Scandinavian poetry, part four

-photo by saara

 Some of my favourite poems by the Norwegian poet Rolf Jacobsen (1907-1994)

Just delicate needles

It’s so delicate, the light.
And there’s so little of it. The dark
is huge.
Just delicate needles, the light,
in an endless night.
And it has such a long way to go
through such desolate space.
So let’s be gentle with it.
Cherish it.
So it will come again in the morning.
We hope.


The moon thumbs through the book of the night.
Finds a lake on which nothing’s printed.
Draws a straight line. That’s all it can do.
That’s enough.
A thick line. Right to you.



What sower walked over earth,
which hands sowed
our inward seeds of fire?
They went out from his fists like rainbow curves
to frozen earth, young loam, hot sand,
they will sleep there
greedily, and drink up our lives
and explode it into pieces
for the sake of a sunflower that you haven’t seen
or a thistle head or a chrysanthemum.

Let the young rain of tears come.
Let the calm hands of grief come.
It’s not as evil as you think.


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