Thursday, 5 March 2015

Poem sequence by Klaus Høeck

‘études australes’


and behind me stars
of glass and soda sparkle
behind my shoulder

that’s smoking with salt
behind my bedhead while i
am dreaming the stars

sparkle like crayfish
on the sea-bed of båring
vig the stars sparkle

like lightships there up
in the springtime night while i
am falling asleep


i have gathered the
dead around me in a cir
cle as around a

maypole for a dance
and a conversation they
cannot take part in

all the dead members
of my family around
me like statues that

move almost imper
ceptibly whenever i
do not gaze at them


and behind me the
stars sparkle like electric
welding over fun

en from the lindø
shipyards behind me the stars
toll for my ears out

from the spit ene
bærodde as if strangers
were going to be

evening guests or an
unexpected word in my
most recent poem


the dead also look
at me (at any rate from
their carbonised pho

tographs turned pale by
purgatory) or maybe
it is the other

way around that i
only move (am moved) when the
dead gaze at me and

that i otherwise
come to a complete standstill
in my memories?


and behind me the
stars plummet down cold and a
lien with sili

con from their orang
eries and from their enorm
ous celestial map

plunge into the realm
of my poems where they strike
my left foot or leave

behind them such words
as ‘carina’ or ‘puppis’
or as ‘canopus’


and behind me the
stars fall down from their winter
gardens fall down in

to ‘études australes’
from one star chart to anoth
er one and that is

the way the stars sound
then even harder and wild
er than emerald

that is the way the
stars sound in grete sultan’s
interpretation


nobody becomes
a good person just by dy
ing it is unfor

tunately not that
simple just as nobody
becomes an evil

person just by liv
ing it is not that simple
everyone has to

do it by themselves
both parts of their own free will
it’s that difficult


and behind me the
stars cast out dice over the
sky’s rough glass surface

like ice-cubes like the
coins in an I-ching throw
like the notes coming

from a steinway grand
piano like the sparks from
john cage’s pitu

itary gland like
crocodile tears like the last
words in the bible


i have gathered the
dead around me for life’s sake
(also the dead chaf

finches that flew in
to the window pane yester
day) life cannot un

equivocally
determine itself as life
the dead define us

in a way they are
what makes us living without
death there is no life


and behind me the
stars chime with death and necess
ity behind me

the stars ring out for
god – what if i were not to
turn around would i

then not be transformed
into a pillar of salt
or into a stone

plinth would my poem then
not be transformed into a
mourning cherry-tree?


To hear the translation read, go to here

1 comment:

John Irons said...

Taken from the collection 'In Nomine', p. 347 ff. A translation of this collection, and eight others by Klaus Høeck, can be found at: http://www.kb.dk/en/nb/materialer/haandskrifter/HA/e-mss/hoeeck.html