Peter Laugesen LETTER FROM ATHENS (2022)

Read Erik Skyum-Nielsen's fantastic profile on Peter Laugesen on the occasion of his 80th birthday in today's Informationen avaliable to Danish readers (with a subscription) here: https://www.information.dk/kultur/2022/03/peter-laugesen-blandt-allerstoerste-digtere-paa-dansk

Photograph: Signe Marie Cold-Ravnkilde


For those of you without: here is an impromptu translation of 'BREV FRA ATHEN' (first published March 4th 2022)



LETTER FROM ATHENS


By Peter Laugesen



A small child


screaming in the street



Putin's swell


sheep smirk


everywhere on screens



The bankers cold


hearts beating


a little faster



Herr Schröder


fills his pockets


with precious gas



The priest bleats


further down


in the church


whose electric bells toll


woke me up


at ten


minutes to eight



Now there’s


-for fuck’s sake-


a power-drill



It must


be Saturday



Is there war


in Europe?



Not here


not in that way



But in the politicians'


bleak phrases


yells impotence and death



and in my own heart


screams that little child


I once was



It's calling on


another


new and better world



in a language


no one can yet understand


......



Danish origjnal below:




BREV FRA ATHEN


Af Peter Laugesen



Et lille barn


skriger i gaden



Putins fede


fårede fjæs


allevegne på skærme



Bankernes kolde


hjerter banker


lidt hurtigere



Herr Schröder


fylder sine lommer


med kostbar gas



Præsten bræger


videre nede


i kirken


hvis elektriske klokker


vækkede mig


klokken ti


minutter i otte



Nu er der


fandme


en boremaskine



Det må


være lørdag



Er der krig


i Europa?



Ikke her


ikke sådan



Men i politikernes


dystre fraser


råber afmagt og død



og i mit eget hjerte


skriger det lille barn


jeg engang var



Det kalder på


en anden


ny og bedre verden



på et sprog


ingen endnu forstår


Peter Laugesen BREV FRA ATHEN
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