Letter to the Light by Rolf Jacobsen

Morning’s paper is splendidly unfolded
on the Earth, it is a new day
and a tractor is already out there with its lumpy fist,
writing a letter to the light, growling
each letter aloud to itself, for it’s important
to get everything in, the thunder and the bees,
the ant trail that’s extended its little
silken foot in the grass, our peace
and the unease we feel about everything—it has to get all these in.

Large moist lines and a slow hand
that shakes a lot but not it’s all said,
the page is full and everything’s laid out in the open
like a letter to no-one, the plow’s letter
to light that anyone’s welcome to read.

From: Jacobsen, Rolf and Greenwald, Roger (transl.), North in the World: Selected Poems of Rolf Jacobsen, A Bilingual Edition, 2002, The University of Chicago Press: Chicago, p. 123.

Date: 1960 (original in Norwegian); 1985 (translation in English)

By: Rolf Jacobsen (1907-1994)

Translated by: Roger Greenwald (1945- )

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