from Letter in April: VII

By Inger Christensen Inger Christensen

Translated By Susanna Nied Read the translator's notes

On the street
with our money
in our hands,
buying bread
and scattering breadcrumbs
for the bluish
to see
the fire eater,
the cigarette swallower
and the dead vagabond
who breathes.
the palm tree
that sighs
at night.
Saying a few words
to the staring
stone figure
above the gate.
and rushing
as if chased.
In the cool kitchen
we prepare
and arrange our food.
We make it as elegant
as we can.
Bouquet on the table
and all.
And we speak
in our own
Who knows
if things don’t
know in themselves
that we’re called
something else.

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.

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, Crime & Punishment, Class, Life Choices

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.