Tuesday, 20 December 2011

For Malena Mörling, ‘Standing on the Earth among the Cows’

There is a cow in the field. Madly,
just one, and a docile lady at that.
Underneath she is full and bored.
She feels that there is a breathing
on the other side of the fence.
She stops to drink a can of Coke
before plunging her nose – which
is like cold wax – into the night air.
I eat some grass and spit
like a cowboy of dubious morals
in an otherwise black and white
film. There is no shooting star,
no slight twinge in the spine
of the earth. One of us gets
into the car, but does not drive away.

In Bergen Harbour

stalls fill with
a day’s haul, a range
of little clown mouths
all pointing upwards
to catch salty rain – it helps
me to think about you
and I have to laugh
because your love is great,
European, pan-European,
Germanic or Hanseatic
and the mouths are tiny
and small like a harbour
mouth or a choir.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Two Poems from Norway

Finse #1

From the Bergen-Oslo Train

A wooden hut
is a small thing.
There are stones
bigger. Inside a train
is a warmth made
by the train.

A wooden hut
has none of its own
power. You have
to walk, to collect
and cut and burn
to give it power.

There are no trees,
only the yellowing tongue
of Hardangerjøkulen,
and turf for warmth.

Finse #2

A wooden hut is
a mathematical symbol
meaning something like
equal to or less than
but with added pride,
or an outward display
of class-consciousness.
It is the first of many
such symbols that can be found
on the squared hillside.