The Silence Afterwards

The Silence Afterwards December 20, 2008

Rolf Jacobsen, Rolf Jacobsen poetry, Secular or Eclectic, Secular or Eclectic poetry,  poetry,  poetry, Christian poetry

It’s pretty clear from glancing at these posts that I like old poets (with the exception of Jane Hirschfield who isn’t so old yet).  I’m also very fond of some old dead Chinese and Japanese brush-to-paper folks, but I’m saving them up for another time. 

The tie that binds poets that zing me is a cold-blooded willingness to speak directly from this broken-wooden-ladle life. I suppose that’s also what inspires me about Dylan and various Country Music tunes like those that I’ve posted here. 

I’m interested in the younger poets too, btw, so if you have any recommendations, let me know.

Here’s Robert Bly’s translation of a great Norwegian poet Rolf Jacobsen from Rolf Jacobsen: Twenty Poems.

Try to be done now
with deliberately provocative actions and sales
   statistics,
brunches and gas ovens,
be done with fashion shows and horoscopes,
military parades, architectural contests,
and the rows of triple traffic lights.
come through all that and be through
with getting ready for parties and eight possibilities
   of winning on the numbers,
cost of living indexes and stock market analyses,
because it is too late,
it is way too late,
get through with and come home
to the silence afterwards
that meets you like warm blood hitting your
   forehead
and like thunder on the way
and the sound of great clocks striking
that make the eardrums quiver,
because words don’t exist any longer,
there are no more words,
from now on all talk will take place
with the voices stones and trees have.
– – –
The silence that lives in the grass
on the underside of every blade
and in the blue space between the stones.
The silence
that follows the shots and birdsong.
The silence 
that pulls a blanket over the dead body
and waits in the stair until every one is gone.
The silence
that lies like a small bird between your hands,
the only friend you have.
"We are of One Mind on this. So few people seem to know how seldom ..."

Solely Engrossed In One Thing: Dàhuì’s ..."
"I agree with you on Broughton and Watanabe's translation. I have about ~10 key terms ..."

Dàhuì’s Second List of Don’ts for ..."
"There are many many good things that can be said about Jeffrey Broughton's scholarship skills, ..."

Dàhuì’s Second List of Don’ts for ..."
"Nice. Tangen Harada Roshi was always just 一行 one doing! :-) I don't think he ..."

“Please Sit By The Heater”: On ..."

Browse Our Archives