Wednesday Poem

Arctic Starflower

Block Number 11

Anywhere in the forest, but often freely
around the underbush, along rich moor edges
or in the loose moss. When the arctic starflower stands beneath
leafy trees, it’s as if it, too, rustles
and the crown draws shine from the silver of the aspen leaf.

There was a block called number 11.
There was a prison innermost in the prison.
There was a window in there without sound.
There was a thing which was to wait.
There was a hunger punishment meant to make the hip-bone shine.

The arctic starflower spreads like silent shoots
under turf, with buds and wounds where a new
stalk is to grow. Each star opened on its own.
No neighbour. But at night the crown’s threads
step forth with blood veins in a little too white skin.

There was a block called number 11.
There was a punishment innermost in the punishment.
It was slow and like a kiss given by no one.
It was like a groom for Antigone locked inside the cave.
It was behind an electric fence that was to be transformed into a wide-open gate.

The name of the arctic starflower saves no one,
and the crown has just as often seven lobes as six.
So let’s call it “history’s cracked bandage”,
as stunted and tasteful as a white hair in the mouth.
The arctic starflower sparkles in the forest against rust-red ground.

by Øyvind Rimbereid
from Herbarium
Publisher: Gyldendal Forlag, Oslo, 2008

© Translation: 2011, May-Brit Akerholt
Publisher: First published on PIW, 2011