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A Note from the War in Kosovo

by Henrik Nordbrandt


translated from the Danish by Thom Satterlee

Down in the basement I couldn’t see a thing
because, I discovered, I had my sunglasses on.
When I finally took them off
I threw them from me in a rage.

Now I sit and can’t make out the sea
because I have my reading glasses on.
And I can’t read what I’ve written
because the sun’s too bright.

Out of stubbornness I keep my reading glasses on
and nothing
will get me to go down in the basement after the sunglasses!
That’s my life. That’s all of our lives.

That’s how the war continues.


Henrik Nordbrandt has published over twenty volumes of poetry and is considered one of the leading contemporary Danish poets. In 2000 he received the Nordic Prize, one of many honors awarded to his work. Nordbrandt currently lives in Turkey. (4/2005)

Thom Satterlee has translated the Danish poet Henrik Nordbrandt for the past ten years. Individual translations have appeared in journals such as Seneca Review, Prairie Schooner, The Literary Review, and elsewhere. In 2003 Green Integer published his collection of translations, The Hangman’s Lament: Poems of Henrik Nordbrandt. (4/2005)

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