To Jump On The Shore of Death


Olaf Bull (1883 – 1933)


by Olaf Bull

Med ringbjerges øde graanen
ligger et land under lav —
en bleket brokke av maanen
slængt hen i et jordisk hav.

Paa øen steiler en kilde
over det døde land;
dens straaler er store og vilde,
en styrtende lilje av vand!

Men lyt, i de klare dage
naar solen gløder dens skum,
dæmrer en dæmpet klage
gjennem det rene rum.

«Jeg spruter fra hede skaaler,
«jeg dønner fra jordens bryst,
«jeg dømtes med store straaler
«at springe paa dødens kyst,

«hvor ikke paa hundrede mile
«en eneste blomst i knop
«trænger den hede ile,
«som vælder av svælget op!»

Det rinder i maanegløden,
det straalende, sære tegn
paa livets maalløse øde
i lavaens drømme-egn.

Bitter til sidste time
kilden ødsler sit blod,
— der vilde ha dræbt hver kime,
som ramtes av dets flod!

With the desolate grain of the ring mountains
is a low country under
a pale rupture of the moon
thrown into an earthly sea.

On the island, a spring steals
over the frozen land;
its rays are large and wild,
a rushing lily of water!

But listen, on a clear day,
when the sun glows its foam,
makes a muffled complaint
through the pure spirits.

“I sprout from hot bowls,
“I dance from the breast of the earth,
‘I am germinated with big rays
“To jump on the shore of death,

‘Where not in a hundred miles
«A single flower is in bud
“The hot rush needs,
“That swells the throat!”

It flows in the moonlight,
the radiant, strange sign
in the utter desolation of life
in the dream-lava area.

Bitter to the last hour
the source spills its blood,
– that would have killed every germ,
struck by its river!



Come With Me

by Robert Bly

Come with me into those things that have felt this despair for so long—
Those removed Chevrolet wheels that howl with a terrible loneliness
Lying on their backs in the cindery dirt, like men drunk, and naked,
Staggering off down a hill at night to drown at last in the pond.
Those shredded inner tubes abandoned on the shoulders of thru-ways,
Black and collapsed bodies, that tried and burst,
And were left behind;
And the curly steel shavings, scattered about on garage benches,
Sometimes still warm, gritty when we hold them,
Who have given up, and blame everything on the government,
And those roads in South Dakota that feel around in the darkness . . .

Spawned By A Skinny Mother



What Olaf Bull Said

By Robert Bly

“Believe in happiness, Seiglinde, try!”
– Olaf Bull

Happiness is the wind rising
In a field of young plants.

It is a new-fallen apple
Found in the dark earth

Far from the orchard
In plowing time.

Do fish have emotions?  Do fish have an inner life?  Don’t say that instinct alone propels them up water falls to spawn and die, for their is too much joy in the leaping.  Why can’t we as humans project our humanness  the beings that inhabit this earth with us, for then the reverse would also be true?  Do the non-human beings of the earth project onto us only wildness?  Maybe that’s why disorder and chaos and predation of war seem to dominate the 24/7 news cycle as the norm?  Maybe the beings of the earth that are not human are plotting our demise?  Too late I think as we seem to have that trajectory well in hand on our own.

Let’s  hope the salmon swimming upstream are propelled in part by joy.  Let’s hope that they swim to one final act of procreation and then their death with the knowledge of completion and a feeling of fulfillment.  It might inspire us to follow our journey with the same passion, athleticism and conviction in harmony with nature or more in harmony than we live today.  Let’s hope we all can swim back to where we came, in time for one final romance or the completion of a life long one.

Et Overstreget Digt

by Olaf Bull

Bag et gitter af streger
stirrer et daarligt digt.
Et ærligt skind igrunden,
men ikke yppig runden
af sang og stemning og sligt.

Født af en mager moder,
af hjernens skrumpne skjød,
næret af tankefoder,
som hjernecellernes boder
i fattige timer bød — —.

Forstandens hodepine
dirrer i digtets krop –
afmægtig i sin feber
det ramser med tørre læber
sin grimme vise op.

Det rusker i sine streger,
vil løs af det grumme bur; –
det er min farligste fange
trods mange velskabte sange,
som strømmer i min natur.

A Struck-through Poem

by Olaf Bull

Caged-in, a shoddy poem
from bars of strokes peers out.
Honest enough a fellow,
though hardly round and mellow
with song and tuneful clout.

Spawned by a skinny mother
a wizened brain its womb,
mere scraps of thought the fodder
that brain cells had on offer,
in meagre hours consumed – –.

And reason’s fearful migraines
the poem’s body racked –
by fever now prostrated
cracked lips reel off unsated
their ugly tuneless song.

Its bars of notes, it rattles,
its cruel cage that it would force; –
it is my dire captive
though songs well-formed, attractive
course through my whole being.