Selected poems from Mother Tounge




the state









Bilderesultat for border


my yes is so low from in there
that I barely can hear it
but she takes the step
and creeps slowly across

the language I think becomes ours
makes me the new biographer
even that first day


Bilderesultat for border


I deliver my words

in your mouth
I say as she comes

you rather put them there
she replies from her or me
or us


Bilderesultat for border


behind the simplest sentences I get the sense
that she comes from the uncertain land of the age of consent
where girls are chiselled to women overnight
but I don’t ask if she is one of them
when she presses out lines about defiance and disobedience
and mothers right in the front line


Bilderesultat for border


I scatter a language across her sounds

but I don’t know this language either

until it starts coming to us

in chorus


Bilderesultat for border


one day she learns of if and when
there was never any mention of if
only when
for women
when is the worst word
she shrieks
on her way out the door
once more


Bilderesultat for border


stillness carves out a tone that hearing almost understands


Bilderesultat for border


I don’t know enough about everything
that maybe could be told
and invite her further in
have made things so clean
have washed and scrubbed and tidied
she stands on my floors
I throw open the window
we let down our hair


Bilderesultat for border


the one-sided is gathered
and directed against gender
that’s how simple it is here
I maintain firmly
from a position where the view
is so horrible
that one day I let her
right in


Bilderesultat for border


the one-sided becomes a revelation


Bilderesultat for border



the roof

over us

reveal a heaven


for women

let heaven’s


become the godless



Bilderesultat for border


take heaven back

mess it up

make it shameless

and master-less


Bilderesultat for border


the dream takes her voice

is blown



to calves that grass in meadows and fields


and mouths that shine with sun and rain


and all that can tremble comes


of luck


Bilderesultat for border


run over the fields, the plains, into the woods, out of them,
out into the desert, through the town, into the camps, out
away, fetch water and fuel, carry, carry, wait
make do, be taken, be taken


Bilderesultat for border


my grandmother with the thinning hair
opens the best door and asks her
to come in

grandmother has a lap two hands a soft whiff
of wool and war and knitting needles,
a widow’s mourning

she settles my sister on a bed
and takes me away
to say something about rest
and quieter words


Bilderesultat for border


when the world crumbles inside heads
god does not rake in parks and gardens
then god does not manage to keep order
then god does not suffice
and the angels sleep and sleep
and sons who should have kept guard
lie in god’s leaves
where the fading colours and god
becomes one


Bilderesultat for border


Talk about axes and knives

hammers and cocks

men men men


Bilderesultat for border


There is nothing left behind

when you are gone

you always take all your belongings

with you

but you are here



( Poems from page 20,22,26,32,51,55,59,62,63,65,66,100 and 106 is translated by Kenneth Steven. Page 19,32,115 and 247 by Gaye Kynoch.)





pelos singulares flocos de neve
em que me traja,
por um instante pareco uma noiva
a bailar
ante o intstrumento que segura
nas maõs,
deve ser um sonho,
è um sonho,
pois le não toca

                                    Fra Små, hellige løgner.

( Jeg beveges
av de underlige snøfillene
han kler meg i,
et øyeblikk likner jeg en brud
som danser
foran instrumentet han holder
i hendene,
det må være en drøm,
det er en drøm,
for han spiller ikke )



Os dias cinzentos. Eles vêm, eles insinuam-se com o tempo. Deixas de
vislumbrar os matizes que desaparecem como tènues, cintilantes flocos
na memória. Ficar sentado e pensar de repente. Oue està mais cinzento, que queres
libertar-te, mas continuas sentado, em completo silêncio, imaginas-te
dentro de cinzento porque hà nele uma leveza, porque ele é algo
de fortuito que se ajusta bem aos dias, e quando queres sair dele, está deitado
indefeso no meio de caminho, como um animalzinho, destrutivel,
mesmo com o mais ligeiro toque

                                                                              Fra Stanislaw. En forestilling.

( De grå dagene. De kommer, de siger inn sammen med været. Du slutter
å skimte nyansene, du ser de forsvinne som tynne, skimrende flak i
hukommelsen. Sitte og plutselig tenke det. At det er gråere, at du vil gjøre
deg av med det, men du blir sittende, du sitter helt stille, du tenker deg enda
lenger inn i gråheten fordi den har en letthet over seg, fordi den er noe
planløst som passer inn i dagene, og når du vil ut av den, ligger den
forsvarsløst i veien, som om den er et lite dyr, det som kan ødelegges, selv
ved den minste berøring )

Begge diktene er gjendiktet til portugisisk av Marcin Wlodek.
Diktene ble publisert i tidsskriftet Tabacaria, 2004.


Redigering: Monica Silva