Sunday, August 23, 2020


from alphabet


June nights exist, June nights exist,

the sky at long last as if lifted to heavenly

heights, simultaneously sinking, as tenderly as

when dreams can be seen before they are dreamed; a space

as if dizzied, as if filled with whiteness, an hourless

chiming of insects and dew, and no one in

this gossamer summer, no one comprehends that

early fall exists, aftertaste, afterthought;

just these reeling sets of restless ultrasounds

exist, the bat's ears of jade

turned toward the ticking haze;

never has the tilting of the planet been so pleasant,

never the zine-white nights so white,

so defencelessly dissolved, gently ionized and

white, never the limit of invisibility so nearly

touched; June, June, your Jacob's ladders,

your sleeping creatures and their dreams exist,

a drift of galactic seed between

earth so earthly and sky so heavenly,

the vale of tears so still, so still, and tears

sinking, sinking like groundwater back

into earth; Earth; Earth in its trajectory

around the sun exists, Earth on its journey

along the Milky Way, Earth on its course with

its cargo of jasmine, jasper, iron,

iron curtains, omens, jubilation, Judas's kiss

kissed right and left, and virgin anger in

the streets, Jesus of salt; with the shadow of the

jacaranda over the river, with gyrfalcons, jet planes,

and January in the heart, with Jacopo della Quercia's

well Fonte Gaia in Siena and with July

heavy as a bomb, with domestic brains

heart defects, quaking grass and strawberries

the ironwood's roots in the earthworn earth

Earth song by Jayadeva in his mystical

poem from the 12th century, Earth with

the coastline of consciousness blue, with nests where

fisherbird herons exist, with their grey-blue arching

backs, or where bitterns exist, cryptic

and shy, or night herons, egrets,

with the wingbeat variations of hedge sparrows, cranes

and doves; Earth exists with Jullundur, Jabalpur and

the Jungfrau, Jambo, Jogjakarta,

with duststorms, Dutchman's breeches

with water and land masses jolted by tremors

with Judenburg, Johannesburg, Jerusalem's Jerusalem

Inger Christensen
translated by Susanna Nied
New Directions

Even for New Directions, every Inger Christensen book is a knockout