Menu

Poetry

Everything solid
Melts away
The knot in the heart
Laughter from the lips
Waves come loose from the ocean
Grind the shingle into gritty lines
Every line is sea-scum and the cry of gulls
The moon drags up water and the fluids of my body
My veins—a red hammock beneath the moon
I dream I am sailing through a city of coral
My lungs in a glass bottle
I see myself as a fetus
Two wondering eyes in a dazzling submarine city
The wind lifts hills of foam
The wind passes over with the ashes of burnt-out love
The heart beats
Up between the letters of my name
One morning
Everyone but me will wake
And so what?
The earth has paid its membership dues
To the power plant of the universe
Rumbling around the sun
With her flowerpots and streetlights
Misunderstandings and slamming doors
Like a carefree dancer she sways,
_______swings, spins about
Bob Marley is wailing
From out of an open window in Dublin
For the moment time has parked her oxcart
By Ravi Shankar’s zither
Ah! The sun frees the scent of wild roses
The ocean hems in the day with its foam-flecked jaws
Life is just as it should be
They’re unloading fish on the quayside
Fathers with children at home
Toss boxes onto skids
Catch the sight of the sun around the frame of the cargo hatch
And the scent of trawl—ice and mended dreams
Blessed are those who grow like trees and seaweed
Who’ve acknowledged that
Life hasn’t got any meaning
But still set their alarm clocks every night

Once upon a time, I came to town
A tiny suitcase in my mother’s hand
And now, as mum is laying out clothes
_______for her final journey
I ask myself:
where are we heading?
I shrug my shoulders
Peer through the cracks in my knowledge
I don’t believe there is anything to be found at the bottom of the soul
Nor do I believe
The soul has a bottom
That’s why the journey goes on
When the last gasp lets go of the lips
My soul will look over its shoulder
Asking itself
What was that flophouse of flesh and bone
______I was guest in all those years?
I spell the word God
Feel someone at my side
I spell the word eternity
And vast spaces open up
I spell the word silence
And vaguely sense the heartbeat
From a sunken coral city

 

Translated from the Faroese by Matthew Landrum and Tóta Árnadóttir


The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Access one piece of artwork every month for free! To experience the full archive, log in or subscribe.

Related Poetry

How the Band Becomes One Body

By

Ciaran Berry

Tom as a Series of Declaratives

By

Luke Johnson

Foreknowledge

By

Jeanne Murray Walker

Echo

By

Jeanine Hathaway

Pin It on Pinterest