• Country in which the text is set
  • Impact

    The  poem The Dividing Line from the collection The Beach presents the dual face of the sea as a poetic motif: “A dividing line/erratic/bearing consuming/between flotsam/new land/and catastrophes”Those familiar with water are aware of both its beauty and of its horror.

    The poetic subject experiences a loss. The water takes his friends. And the tragedy of this is that they do not react, remaining sitting comfortably in their chairs until the water surrounds them. The poet is an alerter and admonisher.

    “The beach, with its view over the sea, is an important place in Rifbjerg’s poetic universe, here in connection with the unconscious, the far and the near, taken with one and the same aperture  to the point of an objectification of wanderlust, freedom and a deeper connectedness. Here is horizon, elevation, rises and falls”, Jørgen Gustava Brandt and Asger Schnack, 80 moderne danske digtere. Præsentation & Portræt, Copenhagen 1988.)

    The sea becomes a synonym for life itself, especially given that all life originally comes from the water. And yet the antithesis also comes into play: death breaks in. It has just as much a place here as life. The poet continues to resist it, does not give up, but in principle he can save nothing. A nightmare born of foam, arising from the sea.

  • Balticness

    We are not dealing with the Baltic Sea here, since the friends sitting in their chairs are obviously being engulfed by the incoming tide. And tides of the strength described in the poem are not found in the Baltic Sea but rather in its sister, the North Sea. Whatever the case, the precise location is not important here. After all, Denmark is a country between two seas.                  

    Lutz Volke

  • Bibliographic information

    København: Gyldendal 2001

  • Translations
    Language Year Translator
    German 1991 Lutz Volke
  • Year of first publication
  • Place of first publication

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