from Light: Winter

By Inger Christensen Inger Christensen

Translated By Susanna Nied Read the translator's notes

Winter is out for a lot this year
the beach already is stiff
all will be one will be one this year
wings and ice will be one in the world
all will be changed in the world:
the boat will hear its steps on the ice
the war will hear its war on the ice
the woman will hear her hour on the ice
the hour of birth in the ice of death
winter is out for a lot.
Out for the houses the cities
out for the forests the clouds
the mountains the valleys fear
the heart the children peace.

Winter is out for a lot this year
the hand already is stiff
the crying of children is heard in the house
one will we be one life
I hear my house slip with the world
and scream all that has been screamed
the heart rams its boat into ice
shells rustling in the hull
winter is out for as much.

If I freeze fast in the ice
if you freeze fast my child
my great forest next summer
my great fear as I come
if you freeze fast my life:
then I am a vulture of wings and ice
tearing my liver, my living life
awake in eternity.

This winter is in for a lot.

Source: Poetry (May 2009).


This poem originally appeared in the May 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

May 2009


Inger Christensen (1935–2009), born in Vejle Denmark, was one of Europe's leading contemporary experimentalists. Her works include poetry, fiction, drama, and essays. She received numerous international literary awards, including the Nordic Prize of the Swedish Academy, the Grand Prix des Biennales Internationale de Poésie, the Austrian Sate Prize for Literature, and the German Siegfried Unseld Award.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Winter

Poetic Terms Mixed

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