Two Poems by Thorvald Berthelsen

From his latest Danish collection Huds tektoniske plader (The tekthonic plates of skin), Ravnerock, 2018

Svømmende aflejringer af håb

På Alkaios og Saphos ø

Nøgne på stranden
mellem potteskår og de nederste kvadrer
af Mithymnas forvitrede bystat
Som årer under gammel hud blåner de ud i horisonten
mens violette tidsler smyger sig om benene
I aftensolens omvendte kegle
strækker svømmetagene sig
i vore livs mange spor
som lysglimt over hele synsranden
Og skærenes hudafskrabninger
er ikke en drøm

Floating deposits of hope

On the island of Alkaios and Sapho
Naked on the beach
between sherds and the lower boulders
from the weathered city-state Mithymna.
As veins under old skin we reach bluish
towards the horizon
while purple thistles snuggle around the legs.
In the inverted cone of evening sun
swimming strokes extend
into the many tracks of our lives
as gleams of light across the line of sight
And the skin abrasions of the skerries
are not a dream

Lysende sort

Ahorns vrede over sirup
som flyder fra os
vreden over rødderne
som lænker os
uden at holde fast
vreden over blæsten som ikke strejfer os
i kærlighedens og syreregnens vrimmel
mens hullet i ozonlaget
redefinerer livet
og ørkenorkideerne vajer
for gravernes uanfægtede anstrengelser

Landskaber af beton og glas
bryder op i aortaens
uophørlige udvidelse
af huden
hvor stjernerne fjerner sig
fra hinanden
i den krumning af tiden
som synker ind i sig selv
lysende sort overalt

Shining black

The anger of maple at syrup
that flows away
anger at the roots
which fetters us
without holding tight
the anger of the wind which does not roam
in the swarm of love and acid rain
while the hole in the ozone layer
redefines life
and the desert orchids sway
for the impassive efforts of diggers

Landscapes of concrete and glass
breaks up in
the aortas’ incessant expansion
of the skin
where the stars move apart

from each other
in this curvature of time
sinking into itself
shining black everywhere

About the contributor

Thorvald Berthelsen, Danish poet and artist, published six poetry collections, most recently Huds tektoniske plader (The tekthonic plates of skin), 2018. His poems have been translated into 10 languages, most recently Sky Quake in English and Arabic, August 2020. He makes collages and illustrates his own books.

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