Skerry

by Knut Hamsun (1859-1952), translated by John Irons

The boat’s now gliding
towards the skerry,
a sea-set island
its shores green banding.
Wild flowers grow here for
no eyes intended
stand unfamiliar
and watch me landing.

My heart becomes like
a fabled garden
with flowers the same as
the ones I’m greeting.
They talk together
and whisper strangely,
with nods and smiling
like children meeting.

Perhaps long since I
have here existed
as white spiraea
in first perfection.
I recognise now
that far-off fragrance,
and tremble slightly
in recollection

I close my eyelids,
a distant memory
towards my shoulder
my head is drawing.
The night grows denser
about the island,
the sea alone roars –
Nirvana’s roaring.

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