Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Two Poems

By Pia Tafdrup

With my lipstick
a poet from Cyprus is reading
her poems in Turkish.
A  woman asking
to borrow my lipstick
is one second
more overarching of borders
than driving from one country
  to another.
My lipstick now speaks
on her lips.
Suddenly I'm one kiss closer to
   her language.
With my lipstick
she is reading
a poem about a man
who is like a pendulum.
He sways        incessantly
between two women.
That could have been
   my life
my lipstick was reading poems about.
An arrow
would have kissed
the back of his neck.


I go led by sleepless nerve paths
  in front of my shadow,
traverse dense traffic, find
a passable path
go right, left,
cross bridges over streams
and fords,
reach a track I want to follow.
The straight path is not
  the shortest one.
The air is chilly and raw, the landscape
is lit by the earliest morning sun,
cold and heat proliferate
at once.
Now is the time, I go
lured by dreams
  where birds migrate.
Notice a sharp odour of plants
that grew once, 
hear sounds purring
of before.
   What does the road want of me?
Look out across the vast terrain
with its network of tracks and scents. 
is always there,
          like this a pupil opens.
The road changes pace, keeps me awake -
I branch, collect myself
on the map of the future
  a route
bound for uncertainty.

from Trækfuglens kompas, 2010

translated from Danish by David McDuff


Лев Грицюк | Lev Hrytsyuk said...

Tafdrup is great, as usual! Thank you for sharing the translations!

David McDuff said...

I'm aiming to translate some more of the book, so watch this space.