All of Creation Is Asleep

Ole Sarvig
Ole Sarvig (1921 – 1981)

Christ In The Corn

by Ole Sarvig

I saw the corn last night,
the dreaming corn,
the corn and ears of all mankind ever
in these fields.

I saw it this morning around five o’clock,
when Christ came,
that pallid hour, when children are born
and fires break out.

It was so beautiful. They slept so silently.
And Christ passed like a moon through the corn.


Americans like to be unique, even when it comes to naming conventions common to the rest of the world. The word corn, particularly in a religious context means grain or wheat.   America is the only place where the word corn refers to maize.  So if you read the word corn in a poem and are American, translate it in your mind into wheat and you’ll gain greater insight into its meaning, even when its a metaphor as in this case.

Ole Sarvig is a Danish poet who suffered a fate not uncommon to poets, he took his own life. Sarvig is not well known outside Europe.  I do not know why poets are prone to tragedy? Is there a desperateness that poets connect from their life to their writing that makes them more susceptible to extreme acts of self destruction?

I am watching Herren’s Veje on Netflix.   There is a powerful use of Sarvig’s poem Christ in The Corn in Season One, but unless you know that Sarvig ended his own life by jumping from a building the complete connection to the episode will not have as much emotional impact.  Taking one’s own life is a an act that can not ever be completely understood in my opinion by anyone else and leaves a lasting question and a unique form of grief for their loved ones. It is a wound unique unto itself among the living, it is a wound of doubt as to what could have been done differently for a different outcome.


The Rain Gauge

by Ole Sarvig

The rain gauge
with its shallow basin
stands in the June night’s gentle rain
on its column
letting itself be filled with water,
while dark poplars sigh
and move their branches.

The night can be heard far and wide.
The rain finds its echo in the world.
It is empty. It is still.
All of creation is asleep.

The poplars sigh.

Tonight the garden is awake
and full of fragrance.

Quite still
like a shallow basin
in June rain
I will fill to the brim
with will
tonight.