Thursday 30 June 2022

Klaus Høeck: 'Åndelig øvelse 10' (Heptameron)




mental exercise

number ten

consider the chair of

your writing desk intently

and say: there we have

a writing desk chair

it is not an

french empire chair or

a deck chair or

something as bizarre as

a safari chair – it is

real or it is really a

writing desk chair 





now close your eyes

and imagine

how it looks

in every detail

the semicircle of the back

the faded green

velvet seat – the chair

legs as if turned

or carved out

of a fairytale

say then to yourself:

i am now imagining

my writing desk chair 





begin now to

fantasise about

your writing desk chair

that for example it

has wings that

it flies off

at night while

you lie dreaming

about it – that it has

a deep voice etc

say then to yourself:

i am now fantasising about

my writing desk chair 





after that draw it

as well as you can

on a piece of

typewriting paper

preferably with indian ink

but most of all with

watercolours – insert

the word ‘writing desk chair’

and add an arrow

then write at the bottom of

the drawing: i have

now depicted my

writing desk chair 





finally settle yourself

comfortably in

your writing desk chair

and listen for a

long time to its peevish

creaking and groaning

do not as far as is possible

say anything to your

self but remain

sitting for a while and then

repeat all of mental

exercise number ten

point by point 


Klaus Høeck: 'Åndelig øvelse 9' (Heptameron)




mental exercise

number nine

place a maxell XLII

tape in your pioneer

cassette tape recorder

press the recording button

and record the instructions

for how the cassette recorder

is to be used – give

your wife the recorder as

a present and say that the

instructions for use are on

the accompanying tape 





devise a quite

simple code for

the danish language

for example that

a means b that

b means c etc

forward the key

to this code

converted into the self

same code language

to your wife in a

light blue envelope with

a heart on it 





construct a casket

preferably of mother-of-pearl

inlaid wood – place

an old-fashioned

lock on it to which

there are two keys

place the one key

in the casket – lock with

the other and hide

it – now hand over

this locked

casket to your

wife as a morning gift 





now your wife is

of course not stupid

she’s well aware

you are pulling

her leg – she’s

well aware that you

are trying to explain

something to her she

has realised herself

long since:

that a system a code

cannot contain its

own ultimate key 





she’s well aware

that your clumsy

demonstrations are

only sham solutions

she’s well aware that

even though the code ‘contains’

its own

key she will

only be able to grasp

this ‘inner

key’ if she

had grasped

the ‘outer key’


Wednesday 29 June 2022

Klaus Høeck: 'Åndelig øvelse 8' (Heptameron)



mental exercise

number eight

or what stillness is

go out into the twilight

and look at the twenty

cubic metres of firewood

your neighbour has just

unloaded onto the road

right outside your

terrace don’t say anything

think you own thoughts

struck by the contrary

opposite of speechlessness





walk over to

the logs

give them a kick and

say: flaming

bloody hell –

shut your trap and

listen to how

the wood mass sucks up

the echo of your words

into itself – listen to

how language ebbs

away into the contra

dictory opposite 





after that place yourself

(note the

expression: place yourself)

place yourself then

directly opposite the

beech logs and stay

perfectly still – now

stillness reigns

in the space between

you and the wood

between your speechlessness

and the wood’s silence

reigns the stillness 





it could also

be said that

speechlessness and

silence are negative

definitions whereas

stillness is a

positive definition

or that speechlessness

is the unsaid

silence the


and stillness

the inexpressible 





that is why you

can break speechlessness

by saying

the word ‘beech log’

and you can
break silence by

striking the beech log

or kicking it

while conversely it

is stillness that

breaks you – breaks out

of or into or

out from the poem


Klaus Høeck: 'Åndelig øvelse 7' (Heptameron)




mental exercise

number seven

sit down next

to one you are fond

of who’s about to die

(it’s all right to choose

a cat if you

feel that would

make it

easier) place your hand

on this person or creature

and feel the disease raging

in there in the body 





feel how

the cancer’s primadonna

is dancing on her

mountain of black varnish

how life

is fighting its

final battle and

slowly ebbing away

do not show the slightest

sign of fear

why should you

do that anyway it’s not

you who have to die yet 





now say in a firm

and clear voice:

there is no such thing as death

death is only a

transition to

eternal life –

go on say it

i mean: you are

a christian aren’t you –

you haven’t just had water

poured over your head
it actually meant

something – didn’t it? 





continue with

even greater emphasis

and without

trembling: Oh death

where is thy sting

Oh grave where is

thy victory –

see the dying one right

in the eyes and

say it loud and

clear – you don’t want

to make a joke of the

scriptures do you? 





refrain from

crying show no

grief – there is

no reason for it

it is a happy

event you are

present at – isn’t it?

it is when all

is said and done

the final miracle

in the seventh night

so phone death

and get it over with

Piet Hein: 'Du skal plante et træ'



Du skal plante et træ.

Du skal gøre én gerning,

som lever, når du går i knæ,

en ting, som skal vare

og være til lykke og læ.


Du skal åbne dit Jeg.

Du skal blive et eneste trin

på en videre vej.

Du skal være et led i en lod

som når ud over dig.


Du skal blomstre og dræ.

Dine frugter skal mætte

om så kun det simpleste kræ.

Du har del i en fremtid.

For dén skal skal du plante et træ.





Plant a tree to grow tall

Just one deed that's a sapling

To live when your life's had its fall;

A thing that is lasting,

A solace or joy to recall.


Let your heart bear full fruit.

Make your life just one step on a road

That is part of a route;

You shall be one small link in a chain

Of existence, one shoot.


You shall blossom, with all

Of your harvest sustaining

Some being, no matter how small;

You are part of a future -

And so, plant a tree to grow tall.


Klaus Høeck: 'Åndelig øvelse 6' (Heptameron)




mental exercise

number six

sit down at your

oak writing desk

place a sheet of

paper in front of you

describe the sky

and the stars

larger than above

the hills of your

childhood describe

the night’s

fanned-out peacock’s tail





now turn the paper

over and try

to describe a

model of your

surroundings as best

you can: the neighbour’s

house over there in

the dark lit up

by a crystal chandelier

distant towns you

can still recall far

off on the other

side of the dream 





then concentrate

on converting

your garden into

language flower

for flower tree

for tree write

this sentence down:

roses flower
for half a year

poems flower

for ever – write it

down on the paper

and learn it by heart





now it’s the turn

of your own house

sit down in

the middle of your house

and reproduce

exactly its layout

the relation of the rooms

to each other

the positions of the doors

whether the kitchen

faces south the grammar

of the wallpapers et

cetera etc. 





finally take a

new sheet of paper

out of the drawer and

place it in front of you

on the writing desk

carefully copy the surface

of this writing desk

what is lying on

it: a packet of kings

a pair of glasses kingo’s

winter hymns and this

drawing which contains

this drawing which...