Territorial Song

Territorial Song. Poems. Borgen 1994. Cover: Peter Brandes: Isak.


You stiffen, poisoned by sudden dread
while the day founders and changes color
and the blood behind a steadily rising pulse
spreads pain into the finest vessels
where it flutters around like ash
that a wingbeat lifts above the embers
until the heart that coral tree
acutely blossoming stands still in a cramp,
on the point of drowning in its own blood
For who can go on his way immune
in a city where people live separated
like shards of the same dream
The darkness piercing a stranger
– will the hatred invade you?
Like shrapnel that gnaws into your flesh
far, far from that morning when, new-born
you were blessed by the first light.

Territorial Song 1994, translated by Roger Greenwald

Pia Tafdrup
is a poet, writer and a member of The Danish Academy.

Honours include:

The Swedish Academy’s Nordic Prize 2006
The Soeren Gyldendal Award, 2005
The Nordic Council’s Literature Prize, 1999


© 2024 Pia Tafdrup