A poem of Nelly Sachs and a poem I wrote in 1982

John Bjarne Grover

In early 1982 I wrote a poem about an owl sitting 'archimedically' on a rain-slippery branch of a tree. It was one of the first poems I wrote - I think it was the first I wrote in Norway and in norwegian language. It is probably lost from my belongings. As far as I remember, it was 6 stanzas of 3 lines each, a total of 18 lines. ...en ugle... "... som hviler arkimedisk på en regnglatt grein" was one of the lines. Today I can recognize this is the 'archimedian' role of the owl in hieroglyphic script. However, a more natural source of 'platonic' inspiration for me could have been Nelly Sachs' poem "Geheime Grabschrift" - the first poem in the part 'Überlebende' in her book 'Sternverdunkelung' from 1949. I believe that I had not yet read it at that time. Sachs' poem starts:

O welche Rune schreibt der Erdenschoß
mit einer Eiche qualverbogenem Geäst
in diese Luft, die Zeit mit Schreckenmuster malt.

Greis mit dem Kaftan -
Mantel aus der großen Einsamkeit geschnitten,
von vielen Tod- und Weihekerzen angeraucht -
Greis in der heimatlosesten der Sprachen seufzend -

Der eiserne Soldat ließ dich in Wellen
an dem Baume leiden,
nachschaffend eine windverrenkte Erdenflucht.

Zenit des Schmerzes!

The story goes that my friend Geir and I found an owl-child, gray in soft young downs, sitting on some lonely place in Molde in the late 60's. It could not yet fly so I dont know how it had landed there. It was a very nice and friendly animal - I never saw the owl parents but I think I remember that it grew up somehow. It agreed to sit on the arm. (The same or similar story seems to be found in a Harry Potter book). This owl was a part of the background for my poem in 1982 - and clearly in Sachs' poem there is this 'Greis mit dem Kaftan' which looks similar. Today one can observe an obvious correlation in the 'Überlebende' with the 'Übersetzung' of possible intrigue around Delitzsch's book. Had the 'services' looked up Nelly Sachs' poem and found an owl-child which they put up for me to discover? Such 'services' would of course be part of the reason why it can be difficult to write in norwegian language - and it could serve to redefine Sachs' poetry to an intrigue code for the International Secret Intelligence Services - precisely what counts as the most disgusting form of reality distortion for a poet. Eine windverrenkte Erdenflucht! Clearly this is the problem for the poet - and the idea of pumping in chemicals in a 'service intrigue' for making that 'zenith' is a misunderstanding indeed. The poet is not 'nachschaffend' in that sense of it. What sort of 'total control' are you talking about?

Downgrade the stone! Delimit all extended authorities of the secret intelligence services!

It is that problem of the 'services' who tiptoe in to put a white stone in your kitchenbench - because that is what you had hoped to make with your poetry. That is to make a 'go' by intrigue... It is what a poet dislikes most. This is also the theme of Nelly Sachs' poem - there are 'Überlebende'.

The stone I made surfaced after enough evidence had appeared ex nihilo in advance - sort of pretelling it in such a way that it could not have been a tiptoed stone.

Is this tiptoe what ballet is about? The swan lake? But swans are not very tiptoe!

© John Bjarne Grover
On the web 29 december 2017