Holm's marimba poem "Helferd"

John Bjarne Grover

Hans-Henrik Holm's poem Bygdir i solrøyk' volume VI part xii poem 12 - 'Hélferd' (p.104-105) - click here for the original poem copied from vol.VI - here in my tentative translation - literary to the left and literal to the right (as well as I have been able to decipher the poem - some words are hard to crack):

In the hour of death In you hour of death

Waves of fever pull the bust's It pulls/struggles with heatwaves
coat of gristly mail. behind the thorax-fishtail and belly.
All our life in wet soil rusts All life in soil/earth-humidity rusts
in waterdrainhole's pail while it glides towards the drain.
a strangulated breath that must In strangulation with difficulty you breathe
in sweated cloth inhale. behind a humid sweat-cloth.

Nocturnal spaces drizzle From the nighttime spaces drizzle
a breath of fine insects. a cloud of fine insects/dustparticles.
God lets his stardust sizel God brushes the starflour
upon the child's infects. on the child-soul sick.
Soon death will gently chisel Soon death carefully gusts
its breath of cool respects. with breath cool and soft.

The autumn death breathes northern bog:         In autumn blows deathbreath from the north
Bouquets of glaring colours clog. in 'brusom' strong scent its colour glare.

Maybe upon green heathlands Maybe on green heathland/moorland
wherein stiff sprays explore where twigs/spray stiffly grows
what often such a fragrance that many of these smell
in wordless mourning stores. in sorrow/mourning without word.
Faithful annihilation fans Faithfully scares annihilation greedily
the spirit that gives up its stance. where the spirit lets go its grip.

The fever in your heated breath Fever in your heated breath
tightens the rusty voice of death. tightens soil/earth-humidity / coincidence of fateful/lasthour rust.

From memories of yours you roll Sadly/twinned (?) (together) you roll memories up
raw unreliable worlds. from a poor and unreliable world
In the mind grim memories toll anger in sadness punishes your memory
their transpositional pearls. for many an improper deed.
Here we all know that you will die. Everybody knows you are going to die.
Who can keep you back? Who can keep you back here?
You should grease your boots' goodbye You should grease/smear your wellingtons
for their last rough track. for the unidirectional roughweather trip.


Waves of fever pull the bust's / coat of gristled mail The original really points to the area between the thorax and the belly where there is a feel of gristle, but the word is 'spord' which normally is used about the fanned-out fish tail - cp. the turned front page of my DDS.

Soon death will gently chisel / its breath of cool respects: The word 'gustar' seems to mean partly single gusts of breath, partly aspects of violence. The 'respect' corresponds roughly to the word 'mjukt' which means 'softly' - which here is maintained in the re-flex of supple matter of the breath.

Bouquets of glaring colours clog: I could not find out what 'brusom' means but 'bruse' can mean a bouquet of flowers. If a rhyme is sought, maybe 'flog' could do?

their transpositional pearls: 'yver mang ei snuski gjerd' - the word 'gjerd' means something done, happened, an event, but sounds also like 'gjerde' = 'fence'. 'Snuski' means unclean or slightly improper - such as here a rejection of an advance across a fence.

It seems from Holm's own comment (vol.VI p.161) that the two last lines are of much importance. For my own interest in the poem, there is the obvious relevance of it for the story of the probably ex nihilo xylophone or marimba in Venice in october 2020: I had been in the garden behind the linguistics institute and admired the wonderful wisteria climbing up the wall and was on my way out in the narrow passage between the house's own enfencement and the neighbour house's fence when I heard a xylophone or marimba starting to play. I stood there listening for several minutes before I found that I should withdraw in case this was a private person rehearsing with open window. Exiting through the gate I came to the essential view of the bridge across the canal which I associated with the end of the last poem of my 'Rosens triangel': Search this file for the word 'stepladder'.

See also the gull's 'mystic tour'.

what often such a fragrance / in wordless mourning stores could for this specific purpose perhaps have been translated = what often the marimba / in wordless sound deplores.

The story was the death of a teacher in the neighbouring house: Quote from this file: "The sounds were heard between the institute of linguistics and the Ginnasio Liceo Marco Polo where professor Giandomenico Porto had recently died (on this photo vaguely similar to my uncle Arthur)". My uncle was an organist in a church. On the other side of the linguistics institute there is the San Trovaso church where I had been to several concerts (often church organ) but was somewhat puzzled by the often long verbal introductions - could be 10 minutes? - before the musicians could enter the stage of attention. Here the word is 'wordless'.

The story of the marimba or xylophone in Venice seems to have started with this 10 october 2020 web page of mine - and the phenomenon that the location around San Leonardo and Guglie in Venice where this photo was taken was also the location where an archaic xylophone was being played by a street musician for a couple of days or so - not long before I heard the marimba at the linguistics institute - symmetrically on the other side of Tintoretto's Scuola Grande: This instrument looked like a clotheshorse equipped with coconut resonators and had a very dry wooden sound.

See this study with discussion of the marimba-similar clotheshorse in the upper lefthand corner of "this thresholded photo in the greek parallel to this poem of mine while the poem itself will be spotted more from the original unthresholded colour photo - hence the poem is what flashes over your visual screen of arbitrary signification while the thresholded 'plato-cave' format will tell of the mythological basis in the religious understanding of it. Evidence is found in this file - compare with this image from the film and notice the 'archetypal' burning raft or clotheshorse in the upper lefthand corner". What calls for this attention is the very interesting observation that the image of the chinese film displays the character dressed in boots and with a musical instrument in his hand - a small 'ukulele' or some guitar-similar instrument like that. Here is a better resolution of a detail of this image - showing the 'greased boots' and the stringed instrument and position on top of forms that could resemble a skull (cp. this) or a bull's head - a la an elephant driver's position. The background 'rim' could even be telling of a sort of marimba?

The title to the poem is 'Hélferd' which means 'In the hour of death' but can be translated also 'Banetimen' - not to be confused with 'Barnetimen' = the children's hour of entertainment on radio in the 1960-70's - could be that entertainment still exists.

It can be added that Holm is a great poet and when current overviews of norwegian literature such as this 'wikipedia' article or this 'britannica' article do not even mention the name - under 'Holm' one finds only 'Espen Haavardsholm', as if it be about an "ESP & Hans-Henrik Holm" - it seems that the suppression of the poet could be quite intentional. One guesses that dirty politics is to consider Norway in a doublebottomed axis with Austria to be the quasi 'transcendent' field of ex nihilo for the conversion of certain intrigue - typically terror-driven from USA - into a quasi 'divine' status - could be for endowing the british monarchy with shetlandslarsened mythos packs which could serve to turn the PTRSIM PIK into a quasi Messiah for a new british-monarchic justification of global power. In this construction, it could be that the plan is to reject and suppress precisely what has esthetic and cultural value for turning it via a ridiculous misunderstanding of 'via negativa' into an ESP source of inspiration. A most deplorable sort of politics this must be called - of just precisely the sort associated with Adolf Hitler and his comrades: If you turn all possible designations or aspects of Adolf Hitler's politics around to their opposite, it could perhaps look like more acceptable politics - but that does not mean that Adolf Hitler is the thing for a 'via negativa' conception of a 'transcendent' reality.

It is high time to understand that such a 'paradoxical' norwegian culture conception is a potentially great problem for the world. Holm wrote in a language which today is understood only poorly by norwegians and the dialect is probably on its way out. Hopefully the available dictionaries will still function - but if it all turns electronic then one hasnt much illusions about the future chances for his language. He is already machine-translated into all languages? Of course he is, but there cannot be more there than has been 'punched' into the program.

The political story seems - as is my guess - to be that Holm's poetry in his 'Bygdir i solrøyk' = 'Villages in sunsmoke' early was analyzed and each poem in his 3-volume 'Sunsmoke' work turned into an episode (this is guesswork only) in the US series 'Gunsmoke', more than 400 episodes on radio and more than 600 on TV. It is (more guesswork) this 'gunsmoke' philosophy which now could be implemented into the phenomenon of mass (including school) shooting in USA - interpreting the 1223 transatlantic bridge to me in Austria - for completing the circle back to Norway via a 'doublebottomed' philosophy of quasi 'via negativa'. In this way, it is supposed to be concluded that the power of the gun is the inspiration of poetry - and so the inner poetic articulation which should correspond to the inner articulation of the pope in Henry VIII's conception is supposed to be taken to be the power of the gun. All this seems to have the one and only purpose of lending historic justification to the british monarchy via a quasi 'Messiah' function of PTRSIM PIK (me, it seems) - for the eventual conclusion that the source of the inner articulation whether divine or poetic is the rule of the gun. In this way the international secret intelligence services hope to get in control with the divine forces of the universe - and, voila, the problems of bad conscience and fear of doom after having organized terror is solved.

Of course this program should not be continued - and particularly plans of a Black Sea Loop should be packed down.

For some question of the potential use of the above poem in political intrigue, see a couple of examples here.

Added 15 june 2022: From the recognition of the title to this poem in the name of Leif-Arne Heløe, who was minister of social affairs in the government of Kåre Willoch 1981-86, it is natural to ponder whether the government even was composed according to this poem. That seems to be a possible reading. After the title there follow 30 lines - and the names of the ministers listed in this file under 'ministers (29)' could in principle be recognized with more or less precision in this alphabetic order after 'Willoch' = line 10 the alphabetic series starts from Austad = line 3 or 4 as follows: 3/4, 2, 29, 14, 5, 6, 13, title line (Heløe), 27, 7, 4/3, 28, 9, 12, 25, 17, 23, 26, 20, 19, 11, 8, 22, 16, 15, 24, 1, 18. Then only lines 21 and 30 are not included - but that could be in the name of Finn Isaksen in the sense of 'find 9-saksen' (Nelly Sachs? or the signature on Hitler's postcard?) which could be a formal property recognized in e.g. the interval of 6 between lines 24 and 30: The word 'grusteferd' of line 30 can mean line 24. The marimba played in intervals of two - and the poem could perhaps be recognized as the marimba/xylophone mallet going down in lines 1-12, plunging into the wooden bar in lines 13-20 and going up again in lines 21-30. The sound of the interval of 2 will then be the converse of this. Could be Willoch's government had in the background of its consciousness a theory that Vidkun Quisling shot Lenin in 1924 - and then there would have been very few knowing about 'Banetimen' = 'the hour of death' of Lenin - and if Hitler's postcard told the name of Quisling as a responsibility claim on the death of Lenin, and the signature looked more like Nelly X, Willoch's government could have been an attempt to turn the deplorable political story into a more optimistic poetic direction. I recall also the story of Willoch's official visit to USA where he also gave a speech on TV and opened with the words 'good day' - it was told that this is more common for the sense 'goodbye'. What a blunder, told the news. Could be, though, a 'good day' would turn it more into 'Sunsmoke' than 'Gunsmoke'.

If it were my official grandmother Laura Devold who shot Lenin in the company of Quisling, did she ever give me any hint of this? I dont think so, but it happened once when we left in car from Vågstranda that she waved a hand and said 'aieu', without a 'd', as the car started moving. (Cp. the idea of 'Hans-Hendrix Holm'?).

My elder sister Vibeke Grøver was in Frydenberg high school class (1971-74, I think it was, if not 1972-75) with Raino Malnes and other protagonists (Henning Lønn etc) and told me one day that she had seen one of her classmates take her hand off - it was a false plastic hand ('protese') only. I notice the above quote from Holm. In the autumn 1974 two new students arrived in my class - Jan-Henrik Ihlebæk (with reduced right hand) and Mette Krøtøe.


Holm, H,-H.: Bygdir i solrøyk V-VI. Gyldendal, Oslo 1951. (V-VI are bound in one volume).

© John Bjarne Grover
On the web 14 june 2022
Last updated 15 june 2022