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An excerpt (Section 8) from Alphabet, by Inger Christensen

Below is section 8 of the book-length poem Alphabet (New Directions, 2001), by Inger Christensen, translated from the Danish by Susanna Nied; originally published in1981.


8


whisperings exist, whisperings exist

harvest, history, and Halley's


comet exist; hosts exist, hordes

high commanders, hollows, and within the hollows

half-shadows, within the half-shadows occasional


hares, occasional hanging leaves shading the hollow where

bracken exists, and blackberries, blackberries

occasional hares hidden under the leaves


and gardens exist, horticulture, the elder tree's

pale flowers, still as a seething hymn;

the half-moon exists, half-silk, and the whole

heliocentric haze that has dreamed

these devoted brains, their luck, and human skin


human skin and houses exist, with Hades

rehousing the horse and the dog and the shadows

of glory, hope; and the river of vengeance;

hail under stoneskies exists, the hydrangeas'

white, bright-shining, blue or greenish


fogs of sleep, occasionally pink, a few

sterile patches exist, and beneath

the angled Armageddon of the arching heavens, poison,

the poison helicopter's humming harps above the henbane,

shepherd's purse, and flax, henbane, shepherd's purse

and flax; this last, hermetic writing,

written otherwise only by children; and wheat,

wheat in wheatfields exists, the head-spinning


horizontal knowledge of wheatfields, half-lives,

famine, and honey; and deepest in the heart,

otherwise as ever only deepest in the heart,

the roots of the hazel, the hazel that stands

on the hillslope of the heart, tough and hardy,

an accumulated weekday of Angelic orders;

high-speed, hyacinthic in its decay, life,

on earth as it is in heaven


***


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