Monday, 19 September 2011

Today's translation is of a poem by the Danish writer Pia Tafdrup


Immerse myself in a drop’s still light
and recollect how I came into being:
A pencil put into my hand,
my mother’s cool hand round mine, which was hot.
- And then we wrote
in and out of coral reefs,
an underwater alphabet of curves and points,
of snail spirals, of starfish arms,
of flailing octopus tentacles,
of cave vaults and cliff formations.
Letters that quivered and found their way
dizzily across the whiteness.
Words like flatfish that flapped
and burrowed into the sand
or sea anemones with hundreds of strands
gently swaying in unison.
Sentences like streams of fish
that gained fins and began to rise,
gained wings and moved with a steady rhythm,
throbbing like my blood, which blindly
threw stars against the heart’s night sky,
when I saw that her hand had let go of mine,
that I long since had written myself free of her grasp.

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