Sailing Poem by Henrik Nordbrandt


Rating: 3.8

After having loved we lie close together
and at the same time with distance between us
like two sailing ships that enjoy so intensely
their own lines in the dark water they divide
that their hulls
are almost splitting from sheer delight
while racing, out in the blue
under sails which the night wind fills
with flower-scented air and moonlight
- without one of them ever trying
to outsail the other
and without the distance between them
lessening or growing at all.

But there are other nights, where we drift
like two brightly illuminated luxury liners
lying side by side
with the engines shut off, under a strange constellation
and without a single passenger on board:
On each deck a violin orchestra is playing
in honor of the luminous waves.
And the sea is full of old tired ships
which we have sunk in our attempt to reach each other.

Translated from the Danish by the author and Alexander Taylor.

Graham Thompson 12 May 2018

I agree with Peter's comments and am translating many of Norbrandt's poems. Norbrandt is one of the few Danish poets of European-wide importance in the modern area. Inger Christensen is another.

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Peter Haslund 22 August 2012

One of the most important modern Danish poets, and quote possibly the one who should attract the most attention of international readers. A concise, pinpointingly sharp observer of love.

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