The great storms
are behind you now.
Back then you never asked
why you were or
where you came from, where you were going,
you were simply a part of the storm,
But it's possible to live
in the everyday as well,
the quiet gray day,
to plant potatoes, rake leaves,
or haul brush.
There's so much to think about here in this world,
one life's not enough.
After work you can roast pork
and read Chinese poetry.
Old Laertes cleared brambles
and hoed around his fig trees,
and let the heroes battle it out at Troy.
What an extraordinary place
to settle on,
on a ledge, poised
on the brink.
Don't you value your own success?
Let Me Be Like the Dung Beetle
Sorrow has settled over me
and weighs me down in a warm straw bed.
Let me at least move,
test my strength, lift this slab of sod —
let me be like the dung beetle
in spring when it digs itself out from the dung heap.
If you can make a poem
a farmer finds useful,
you should be happy.
A blacksmith you can never figure out.
The worst to please is a carpenter.
This Is the Dream
This is the dream we carry through the world
that something fantastic will happen
that it has to happen
that time will open by itself
that doors shall open by themselves
that the heart will find itself open
that mountain springs will jump up
that the dream will open by itself
that we one early morning
will slip into a harbor
that we have never known.
Not By Car, Not By Plane
Not by car,
not by plane —
by neither haysled
nor rickety cart
— or even by Elijah's chariot!
You'll never get farther than Basho.
He got there by foot.
Just a hollow
in the ground now,
stones have covered it over,
earth and leaves
have filled it
You pause a moment,
a deer hoof
trip over it
— not now.
Mountains Don't Attract Me Anymore
The mountains don't attract me anymore.
I've lived long enough between cold snowfields.
I will find my way in the woods, listen
to fall wind, and stop at the frozen ponds,
engage with streams. Even late in the year
you can find good berries there.
You have to cross mountains if that's not enough.
Peaks stand there, so you know where you are.
How Long Did You Sleep?
Dare you do this —
open your eyes
and look around?
Yes, you're here
here in this world,
you're not dreaming,
it's just as
you see it, things here
are like this.
Yes, just like this,
How long did you sleep?
I Pass the Arctic Circle
A man on the train points out the cairn on the mountain.
We're passing the Arctic Circle, he says.
At first we don't see any difference,
to the north the land looks the same,
but we know where we're headed.
I wouldn't have noticed this little event
if I hadn't, one of these days, passed seventy.
OLAV H. HAUGE
The Dream We Carry
selected and Last Poems
translated by Robert Bly and Robert Hedin
Copper Canyon Press 2008
All translations above by Robert Hedin except where noted "RB" [Robert Bly]