torsdag, desember 08, 2005

Snowy Morning

When we were nine or ten and used to play
at dying — hands clasped to the chest,
Goodbye, beautiful world, I love you! —
we didn't believe it could ever really be done.

Say goodbye to everything? A gunshot wound
in 'Alias Smith and Jones' could set us thinking —
please please don't die — or a feathered mess
that had been a pigeon squashed on the road.

Even Divinity class, that final sponge of vinegar
on a speartip. Goodbye, beautiful vinegar.
Now, under the shag of decades, after so much
contact with things, it takes a morning like this.

Snow has fallen, a light crust. On the white field
green trails zigzag where the horses wandered,
a crazy scribble shows where they fed.
There they are now, two statues stooping.

All the ewes are sitting, thawing their grass.
Puddles crunch like caramel. Little snowfalls
crumble down a hedge. The silver-birch
trembles with its own twigs' shadows.

And under the rusty chestnut I walk
through a rain of crystals. There isn't much to say.
This is a day that decides by itself to be beautiful.
This field is a bride. How are we to say goodbye?

From "In Dr No's Garden" (Cape, 2001)

tirsdag, november 22, 2005

When First We Faced

When first we faced, and touching showed
How well we knew the early moves,
Behind the moonlight and the frost,
The excitement and the gratitude,
There stood how much our meeting owed
To other meetings, other loves.

The decades of a different life
That opened past your inch-close eyes
Belonged to others, lavished, lost;
Nor could I hold you hard enough
To call my years of hunger-strife
Back for your mouth to colonise.

Admitted: and the pain is real.
But when did love not try to change
The world back to itself--no cost,
No past, no people else at all--
Only what meeting made us feel,
So new, and gentle-sharp, and strange?

-- Philip Larkin

fredag, november 04, 2005

Uncle and Auntie

my auntie gave me a colouring book and crayons
I begin to colour
after a while auntie leans over and says
you've gone over the lines
what do you think they're there for
some kind of statement is it?
going to be a rebel are we?
your auntie gives you a lovely present
and you have to go and ruin it
I begin to cry
my uncle gives me a hanky and some blank paper
do some doggies of your own he says
I begin to colour
when I have done
he looks over
and says they are all very good
he is lying
only some of them are

-- John Hegley

mandag, oktober 31, 2005


Uninvited, the thought of you stayed too late in my head,
so I went to bed, dreaming you hard, hard, woke with your name,
like tears, soft, salt, on my lips, the sound of its bright syllables
like a charm, like a spell.

Falling in love
is glamorous hell; the crouched, parched heart
like a tiger ready to kill; a flame's fierce licks under the skin.
Into my life, larger than life, beautiful, you strolled in.
I hid in my ordinary days, in the long grass of routine,
in my camouflage rooms. You sprawled in my gaze,
staring back from anyone's face, from the shape of a cloud,
from the pining, earth-struck moon which gapes at me

and I open the bedroom door. The curtains stir. There you are
on the bed, like a gift, like a touchable dream.

-- Carol Ann Duffy

Interview with Ms Duffy

fredag, oktober 21, 2005


Lilacs blossom just as sweet
Now my heart is shattered.
If I bowled it down the street,
Who's to say it mattered?
If there's one that rode away
What would I be missing?
Lips that taste of tears, they say,
Are the best for kissing.

Eyes that watch the morning star
Seem a little brighter;
Arms held out to darkness are
Usually whiter.
Shall I bar the strolling guest,
Bind my brow with willow,
When, they say, the empty breast
Is the softer pillow?

That a heart falls tinkling down,
Never think it ceases.
Every likely lad in town
Gathers up the pieces.
If there's one gone whistling by
Would I let it grieve me?
Let him wonder if I lie;
Let him half believe me.

-- Dorothy Parker

mandag, august 29, 2005


I want to be
so I can be
about being

What good is my
when I am
in this

-- David Budbill

tirsdag, august 16, 2005

Diatribe Against the Dead

The dead are selfish:
they make us cry and don't care,
they stay quiet in the most inconvenient places,
they refuse to walk, we have to carry them
on our backs to the tomb
as if they were children. What a burden!
Unusually rigid, their faces
accuse us of something, or warn us;
they are the bad conscience, the bad example,
they are the worst things in our lives always, always.
The bad thing about the dead
is that there is no way you can kill them.
Their constant destructive labor
is for the reason incalculable.
Insensitive, distant, obstinate, cold,
with their insolence and their silence
they don't realize what they undo.

-- Angel Gonzalez

Translated from the Spanish by Steven Ford Brown and Gutierrez Revuelta.
Posted to Minstrels.

søndag, juli 31, 2005

Monet Refuses the Operation

Doctor, you say that there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don't see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
wisteria separate
from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don't know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent. The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air
and changes our bones, skin, clothes
to gases. Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.

-- Lisel Mueller

A web version, with graphics and sound, can be found at here.

fredag, juli 22, 2005

In the light of recent terrorist attacks

'On Laws (The Prophet, Chapter 13)'

Then a lawyer said, "But what of our Laws, master?"
And he answered:

You delight in laying down laws,
Yet you delight more in breaking them.
Like children playing by the ocean who build sand-towers with
constancy and then destroy them with laughter.
But while you build your sand-towers the ocean brings more sand to the shore,
And when you destroy them, the ocean laughs with you.
Verily the ocean laughs always with the innocent.

But what of those to whom life is not an ocean, and man-made laws are
not sand-towers,
But to whom life is a rock, and the law a chisel with which they
would carve it in their own likeness?
What of the cripple who hates dancers?
What of the ox who loves his yoke and deems the elk and deer of the
forest stray and vagrant things?
What of the old serpent who cannot shed his skin, and calls all
others naked and shameless?
And of him who comes early to the wedding-feast, and when over-fed
and tired goes his way saying that all feasts are violation and all
feasters law-breakers?

What shall I say of these save that they too stand in the sunlight,
but with their backs to the sun?
They see only their shadows, and their shadows are their laws.
And what is the sun to them but a caster of shadows?
And what is it to acknowledge the laws but to stoop down and trace
their shadows upon the earth?

But you who walk facing the sun, what images drawn on the earth can hold you?
You who travel with the wind, what weathervane shall direct your course?
What man's law shall bind you if you break your yoke but upon no
man's prison door?
What laws shall you fear if you dance but stumble against no man's
iron chains?
And who is he that shall bring you to judgment if you tear off your
garment yet leave it in no man's path?
People of Orphalese, you can muffle the drum, and you can loosen the
strings of the lyre, but who shall command the skylark not to sing?

-- Kahlil Gibran

In the light of recent terrorist attacks, there have been various
denunciations of fundamentalist and extremist ideologies, especially
the Islamic variety. IMHO, no matter what religion or philosophy it
subscribes to, extremism is dangerous, because it leads to conflict,
intolerance and violence.

Several articles in recent editions of prominent news sources have
attempted to analyse what drives seemingly normal young men to such
extremes, and they seem to come up with common themes: youthful
rebellion, spiritual yearning, immigrant isolation, racial
discrimination, sexual repression and existentialist crises.

IMHO, the primary cause for these young men to blow themselves up is
none but the oldest criminal motive, that which caused Cain to slay
Abel: envy. Envy that their own orthodox beliefs, which aims at
suppressing every human pleasure and instinct, do not bring them
happiness, whereas supposedly inferior cultures seem to be doing so
much better.

Gibran condemns those who would impose arbitrary morality on humanity
"the cripple who hates dancers", and ends the chapter ends on a
resounding blow for personal freedom of the human spirit, within the
limits of self-restraint, "tear off your garment yet leave it in no
man's path".

Raj contributed this to Minstrels

mandag, juni 13, 2005

For the Man Who Taught Tricks to Owls

You say they were slow to learn. The brains of owls
Went down in your opinion through long hours
Of unresponsive staring
While you showed them how to act out minor parts
In the world of Harry Potter. Come with me now
Into the night, perch motionless, balanced
On a branch above a thicket, where every choice
Of a flight path is more narrow
Than your broad wing-span, more jagged
And crooked than patterns of interrupted moonlight
On twigs and fallen leaves, where what you take
In silence with claws and beak to stay alive
Knows everything about you except your tricks,
Except where you're going to be in the next instant
And how you got there without anyone's help

-- David Wagoner

I don't know about you, but I find most of today's published poetry (ie,
poetry published in non-poetry magazines) either too predictable or too
private. Finally, here's one---from the current issue of The New
Republic---that is neither.

The Harry Potter stories feature owls who carry messages. To do this in the
movies, an "owl wrangler" has trained a number of owls to do various owl
tricks. Through the wonders of digital photography, these tricks are
multiplied, and one owl flying from here to there become dozens flying
within a vast building. You can watch the owls being trained and see their
flights become movies in a TV feature that's been shown on one or another of
the "Discovery-type" channels. It appears that the wrangler does not greatly
admire owl intelligence. It also appears that the poet does not greatly
admire wrangler intelligence.

These are not my words - read more here

mandag, juni 06, 2005


5 degrees and it's pissing down. Aaah, summer is here!

mandag, mai 23, 2005

nobody loses all the time

nobody loses all the time

i had an uncle named
Sol who was a born failure and
nearly everybody said he should have gone
into vaudeville perhaps because my Uncle Sol could
sing McCann He Was A Diver on Xmas Eve like Hell Itself which
may or may not account for the fact that my Uncle

Sol indulged in that possibly most inexcusable
of all to use a highfalootin phrase
luxuries that is or to
wit farming and be
it needlessly

my Uncle Sol's farm
failed because the chickens
ate the vegetables so
my Uncle Sol had a
chicken farm till the
skunks ate the chickens when

my Uncle Sol
had a skunk farm but
the skunks caught cold and
died and so
my Uncle Sol imitated the
skunks in a subtle manner

or by drowning himself in the watertank
but somebody who'd given my Uncle Sol a Victor
Victrola and records while he lived presented to
him upon the auspicious occasion of his decease a
scruptious not to mention splendiferous funeral with
tall boys in black gloves and flowers and everything and
i remember we all cried like the Missouri
when my Uncle Sol's coffin lurched because
somebody pressed a button
(and down went
my Uncle

and started a worm farm)

-- E. E. Cummings

fredag, april 29, 2005

You know he has one

This is on Jesus' ipod, according to Mark Morford. He has forgotten that Jesus also listens a lot to Joni Mitchell, when he wants to remember what human love can be like.

fredag, april 22, 2005

RIght now I'm listening to

Tanita Tikarams latest album Sentimental. I thought it was OK the first time I heard it. Now I'm listening to it for the 3rd time, and I think it's wonderful! Just as good as Cappuccino Songs. I hope we won't have to wait 7 years for the next album. More about this

torsdag, april 21, 2005

"It's Dark in Here"

I am writing these poems
From inside a lion,
And it's rather dark in here.
So please excuse the handwriting
Which may not be too clear.
But this afternoon by the lion's cage
I'm afraid I got too near.
And I'm writing these lines
From inside a lion,
And it's rather dark in here.

-- Shel Silverstein

torsdag, april 14, 2005

Glam and movies

Yes, Norways 3rd biggest city has finally got an international film festival! We don't have to go to Tromsø anymore. Though we'll probably still do that, because Tromsø in January is so utterly cool. In every meaning of the word...
Anyway, check out the film fest Kosmorama in Trondheim.

I will at least try to watch five movies.

mandag, april 11, 2005

Religion and sex

Been working very hard the last couple of weeks with an article about christian conservative groups and how they view sex and sexuality. My conclusion is basically that these groups construct their image of sexuality by saying how wrong it is to have sex before marriage or worse: to have gay sex. By defining what christian sex isn't, they define christian sex. So - nothing very revolutionary...but then it IS my first article:-)

Today I've only surfed the net. I promise to be a good student tomorrow - but today certainly wasn't wasted. I found this wonderful interview with Adrienne Rich.

Amongst many other wise things, she says: ‘I happen to think poetry makes a huge difference.’

Which made my heart glow. I want that statement on a red T-shirt.

onsdag, mars 23, 2005

Some people

Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.

Charles Bukowski

tirsdag, mars 22, 2005

The big question

The big question for a writer is, how can you know this? In what corner of yourself can you find what you need to write truthfully about things of which, objectively, you'd have no knowledge?

Peter Carey (Australian writer)


If my grandfather still was alive, he would have been 103 today. Imagine that! He died 12 years ago.

He lived in the same house as me and my parents, upstairs from us.
As a kid, whenever something scared me I would run upstairs, and he would play a game of cards with me, while I calmed down.
When I stepped into his kitchen, the first thing I smelled was tobacco. He used to smoke the pipe, using a tobacco that was whiskey-flavoured. Behind the tobacco, I could smell bacon and eggs, something he made for himself every day. He also always had chocolate in the kitchen cupboard. I'm pretty sure that made me visit him more often.

He was a blacksmith, and worked until he was 90. I have a lamp, beautifully wrought in black iron, that he made for me.

Wherever you are, grandpa, I hope you're having a good time.

mandag, mars 21, 2005

But it is getting warmer

This being a Norwegian blog, I feel obligated to start with a weather report. Right now there's still a lot of snow around, but spring is definately on it's way. I just saw an insect flying around outside my window.