tirsdag, september 15, 2009

Sky before dawn is blackish green.

Perhaps a sign.

I should learn more about signs.

Turning a corner to the harbour

the wind hits me

a punch in the face.

I always walk in the morning,

I don’t know why anymore.

Life is short.

My shadow goes before me.

With its hood up

it looks like a foghorn.

Ice on the road.

Ice on the sidewalk.

Nowhere to step.

It’s better to step

where the little black stones are.

Not so slippery.

I guess the little black stones

could be lava.

Or do I exoticise.

A man hurries past

with a small dog.

No one says Hello.

A pink schoolgirl passes.

Looks in my face.

No one says Hello.

Who would expect

to see a walking foghorn

out so early.

Wind pushes more.

I push back.

Almost home.

Why did I come here.

New wind every day.

Life is for pushing back.

Now it is dawn.

A gold eyelid opens

over the harbour.

People who live here

learn not to complain

about the wind.

I go inside and make tea.

Eat bran flakes.

Read three pages of Proust.

Proust is complaining

(it is 1914)

about the verb savoir as used by journalists.

He says they use it

not as a sign of the future

but as a sign of their desires –

sign of what they want the future to be.

What’s wrong with that? I think.

I should learn more about signs.

The first thing I saw

the first morning I went out for a walk in Stykkishólmur

was a crow

as big as a chair.

What’s that chair doing on top of that house? I thought

then it flapped away.

A crow that big is called a raven.

Corvus corax in Linnaeus’s binomial system.

Each one makes a sound

like a whole townful of ravens

in the country I come from.

Three adjectives that recur

in the literature on ravens are

omnivorous.

Pernicious.

Monogamous.

I’m interested in monogamous.

I got married last May

and had my honeymoon in Stykkishólmur.

This year I returned to Stykkishólmur

to live with my husband

for three months in one small room.

This extreme monogamy

proved almost too much for us.

Rather than murder each other

we rented a second place

(Greta’s house)

near the pool.

Now we are happily

duogamous.

There are ravens on the roof

of both places.

Perhaps they are the same ravens.

I can’t tell.

If Roni Horn were here

she’d say ravens

are like water,

they are wildly constant.

They are a sign of Iceland.

I should learn more about signs.

I came to Stykkishólmur

to live in a library.

The library contains not books

but glaciers.

The glaciers are upright.

Silent.

As perfectly ordered as books would be.

But they are melted.

What would it be like

to live in a library

of melted books.

With sentences streaming over the floor

and all the punctuation

settled to the bottom as a residue.

It would be confusing.

Unforgivable.

A great adventure.

Roni Horn once told me

that one of the Antarctic explorers said

To be having an adventure

is a sign of incompetence.

When I am feeling

at my most incompetent

as I do in Stykkishólmur

many a dark morning

walking into the wind,

I try to conjure in mind

something that is the opposite of incompetence.

For example the egg.

This perfect form.

Perfect content.

Perfect food.

In your dreams

said a more recent explorer (Anna Freud)

you can have your eggs cooked as perfectly as you want

but you cannot eat them.

Sometimes at night

when I can’t sleep

because of the wind

I go and stand

in the library of glaciers.

I stand in another world.

Not the past not the future.

Not paradise not reality not

a dream.

An other competence,

Wild and constant.

Who knows why it exists. I

stand amid glaciers.

Listen to the wind outside

falling towards me from the outer edges of night and space.

I have no theory

of why we are here

or what any of us is a sign of.

But a room of melted glaciers

rocking in the nightwind of Stykkishólmur

is a good place to ponder it.

Each glacier is lit from underneath

as memory is.

Proust says memory is of two kinds.

There is the daily struggle to recall

where we put our reading glasses

and there is a deeper gust of longing

that comes up from the bottom

of the heart

involuntarily.

At sudden times.

For surprise reasons.

Here is an excerpt from a letter Proust wrote

in 1913:

We think we no longer love our dead

but that is because we do not remember them:

suddenly

we catch sight of an old glove

and burst into tears.

Before leaving the library

I turn off the lights.

The glaciers go dark.

Then I return to Greta’s house.

Wake up my husband.

Ask him to make us some eggs.
- Digtet Wildly constant af Anne Carson stod at læse i London Review of Books den 30. april i år.