Scandinavian poetry, part seven

by Rolf Jacobsen

Colors are words’ little sisters. They can’t become soldiers.
I’ve loved them secretly for a long time.
They have to stay home and hang up the sheer curtains
of our familiar kitchen, bedroom and den.

I’m very close to young Crimson, and brown Sienna
but even closer to thoughtful Cobalt with her distant eyes and
     untrampled spirit.
We walk in dew.
The night sky and the southern oceans
are her possessions
and a tear-shaped pendant on her forehead:
the pearls of Cassiopeia.
We walk in dew on late nights.

But the others.
Meet them on a June morning at four o’clock
when they come rushing toward you,
on your way to a morning swim in the green cove’s spray.
Then you can sunbathe with them on the smooth rocks.
     -Which one will you make yours?

Translated by Roger Greenwald.
From North in the world: Selected poems of Rolf Jacobsen.


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