Tuesday 31 January 2023

Henrik Nordbrandt: 'Fralandsvind'


















 9   Between Christmas and New Year

10  January 1999

11  From Bird Hill

12  Elder Sleep

13  From a Valley in a Valley

14  Cathedral

15  September

16  Without Inscription




19  Resurrection

20  Memorandum from the Kosovo War

21  The Rain

22  Cehennem ve Cennet

23  Esbern Snare

24  Recipe

25  Waiter

27  14 Hours




31  Father

33  The Shell-House Remembered

34  Storstrøm

37  The Thoughtful Child

38  The View from the Rampart Dwellings

39  The Golden Bird





43  Constantinopolitans

45  Soft Toys

46  Institution

47  On Toftegård Square

48  Evita

49  Out Dining in the Posher Part of the Suburbs

50  Appeal to Plumbers

51  On the Pros and Cons of Life

52  Own Ghost

53  View with padlock




57  Apple Core

59  Sun-Shadow

60  The Blue Shed




65  Behind the Dike

66  Late April

67  Portrait of the Heroine, far out at Sea

68  The Barge

69  August View

70  Notes from a Summer

71  Offshore Wind










Between Christmas and New Year

there is practically nothing.

It can almost be

in an ordinary, black handbag

of the kind midwives use

my mother used to say.

But I don’t know if that sort of logic

is applicable nowadays.

It doesn’t matter if you forget the bag.

There’s nobody, after all, who wants to have it.

Next year at the same time it’s there again

on the bench on the platform.

Nobody sits down next to it.

That’s the way it is between Christmas and New Year.

It’s a bit different, of course,

if it’s just snowed

and there’s a little snow on the top of the bag

and you can imagine

a train pulling in

out of the twilight.

That, then, is what the bag looks like.

It’s yours. Take it!

My mother won’t let on.





This time it was farther up

than you could really say it was down.

It felt like before early

and later than latest.

The air was an air bluer than blue

and it was almost more beautiful

than it really was terrible

if you can say that.

In short, it was before me

but most strangely as I had been long since.

January, they said. The sun came out

and caused the snow to slide down the statues.

In the air, gold shone on verdigris.

Behind lay the sea, and everything

they even so could never have taught me to say.





That which bleeds only hurts later:

That which flowers

pulls up by the root:


The plum tree at the lake’s edge stares

at a fallen regiment.

The cut freesias in the steel beaker

smell like the very soul

of the hospital bed.


An invisible amputation

accompanies visiting hours.

Pain is transferred

to a sense we knew nothing about.


Down from the earth the sharpest light

of the year now streams upwards

so we see each other for the first time


and look away.


Then come the long warm days

in sunlit fields

where you can walk for hours

and feel almost nothing.


The coolness of the woods

only reminds you

of the coolness of the woods.





Yesterday we were children, tomorrow nothing.

Just now the elder is in flower

You must keep yourself awake if your heart

is not to fly straight into its net.


It is even tempting to get lost in your own thoughts

among overgrown railway tracks

and dream of the terminus:

The stationmaster’s children are not a day older.


That ought to have made us suspicious.

Even so, we bought their ice-creams.

We knew a long, hot day lay ahead of us,

but not that their laughter would follow us.


At night you see someone you think you know

and then it is only that person’s dog

It is easier to find the way home than ever before

That is why we never go there any more.





It is as light as it is summer

it is as dark as it is me.

It is as before as it is after

and as late as it is always.


Summer goes from valley to valley.

The trees bend, darken and sigh

because they cannot keep up.

The white stone has sucked up so much light

that the light can now find nothing.

The lost years have left mother-of-pearl in the shadows.


I have no number for either my regrets

or those that died.

Tattered clouds cast chitin-hard shadows

over ivy and wall:

I think of the fact I must leave

and feel strangely elated.


It is as light as it is summer

and as late as it is always.





The most horrible thing that exists

is truth.


Who would not like to die

as may-rain over lilacs

or wild carrot by the wayside?


Fanatics do not know

that they know this.


I fly through the January night

at a low height above snow-covered Europe

Cathedral after cathedral

casts its light across the snow:


Never have I seen

never so clearly.





When season and life coincide

yellow leaves fall into yellow sun.


Then it’s September

and soon spring.





A grave, empty, in the snow.

Only my deeds remain.

That is how I envisage

The meeting at the crossroads.


I came before I was there

and thus become myself.

Those I have hurt run like blood

in the black water of the ditches.


In the same way as when in May

the corollas sound like laughter

even though a single tear

blinds a whole, large forest of firs.








After the month of death comes that of resurrection:

February. In an ice-cold bathroom

you stand naked and with black wings.

The water refuses to run. The world refuses to turn.

The window can’t be opened. And the person

standing here only almost resembles you.


For you are defective. It’s the fault of the month.

It’s too short to complete anything.

Your wings won’t do, and you discover

to your horror that your arsehole’s missing

as a portent of something much, much worse.


The uniform is on a hanger behind the door

with instructions in the inner pocket.

That’s the price for escaping: Just

say you’re Napoleon and they’ll believe you.


For the rest of them are Napoleon, too.





Down in the cellar I couldn’t see anything

on account of my sun-glasses

I discovered, when I finally took them off

and angrily flung them from me.


Now I’m sitting here and can’t see the sea properly

because I’ve got reading glasses on

and can’t read what I’m writing, either,

because the sun’s too strong.


Out of pure obstinacy I keep my reading glasses on.

and no power on earth

will get me to go down into the cellar for my sun-glasses!

That’s what my life’s like. What all human life’s like.


That’s how the war continues.





It’s raining.

And because it’s raining

it’s never done anything else except rain.

There is actually

nothing else but rain

and all dreams

are about that fact that it’s raining.


And it’s my fault in particular

that it’s raining.

It’s my fault

because it’s my fault that I was born.


I was born because I lied

about the rain itself:

‘Suddenly the sun breaks through

and ignites a white gable.’

I once said.


That’s a lie.


That is why I was born

because it’s raining.


That’s how it’s raining.


So have all of you understood, then,

what I feel like in rainy weather?





Something fell down from the Universe

and made an enormous, deep hole

but there was nothing

inside the hole.

- So now they stand there every Sunday

and stare down into it

and, for the same reason,

call it Hell.


Next to it is another hole

and at the bottom of it

a small church

which you can get down to

via a staircase

and then look up out of the hole.

- So that hole

they call Paradise.





Since this morning

I’ve been lying in wait to take revenge

on the pigeon

that shat on my head.


it simply ignores.

I’ve thrown a stone at it

without hitting it.

The garden hose is too short.


It knows perfectly well

that I’m after it.

It also knows why

the bastard!

It’s sitting up there in its dovecote

playing the innocent

so it makes you want to puke.


Sooner or later, I’ll get it!


But, just think! I think to myself:

Just think if Harold Bluetooth

not to mention Esbern Snare

had read these words

what wouldn’t they have thought

of me!


The moral being

you should take good care of your country’s history

and be kind to animals.





Divide your friends up by to how much they bring in for you.

Tell them you love and admire them as often as you can

and give it the whole works.

They’ll only think: ‘No one can be that smarmy.

How could I ever have had such a thought!’

Don’t be afraid to give presents, either.

If you give them to the right people, you’ll get back twice over.

Avoid the poor and the persecuted

unless they have the world’s eyes on them.

If so, make common cause with them.

Use other people’s sufferings with no inhibitions.

The way you do your pictures

they can easily be seen as expressions of sympathy.

For your powers of persuasion are just as great

as your strokes are imprecise.

And don’t be afraid I’ll give your name away.

Everyone who knows you and has read this far

has already recognised you

as I know, at this moment, you see yourself.





The waiter radiates respect.

He hates me, because I speak his language.

If only I’d been a stupid

American tourist

a stupid Englishman, a stupid German

a stupid Frenchman or a stupid Italian

he would have clapped me heartily on the back

and tried to cheat me.


But I am someone who speaks his language correctly

with an accent he cannot place

and who he therefore hates.

It gives him

the feeling that I know him

better than he does himself.

And he’s right about that. That’s why he hates me.


I take a sip of my beer, write

this and light a cigarette.

He’s there in a flash with an ashtray.

I thank him

and pass him the sports supplement from the newspaper

which he’s been eyeing for a long time

and ask him if he’d like to have it.


Of course he would!

At the same moment he’s taken it

he feels he’s been seen through

and hates me all the more.


If I had spoken without an accent

he would have thought that I was like him

only more fortunate.

He would have looked at me

as you look at a more fortunate brother

with a mixture of envy and admiration.

But my hint

of an accent inspires him with loathing.


He hates me.

If it hadn’t been a punishable offence,

he would have killed me.


I finish my beer, get up

acknowledge him with a cool nod

and leave him far too big a tip.

So that’s quite clear to him!






the temperature was 32°C in the shade of the house

where the women sat silently on a low bench

without needlework or anything else to busy their hands with.



the men gathered in a corner of the garden.

Most of them smoked but no one said anything.



some of the women began to scream.

A group of tourists out in the street

stopped to take a photograph.



the screams had become dirges.

It was incredible how many they knew by heart.



a white car came and left again with something

it had fetched from inside the house.



only a little boy was still in the garden.

And his stick and a dead rat.



the temperature was 41°C in the shade

of one of the garden’s two olive trees.



I asked the neighbour who it was that was dead

but didn’t quite catch the answer.

It was something about some-woman-or-other-in law.

I had never been all that good at families.



they washed the bed linen

and hung it up on the line between the two trees.

The rest of the evening

I wondered who it could have been.



I suddenly realised:

It was the one, of course, who hadn’t been with the others.








The last time it took longer to school

because my father nearly got both of us killed

when he fell asleep at the wheel.

It was at that moment

I remembered in a glimpse from reality

that I would have been given a warning

that this was the last time I would see him

if I hadn’t known that he was already dead.


‘That’s grammar for you,’ I thought

and I hadn’t even done my homework on it.

At these words my father woke up.


‘That’s never happened to me before,’

he said, ‘falling asleep at the wheel.’

His voice sounded ashamed.


I didn’t know what to say

so as not to offend

the old man who had once been so strong

fought in the war and commanded ships


I didn’t know how to behave

so as not to accidentally disclose

that he was now dead.


‘I’ve cheated,’ I said, ‘cheated at grammar’

and even more at arithmetic.

‘I bought crib sheets at the bookseller’s.


‘I know,’ he said.

‘So now you’ll just have to start from scratch.’


I jumped out the car and began to push.

It was uphill work multiplying the single-figures

and even more uphill doing the ten to twenty table.

The streams rushed stronger and stronger

the grass grew more and more green

the yellow flowers more and more yellow.

The log houses at the roadside

became more and more wood-like.


People lived by breeding roses.

They were kind and helped me push.


It was countryside neither of us had seen before

but which we both knew

since one of us was dead

and the other one his son.


It all went smoothly. We climbed above the timber line

where the school stood, tall as a mountain on top of the mountain

built of gleaming ice.


From the top of the school you could look down to the sea

where my father’s ship lay.

That’s how I learnt numbers and grammar.


All that was left after that was

to carve up the head teacher.

My old man fixed that

with the sabre I inherited from him.


Then I cut through the mooring.





Like most people I was born when there was a war on

and like most people I flew in dreams

enjoying my wings

out of the world of war into that of gardens

there where, among dark roses,

the full moon, the fountain and the unicorn

watch over each other’s inviolability.


Now dream and reality are approaching each other

as in the viewfinder of a camera:

The details are so sharply in focus

that the overall view is lost.

I turn my gaze away and know:

Like a flaring flashbulb I am to fix the breaks

between the World and me, the war that continues.





No matter whether I come from Zealand or Falster

I’m on my way home

when I travel over the Storstrøm Bridge.


Via the Storstrøm Bridge I travel

e.g. on this occasion

back to 1949 or 1950.


Even then my clothes seem strange to me

maybe because they are relics of the war

maybe because I’m looking at them in a mirror from 2000:

Plus-fours and knitted socks.

Everything is handmade, everything itches.


I cry, and the sight of my tears in the mirror

cause me to cry even more.


My grandma and grandpa are going home.

They’re on their way out. They’ve already

said goodbye to my mother and father.

The front door is open.

A wave of some strange cooking odour and old linoleum

surges in from the stairway.


My tears turn into a bellow.


Everyone looked strangely at me.

My grandma takes me up on her arm.

I can just go with them, she says.

She dries away my tears.

Her handkerchief

has red lipstick stains on it.


My mother and father nod.

They look relieved.

I’m a nuisance!

Suddenly it’s now them I’m going to have to miss.

My crying begins again

at the very moment it comes to a stop.


They whisper a little together.


I would have said today

and leap back

to the past this is:


A compromise was agreed on:

My grandma and grandpa

will go for a drive with me

a short, little drive

before driving off on their long trip

back to Falster.


We drove through Copenhagen

and out of the city.

I recognised the tower of the Zoological Gardens.

It wasn’t all that short, even so,

that trip, I thought.

The crying had made me tired.


I woke up in Roskilde.

The sight of the cathedral spires

made me anxious.

I knew what those spires meant:

Soon half-way to Falster!


Then I thought of something else

and fell asleep again.

Right in the middle of the Storstrøm Bridge I woke up.


No way back!


The bridge disappeared beneath me.

There was only a fall that went on and on

and for the same reason

it was pointless to offer any resistance.


The whole world was bottomless.

It almost felt secure.


At that moment I knew what love is

what departing is

and what lying is


and that they’re bound up with each other the way they are

because you’re going to miss everything and everyone.





As a child I thought: To begin with you’re a child

and then at the psychiatrist’s the rest of your life.

And I can prove that

because those who can walk on water

can also read people’s thoughts:

The skaters stood stock-still for a moment

on the surface of the black bogwater

such an impression did the word

psychiatrist have on them.

I also thought: With so many cars

the world won’t last long: They must be got rid of

So I flattened my toy cars

with a hammer.

That got me into a right bollocks

a word that at that time it was strictly forbidden

even to think about.

Some people will probably say: What a clever child.

Others: He hasn’t been at the psychiatrist’s enough yet.

But it was in mid-May

The fish were leaping all the time out of the black water

with the same eagerness I have later seen

people leap out of hospital windows

a couple of months earlier, when there’s still snow.





What sounds like the sea

is the traffic of those on their way home.


Even in my deepest dreams

I know that I am dreaming


as life knows that it is death’s

dream of wakening.


When from time to time I open my eyes

I think I can glimpse the sea.


But it turns out to be a car

that’s coming to fetch me.





As far as I am from myself

yet on account of the years that passed

so unnervingly near

it must be me who once planted

that yellow tree out in the yard.


My late world lights it up

like imagined gold

in the mole’s passages.


But everything I write is untrue

a language learnt all wrong from the start.

Children in prison uniforms

each holding up its letter.


Summer spells the word autumn, evening

and greasy plates.

in the top of the golden tree sings a golden bird

about a golden bird in a golden tree.


No one answers it.











Shame, I dreamt, in the beginning was shame.


When I stood face to face with shame

I understood that I’d spent my life on it.


So that was that. And shame was only a word


like, for example, Constantinopolitan.


And I would soon be dead. Dead of shame.


Shame was little, old, wizened and bluish.


To being with, I felt pity for it.


Then I broke its fingers, knocked its teeth out

and put out its eyes with an awl.


That’s what dreams are like. It wasn’t a pretty sight

to see it on its knees begging for its life.




As I couldn’t pronounce it

I ran sobbing off from school, sobbing.


And what’s more it was just at the time

when the hawthorn was in blossom.


For the sake of one word I had to suffer so much.


And not until this instant does it occur to me

that I have since got to know


several female Constantinopolitans


pretty well – and without feeling ashamed.





Everyone must have noticed by now how

more and more soft toys have begun

to leave their mark on the cityscape.

Especially during the months of March and April

when the sun reaches the dirt most carefully hidden

the increase becomes conspicuous.

Does that mean that we, the thoughtful, melancholic

must transform ourselves into real bears

or at worst baboons?

That’s one theory. Love

of one’s country and all that sort of stuff is another

and some people go on like that until they collapse

at the end of the painfully long summer evenings.

If I understood what I had written

when, clad in pyjamas and slippers,

I sat on the edge of the bed the day after and read it

it would be meaningless, a betrayal

of  everything beautiful: You can’t catch me.





When death comes, we’re to be glad.

That’s our programme at any rate.

By saying we we believe we can fool death

all of us ‘we’s. All of us think it

but no one thinks out loud.

The one who first says I dies first.

So no one says I. It is the hospital:

We its patients. Each patient is a we.

Especially in May this has a convincing effect

and especially when we’re outside.

A smell of new-mown grass and chlorine surrounds us

when we go for a walk right down to the entrance

from where we, in our nightshirts, have acquired the habit

of watching the sun set on the world.

The grease spots of the poppies confuse our gazing.

We cannot hold on to anything, but then we’re not I

either, we think. But no one thinks it out loud.

The one who first thinks out loud dies first.

So far, though, May is so fat.

The flower-fat of the dandelions vies

with the green-fat of the wood and the fat flags.

The sky is grossly fat with swallows.

They shit on people and their cars

indiscriminately. We discriminate.

The cars die first, but the cars rise again.

Evening is on the way, it will soon be June

children are born, the dandelion seeds are flying

then July and August. Then it’ll be etc.

But right now May is so fat

that death cannot show a bone

and when it comes, it will be with gladness.

When we die, we’ll become Mr. I again.





The same language: Grey skies and buses.

The buses are lined up, no one

is going to drive

we’ve talked about everything there was to talk about

even so the words haven’t been used up.

If you count, there are probably

more of them than when we began.

That is what in the same language makes

grey skies so grey, so grey.

The same language means: The buses

can’t drive.

The underworld’s the name of the place we bought tickets for.

So it doesn’t exist any longer either.

The skies are grey.

I feel I ought to write. It’s just that

I can’t. It is the same language.

Writers who cannot find anything to write about

can always write about Odysseus.

Odysseus loves

the yellow buses beneath the grey sky.

When they switch on their lights and drive out

they look like the fleet of the Hellenes.

The fleet of the Hellenes

seen from the coast, by the Trojans it should be noted.

And they have been in the Underworld ever since.





Then there was that dream about the killer-chicken

Evita, and what she had to say.

For such was reality.

For that was what she said.

‘Caretaker,’ she also said. ‘That’s a bit less

than a head teacher

and you also live in the basement

but that’s just one example

of the fact I’m right about everything.’

Therefore people said of course she was

right about everything

so she could kill everything and everyone

you refused to agree she was right.

When she pecked the kangaroo’s eyes out

and it looked at me

from up in the sky, through a hole

in a torn cloud

which made it look like the moon

I finally knew what creature

I lacked words for

to be myself

to be able to stop dreaming like that.





The next last thing, I went out to see how

but it was too far to get there

I was told my somebody who’d been there

and there was nothing special about that

he added. So now

he just looked after his potato field.

From there, things went downhill fast.

I saw some people who had got lost

and got stuck there

with frost in their hair and green eyes.

They only did that

because they wanted to be loved.

I had to go through a war as well.

Since I didn’t understand its logic

I was riddled with holes without getting hurt

so when I caught sight of a large villa

where they were busy eating the food I knew

I was not surprised.

I didn’t even bother to go in and say hello.

So that must have been the last thing.





I used to use the word pain

as when you talk about a kitchen sink

that’s got blocked.

And the autumn light makes the grease on the plates

look like old make-up

and you can’t remember the name of a person

who repairs kitchen sinks

and when the word plumber

finally comes to you

he hasn’t time for a couple of hours

and comes a couple of hours too late.

And then evening comes

just like after all the other days

and you go to the cinema

alone, and see a film you’ve forgotten

long before the kitchen sink

breaks down the next time

so all you can do is go home

and lie awake in the dark

and think of all the other words

you also misused, and everything that

went wrong, all of those

who disappeared because they didn’t want to be part of it –

so perhaps that even so could be

what is called pain.





When the light’s on

I change my mind and keep going.

When the house is dark

I lack paper and pen.

When the apple tree’s green

the blossom’s missing.

When the spring’s over

we miss what we missed.


When many years ago I had to write an essay

on ‘the pros and cons of life’

I noted this

one night when the apple tree was in bloom.





The light from the bedside lamp I’d forgotten to turn off

woke me up far out in the wood.

‘What a ghost-house!’ I said out loud

even though I was alone

and the house what’s more was mine.

I stole round it, but didn’t dare go in.

I managed to spell my way back

through the prickly scrub

to the place in the book where I’d fallen asleep

and the train to India was to arrive.

But because the consonants

because of this had been torn out of my name

I came to the wrong station.

On a bench on the platform a person was sitting

who proved to be death

by the way he lifted

his red-wine glass towards the moon.

The last train hadn’t left yet, he said.

We made a bet on that.

And to my surprise I won

so since then I haven’t been able to fall asleep again.





After September there’s just padlock on padlock.

Nobody asks why nobody asks

so there is nobody who asks.

The head doctor says it’s his elephant

waiting outside, it’s furiously

impatient, so he can’t operate until next week.

End of his story.

Crane is just called crane.

No explanation why it’s lifting a red-painted boat

up in the air in the midst of the mountains’ silence.

And that’s when it’s Wednesday. The 13th on the other hand

when we stand keeping an eye on the boat

to see whether it will also make it to the sea

the yellow leaves swirl across the windows

each of them struck by a sun’s ray

so it hurts right out to the toilet at the end of the passage.

We are all waiting for that.

Once it used to be I, but it’s calmer with we.

Elephant is just called elephant.

And there are nights when they rush trumpeting through the town

on their hind legs, and arm in arm

so the moon sees the padlocks the rest of us only hear creak.








As the most important of my principles

I always eat an apple

core and all.

So it must be her teeth

that have left their mark on that core over there

now that her lips

as the crow flies

are more than three thousand kilometres away.


It’s lying there on the stair

shrivelled, brown and just as ugly

as it is far

out of the town, through the forests, mountains, silver mines

over the sea and what you otherwise dream about

until you find your wings

and meet her in flight.


But for the time being I hate her

because she threw away that core there.


So that poor worm

which considered it its home

and had never heard of Western Philosophy

and especially Freud

as she says, as opposed

to the animals was an idiot


dried up one stair lower down.





When we pulled in to the side

the brambles scratched the paint of the car

to my already threadbare



While I rummaged under the bonnet

you admired a golden bird

with a long, crimson tail

whose song soared and dipped

above the river bed among the mountains.


I too from time to time

must have cast a glance upwards

and have tuned my ear to something

else than the off-sound of the engine

I realise now, with the summer over

and us talking on the phone


from two different sides of a dark continent

where the mountain tops have begun to gleam white.





There is more sun than shadow in the shadow

and more shadow than sun in the sun.

The weather is tatty like a three-day-old

shirt over the back of a chair

and on my retina there is a spot

where the sun has produced a fly

in a winter-white room.

It will never go away

and exactly as far off as she is

she will never go away either

and the door she took with her when she left

so that house will never be shut

and the heart pumps in vain

because the heart’s doors are open like the house’s.

I cannot get up from the bed

and find no rest

because I cannot feel myself for flies.

‘I’ll find another woman all right,’

sounds tempting at first

but then sets my teeth on edge like sugar.





You mustn’t leave me, you mustn’t!

But be so kind, if you do

to take your things with you

so they won’t be left behind

in some old shed or other

as they did in the dream

I escaped from so badly last night.


It was funny enough, that shed:

It was blue, and then it was on a jetty

and through the drizzle the full moon

shone on the red shutters

where someone had painted mermaids and sea anemones.

Behind the door hung your dressing gown

the embroidered one with the tassels

and the gramophone was playing your music

precisely as we had taught it to.


Then I knew that you had left me

and that it was because of the motor bike

that I had left

behind one of the many pubs on the bathing jetty

and forgotten when I had left the place.


All night long I walked around in the rain

looking for the motor bike

a large, vulgar, chromium-plated thing

I would never have acquired myself

but now had lost

and therefore would give everything to find.


Because I couldn’t find it

your things didn’t disappear either from the blue house 

and because your things didn’t disappear

you didn’t come back either

and because you didn’t come back

I will never dream about the little blue house again.


Therefore I cannot exclude either

that in my dream

I drove into the harbour on my motor bike and drowned.


That possibly doesn’t explain all of it

but it is easier to live with

than if you had simply left me. 







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.