that skywards rise

by pits where ashes pulverise

among the frozen trees.


Hours are slow, disconsolate,

in far groves so desolate,

miles from neighbours’ doors.

Foxes hunt rapaciously

skulls complain insatiably

like hunger’s tears from forestland

and bog-hayfields and pastureland

and gravel from icy moors.


Waves of warmth flow smooth and free,

leave the bright blaze, soothingly

calm my aching breast.

See the flames leap playfully

offer gently, gracefully

warmth to one who’s freezing there

and a gleam so pleasing where

eyes have been hard-pressed.


Soon will come the break of day

when the giants all fly away

down to Hanga moor.

Junipers stand calm and straight,

nests among the stones await,

where the trolls are saved from dread,

in deep hiding put to bed

near paths ne’er roamed before.


Marie Dauguet: 'Sous les feuillages moites et sombres'


Sous les feuillages moites et sombres


Sous les feuillages moites et sombres

Des vernes, nous irons dans l’ombre,

Ecartant les gaules du poignet,

Pêcher dans le ruisseau du Moulin Greget.


L’air étalé sent bon les foins,

Et, tout au loin,

Sans doute en la chaleur qui les aveugle,

Un couple de bœufs doux, traînant un chariot, meugle.


Auprès d’un vieux mur accroupis,

Deux gamins gardent leurs brebis;

Je vois d’ici, entre les branches,

Parmi le pré, les toisons blanches.


Et l’eau fuit sur les pierres plates,

Autour de nous, en larges nappes,

Ou bien sournoisement se folâtre

Et creuse la berge noirâtre.


Sous les ronciers, dont s’entrecroisent les arceaux,

En vifs ressauts,

Heurtant les pendantes ramilles,

Elle éparpille

Un peu d’écume.


Et j’aime à me griser de l’amertume sombre

De cette eau noire qui vire aux pieds des vernes d’ombre


Mais puisque là-bas le soir tombe,

En l’herbe lasse;

Au ciel couleur de serpolet

Que, flageolet

Rustique, la bise s’est tue,

Au soir de cendre,

Nous allons tendre,

Avec des gestes de silence,

Pour attraper des écrevisses, nos balances,


Et nous respirons alors l’odeur de notre enfance.



Under the alders’ mottled sombre pall


Under the alders’ mottled sombre pall

We like to fish when evening shadows fall,

With bent wrists dip our rods out of the way

And go down to the river at Moulin Greget.


The air’s pervaded by the scent of hay

And, far away,

Because the heat is now a dazzling glow,

A pair of gentle bullocks pull their cart and softly low.


Beside an old wall two youths squat,

Watching their ewes from this close spot;

Between the branches I can see

White fleeces dotted round the lea.


The water flows over the flattish stones

Around us, in broadish slicks that roam,

Or, surreptitiously at play,

Burrows in banks of blackish clay.


Under the briars’ intertwining arches,

In jolts and lurches,

Colliding with thin hanging strands,

it scatters bands

of streaky foam.


I love to feel the rush of this black water’s

Sombre bitterness, swerving round shadows of alders.


But since night’s falling over there

In weary grass;

And in a wild-thyme coloured sky

Where, rustic

Flageolet, the breeze has fallen still,

At evening’s ending

We will be tending –

With gestures indicating silence –

Our crayfish nets to view our catch,


And then will breathe a snatch of childhood.


Saturday, 27 March 2021

Knud Sørensen: 'Om jorden'




There he stands

right in the middle of his world,

which here means

right in the middle of his corn

but also

right in the middle of the 

wretched and yellowish spot

that has probably

been given too much

of some chemical or other

or been hit

by chance fall-out

or by a stray gene

that ought to have been

somewhere else completely,

and there he just stands,

and it looks more as if

he is full of admiration

than in right in the middle

of a showdown with himself.

Don’t think,

he then says,

you can get the better of

the earth.

The earth is strong

and unbeatable,

it’s only

earth put to use

that is frail,

he says,

it’s only

the earth of chance life

that can be threatened

when chance life

scratches at it

too roughly.

Look around, he says,

when you think you’ve got it,

it turns its back

and starts living a quite different life.

It’s got enough of them.

I’ve only got one

he says and can scarcely

conceal his laughter.

He kicks one of the clods.

Bloody earth.

Friday, 26 March 2021

Knud Sørensen: 'Om tiden'




It is not the wind

that whips the grass


it is not the wind

that makes fruit

fall from the outermost branches

right now,

and it is not the wind

that makes clouds seek

the closest horizon. No

it is no use

choosing the wind

as an explanation

I’m well aware

it isn’t that

which is raging out here,

but that it is time,

my one and only time,

which is running faster

and faster

and is running farther

and farther away, I’m well aware

it is that

which has burst out of my pulse

and now –

suddenly – stands there gloating,

free at last. 

Marie Dauguet: 'Les purins noirs' ('Pastorales', 1908)


Les purins noirs


Les purins noirs chamarrés d’or,

Cernent de somptueux reflets

La ferme trapue qui dort

Sous ses lourds tilleuls violets.


La porte entrouverte, l’étable

Ardente pesamment parfume

L’air du soir. Un lis adorable,

Un grand lis élancé consume


Son cœur, au bord de la croisée,

Près du fumier évaporant

Sa buée... La vitre irisée

Chatoie, teintée d'un bleu mourant.



Black slurry heaps


Glinting with gold, black slurry heaps

With lavish mirrorings surround

The squatting farm that soundly sleeps

Beneath stout lindens mauvely crowned.


The stable door, ajar, lets fumes

Of pungent scent infuse unclear

Late air. A lovely flower consumes

Its heart – a slender lily near


The window and not far from steam

Still rising from the dung close by…

The iridescent panes now gleam,

Tinged with a blue that soon will die.


Thursday, 25 March 2021

Marie Dauguet: 'Le rire de l'amour' (Passions, 1938)






Le rire de l’amour m’a toujours fait pleurer,

Il était un instant, fait de rien, plus léger

Qu’un choc de grain de sable au fond du sablier

Et cependant le cœur… doit boire et doit manger.


Arrange-toi pauvre être, on t’a jeté sur terre

Avec de l’infini affamé sous les os,

Nulle part n’est dressé le festin qu’il te faut,

Fais comme tu pourras et tire-toi d’affaire.


J’ai serré sur mon cœur le soleil simplement,

La terre caressée, vers moi se soulevant,

Et ce fut ma réponse ironique au destin,

Mais rien, mais jamais rien n’a consolé ma faim.








Love’s laughter causes me to cry, now as before,

There for an instant, made of nothing, lighter still

Than when a sand-grain falls and strikes the hourglass floor,

And yet the heart to live… must eat and drink its fill.


Make do, poor creature, with this life, your earthly lot,

Though hunger for infinity lies in your bones;

The laid-out feast you need is not part of the plot,

Just do as best you can and get by on your own.


To my poor heart I’ve simply held the sun tight pressed,

And kissed the earth that rises up to meet my breast;

With irony I countered destiny at first,

But nothing’s ever stilled my hunger and my thirst.


Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Marie Dauguet: 'Passions' (1938), p. 10





Soleil, tout couronné de pampre en de corail,

Tu as l’odeur des mers et celle du bétail,

Ami charmant, tu m’as dit, contre ma tête :

‘Je t’ai bercé longtemps comme un enfant confus,

Englouti dans mon sein feuillu, dans mon lotus,

Sans pensée et mêlé à mon énorme fête,

Où se formaient les fleurs, les parfums, les métaux ;

Je suis le Bon Pasteur de ce bêlant troupeau,

Tournant autour de moi sans cesse, les planètes,

Mon effluve les guide ainsi qu’une houlette,

Mais je ne t’oublie pas, toi, mon plu cher agneau,

Chaque monde n’est fait que d’une onde incomplète

Et mon rayon divin fut pour toi seul, poète.’


Cher Soleil familier, pose-toi sur mon cœur

En confonds ta douceur avec cette lueur.







Oh Sun, with coral crowned and green shoots of the vine,

You have the smell of seas and also that of kine,

My charming friend, close to my ear, this you’ve made known:

‘I have long rocked you like a child whose mind was blurred

Here at my leafy breast, my lotus, quite submerged

And thoughtless, you may blend in my vast festive show,

Where flowers and perfumes, metals once were formed and play;

I’m the Good Shepherd of this flock which bleats away –

The planets which around me on their courses go –

It is my scent which like a crook keeps them in tow.

But you, my dearest lamb, I think of every day:

Each world is but a wave unfinished in its flow,

And my divine ray, poet, is for you alone.’


Dear Sun, close friend, come settle in my heart

And let my glow of your sweet fragrance be a part.



Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Knud Sørensen: 'Om kultur'




And an old woman

is slowly making her way

along the pavement

with her stick in one

and shopping bag in the other

of her hands,

and as she is

about to cross the road

it starts to rain

and she thinks of the corn

and how she always ties the sheaves

precisely now,

and preferably without rain

dear lord

remember this now,

we could do with a couple of weeks

without rain,

and she looks around her,

but it’s a long way to the sky

and to the fields

and the houses lie in the way,

and once more she notices

the rain.

Stay here,

she says

and is scarcely

inaudible any longer,

stay here, rain,

and let me

take you on me.

And she moves on

happily burdened

by her lot.