Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hendrik Nordbrandt



(a larch composite done by me)

On a wet Wednesday I am grateful to my girlfriends, who call me up out of the blue and make me laugh out loud. They are quite simply the best medicine around.

I'm also grateful to Swiss Lounge for posting this wonderful poem by Hendrik Nordbrandt on his blog. The translator is unknown.

Pragmatic

The things that were here before you died
and the things that have come after:

To the former belong, first of all,
your clothes, the jewelry and the photographs
and the name of the woman you were named after
and who also died young...
But also a couple receipts, the arrangement
of a certain corner in the living room,
a shirt you ironed for me
and which I keep carefully
under my pile of shirts,
certain pieces of music, and the mangy
dog that still stands around
smiling stupidly, as though you were here.

To the latter belong my new fountain pen,
a well-known perfume
on the skin of a woman I hardly even know
and the new light bulbs I put in the bedroom lamp
by whose light I read about you
in every book I try to read.

The former remind me that you were,
the latter that you no longer are.

It is the near indistinguishableness
I find hardest to bear.

6 Comments:

Blogger swiss said...

if you're fancying getting some of him i;d go for the recently published hangman's lament rather than the robin fulton translated selected poems which is still about but which i didn;t really enjoy at all

9:18 pm  
Blogger apprentice said...

Thanks, I'll look out for it. I do like him very much.

11:01 pm  
Blogger Kay said...

That is a marvellous poem. So real.

10:15 am  
Anonymous belleek said...

that is lovely and so evocative ...

3:55 pm  
Blogger Sarah Laurence said...

Laughter is the best medicine. It is grey hear too. I hadn't heard of this poet before.

1:38 am  
Blogger apprentice said...

I only discovered hm recently, thanks to the Scottish poetry Library and Swiss here.

He has lived out of Denmark most of his aduly life and has travelled widely.

11:17 am  

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