Makrel



Makrel
© lyrikline

Jeg går langsomt gennem byen

for at afføre mig

min makrelskygge.

Jeg spadserer adstadigt

for at tabe mit net.

Jeg standser op foran vinduer

og ser på min flugtform.

Jeg tænder en cigaret

og laver skyer af plankton.

Jeg spiser skyerne af plankton,

men blir ikke federe.

Jeg ville gerne være en makrel

uden skygge.

Jeg bevæger mig videre

mellem brinkerne af hus,

port, karnap, stativ.

Jeg stirrer ned i lysskakten

og får øje på murænen.

Jeg gør mig til gode med

druknede sømænd.

Jeg spiser dem sommereftermiddage

på det lille torv.

Jeg blir til en stime

mellem parasollerne.

Jeg spyr ufordøjelige stumper

af sømænd ud bag hånden.

Jeg blir ikke federe.

Jeg tænker forgæves på min kost.

Jeg drejer uset rundt om hjørnet.

Jeg er et medlem af en art.

Jeg går adstadigt gennem byen.

Man sir mit legeme er funktionelt.

Jeg drikker te og spiser kiks

min skygge uforgængelig.

Jeg går imellem mine striber

mine tænder skinner

min mund kan ikke lukkes.

Jeg vender siden til

når jeg skal se den.

Det er ikke funktionelt.

Jeg standser op foran vinduer.

Man ser.

De ser.

Jeg føler sulten.

Min adstadighed er slut.

Jeg springer.

Overfladen brister,

spejlet slukkes.

Fremad!

Makrele
Translated by Lutz Volke

 

Ich gehe langsam durch die Stadt,

um meinen Makrelen-

schatten abzulegen.

Ich schreite gesetzt,

um mein Netz zu verlieren.

Ich stehe vor Fenstern und betrachte

meine Fluchtform.

Ich zünde mir eine Zigarette an

 und mache Wolken aus Plankton.

Verspeise die Wolken aus Plankton,

werde aber nicht fetter.

Ich möchte gern eine Makrele

ohne Schatten sein.

Ich bewege mich

zwischen den steilen Ufern der Häuser -

Tore, Erker, Kleiderständer.

Ich sehe den Lichtschacht hinab

und erblicke die Muräne.

Ich tue mich gütlich an

ertrunkenen Matrosen.

Ich verspeise sie sommernachmittags

auf dem kleinen Marktplatz.

Ich bilde einen Schwarm zwischen Sonnenschirmen.

Ich spucke unverdauliche Reste

von Seeleuten hinter der Hand aus.

Ich werde nicht fetter.

Ich mache mir vergebens Gedanken über meine Kost.

Ich streiche ungesehen um die Ecke.

Ich bin Angehöriger einer Art.

Ich schreite gesetzt durch die Stadt.

Man sagt, mein Körper sei funktional.

Ich trinke Tee und esse Keks,

mein Schatten unvergänglich.

Ich gehe zwischen meinen Streifen,

meine Zähne leuchten,

mein Mund läßt sich nicht schließen.

Ich muß mich seitwärts drehen,

wenn ich ihn sehen will.

Funktional ist das nicht.

Ich bleibe vor Fenstern stehen.

Man schaut.

Sie schauen.

Ich spüre Hunger.

Mit meiner Gesetztheit ist es vorbei.

Ich springe.

Die Oberfläche bricht,

der Spiegel schließt sich.

Vorwärts!


  • Country in which the text is set
    Denmark
  • Impact

    In an essay published in 1963, the German writer Hans-Magnus Enzensberger, someone well versed in Nordic literature as a result of his years spent in Norway, characterized Rifbjerg as “Gulliver in Copenhagen”, because he had freed himself “from the bonds of the Lilliputians”, from the fussy poetry of 1940s Denmark and its reluctance to engage with reality. Rifbjerg’s work provides a conduit for modernism to enter Danish poetry.  His first book of poetry In Search of Myself (Under vejr med mig selv), published in 1956, presents a poetic voice that is self-confident and forward-looking. The collection represented a clear watershed, a kind of challenge thrown out to what had preceded it. “He has described how he consciously circumvented prevailing tendencies—and carved out his own path with his first book.” (Jørgen Gustava Brandt and Asger Schnack, 80 moderne danske digtere. Præsentation & Portræt, Copenhagen 1988).

    By 1973, when Rifbjerg brought out the volume of poetry Scener fra det daglige liv (Scenes from Daily Life), this path had been clearly established. Nevertheless, in the poem Makrel (Mackerel) his initial boisterousness is still present, perhaps in an even more pronounced form. The elegant schooling fish wants to go higher, out of the underworld.“Mackerel is a dual exposure, both fish and human being, a being functionally formed for escape, lazy, narcissistic, rapacious. The city is experienced as the sea floor with diverse kinds of living nutrition. The mackerel-subjective narrator is always hungry, never replete, the member of a species with bared teeth and a mouth that never closes. The poem moves within a tension between a truculent, cranky lethargy and sudden action (…) Mackerel is a slang word for pimp. Do you recognize him now? He is the poet, who is living in a world of consumption and then suddenly breaks with the feeling of complacent inadequacy, smashes through the mirror, creating himself in a moment of liberation. From the underworld of life to freedom of action. The emptiness, the nothingness down there, is here more closely defined in connection with a type of species.” (Torben Brostrøm, Klaus Rifbjerg. En digter i tiden, Copenhagen 1991.)

    As early as 1960, in the collection Konfrontation, Rifbjerg stated in the poem Life in the Bathroom (Livet i badeværelset), “I want to be needed /am needed”. He goes on to state, “I am not for clinging to./Catch me/and I disappear in the water/slip away like a fish”. In the form of the mackerel he is confronting himself.

  • Balticness

    It is highly unlikely that a school of mackerel would stray into the Baltic Sea, since mackerel live in the North Sea and have their breeding grounds there. When Rifbjerg chooses this fish as the protagonist of his poem in order to reflect himself in it, this is certainly because word in Danish also denotes a pimp. What he means here is a person who lives parasitically from the work of others. However, the poet wants to be integrated, wants his art to be needed. And he is self-confident enough to say: I am needed. Whether in the North Sea or the Baltic Sea is irrelevant.                              

    Lutz Volke

  • Translations
    Language Year Translator
    German 1991 Lutz Volke
  • Year of first publication
    1973
  • Place of first publication
    Copenhagen: Gyldendal