I Open the Curtain
Before I go to bed I open the curtains.
When I wake up I want to see the living dark
and the pines and the sky. I know a grave;
if you're there you do not see the stars.
Orion has arrived now in the west, hunting, hunting -
he has not come any farther than I have.
The cherry tree outside my window is naked and black.
The sky is a bell, dizzingly blue, where the hard
fingernail of the new moon is writing something.
When I woke this morning the panes were frosted over,
but I glowed from a good dream.
And the stove poured out its warmth
from a woodblock it had enjoyed the whole night.
Across the Stump
It is the roots from all the trees that have died
out here, that's how you can walk
safely over the soft places.
Roots like these keep their firmness, it's possible
they've lain here centuries.
And there is still some dark remains
of them under the moss.
They are still in the world and hold
you up so you can make it over.
And when you push out into the mountain lake, high
up, you feel how the memory
of that cold person
who drowned himself here once
helps hold up your frail boat.
He, really crazy, trusted his life
to water and eternity.
— one stone
in a cold river.
One more stone —
I'll need many stones
if I'm going to get over.
I Look At the Stamp
I look at the stamp on your first letter.
It's a month or more since it came.
During that time you've haunted this house,
called to me, frightened me, changed
from Ate to a green Erinye.
Today I got your photograph:
it is a girl sitting alone on some logs
near the darkening ocean.
Olav H. Hauge
Trusting Your Life
To Water and Eternity
chosen & translated by Robert Bly
Milkweed Editions, 1987