Where roads reach through nights into a fresh infant nightfall with forest growing rooted to roots and stars, and darkness canters along on her black mare, canters along at a silent pace, she combs her hair on the starry comb and then slips into eyes to sleep.
But here nights are nights
of rooms, mere darkness:
light a light, it’s no night,
put out the light, it’s night,
and not here alone but everywhere
that rooms are ranged in rows
Houses sleep, breathe earth’s vastness
so that each of you, alone,
but neighbouring together,
will fill with stars.
From Vaeltanut (‘Travelled’), 1956
In light in darkness
No one knows where you’ve gone.
Long rays are curtaining the evening –
the glitter of your path, the dust.
You’ve hidden yourself from me
in so much light.
A summertime sky of bleached linen
and a curlew blinded with light
cries and cries
its restless call
on an evening like this
I think of you
as if I were already away
Let's make our love's foundation float the compass rose swim in a binnacle of dreams let's flow with energy, warmth, forget the thermostats and, our hair flying radiate electricity
and with our house an illuminated pleasure cruiser we'll turn spendthrifts in each others' arms in each others' dreams.
So I can wake in your eyes' silver shoal of fish, far off I'd like to sleep open my eyes, I'd like to bond to my beginning
while the evening's repairing its netful of moon: a twofold reflection coming up from the shallows and on my ankles lovely cold shackles.
I hear your absence in the creakings of the house right up to the door as if you might suddenly open it – ourselves pounding both sides of the door with beating hearts.
In the night's light in the darkness an island is glowing with the love of a shoreless day in its dream we're the thing itself we're its passion and its cosmic unity at the limits of our light
its aloneness and doom are fixed inside us as we leave as we leave drawing apart on the waterwaves and cloudwaves it loosens itself from our boat turns island in the circle of islands settles down as a mark on the seachart with hooded eyes and no longer looks at us.
Are we answers within each other as a tree reproducing itself is an answer to itself in the groping of its deaf-blind branches to hear the light's deep boundlessly deep strings and ring out in them with the force of a high counterpoint a sound so slow that it is colour so that the green in me is spring in you and the yellow in you is my autumn and a presage of the winter in us the absence of light.
From Kaunis hallayö (‘Beautiful frosty night’), 1984
Translated by Herbert Lomas
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