White fever

White Fever 1986. Borgen 1986. Cover: Nina Sten-Knudsen. The poem is translated by Thomas E. Kennedy.


I write to you
to come alive

your face
still shines, your eyes

Everything I shall find
behind the color green

your face
shines, its lines are sharp

all that I will you is nothing
else but all I have

what I have promised you is greater than fire
but I keep my promise

I write
to understand

why your face shines
when you are not here

why your voice sounds everywhere
like drops of sparkling rain down the spine

why am I alone
with words and paper, a pain in twelve tones

I am afraid
because I have no fear

I walk beside myself
down through the street

out and in
of the world

reality is here
but not you

just the words
that bind us together

I turn towards you
your face shines.

from White Fever 1986

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