Friday, 27 July 2007

henrik nordbrandt

i've got some sort of haphazard collection of henrik nordbrandt scattered about in my computer, what remains of the defunct old lounge which, having searched again, contained more nordbrandt in english than anywhere else on the net
i'll get back on my familiar hobby horse about works in translation but the lack of nordbrandt in english, despite green integer's publication of the hangman's lament (a copy of which is currently on its way), is simply beyond me. what i have is culled from the net and a copy of an english language translation i found in the poetry library years ago, a book i so miss i think i'll need to take a trip back there sometime soon
anyhow, here's this, probably his best known poem (buy the book!)


After having loved we lie close together
and at the same time with distance between us
like two sailing ships that enjoy so intensely
their own lines in the dark water they divide
that their hulls
are almost splitting from sheer delight
while racing, out in the blue
under sails which the night wind fills
with flowerscented air and moonlight
without one of them ever trying
to outsail the other
and without the distance between them
lessening or growing at all

But there are other nights, where we drift
like two brightly illuminated luxury liners
lying side by side
with the engines shut off, under a strange constellation
and without a single passenger on board:
On each deck a violin orchestra is playing
in honour of the luminous waves.
And the sea is full of old tired ships
which we have sunk in our attempt to reach each other.

a short note on the poetry library, a fabulous building, full of treasures, almost invariably empty, (at least up until a couple of years ago, which was the last time i visited) a fact myself and the last person with whom i went there put down to the notoriously frosty assistants (apologies if the staff had changed). Z commented on this one time and was told that no the building wasn't always quiet and it really got rather busy when the architecture students came to visit. i hope that since he completion of holyrood it'll be a place our politicians visit but somehow (and definitely given the current administration if their past record on poetry and me goes but that's another story) i doubt it. those imagineers of the romantic 'celtic' spirit please take note

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