After Showers of Bullets in Paradise

Each day is a decision to live

the life I was born to live,

I draw breath when I’m asleep, when I'm awake,

when I love, when I struggle

with the dread that unexpectedly rolls like thunder,

and these days I am angry,

because dread again

has sought me out just

when I thought I had a hiding place,

but the aggression isn’t new,

even in finds

from Stone, Bronze and Iron Age

there are signs of brutal murders

and conflicts, violence

has existed at all times,

broken skulls, skeletons with traces

of assault, murdered dreams, violence

arises under pressure, accelerates under pressure,

battle-axes in Iron Age graves speak

a hellish language,

it wasn’t only hunting tools

the dead could take with them on the journey,

fanaticism and hatred live

in the same world as I,

right next to me, draw breath

when I’m asleep, when I'm awake,

take the air from my lungs in little jerks

when the dread leaps out, settles

in my clothes like a strange odour.

I must again try to breathe easily

on a continent where blood flows

after showers of bullets and mental wounds

have settled in the soul, draw breath

in the freely moving chaos, where hatred

sometimes pretends to be an embrace.

 PIA TAFDRUP (translated by David McDuff), from THE SMELL OF SNOW (LUGTEN AF SNE, 2016)

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