“Strong men and noble women still
uphold their country’s honour
with faithfulness and skill.”
– Adam Oehlenschläger
In my hometown of Nors, Jensen
the master bricklayer, transformed
a pallet of bricks into a solid wall
bound by the mystery of his cement.
With his solder stick he measured
each straight line and said to me then
how any good craftsman could build
what he wanted from these foundations.
Afterwards, Ringo the carpenter raised
the roof and my family nicknamed him
Ringo Star for his hammer always fell
to the beat of the music of the local radio.
Wicked to call him this; he was an evangelical
and thought the Beatles rude, yet he came
blasting into our farmyard all tooled up
transforming the building into a concert hall.
You could not exactly dance on the floor
while Ringo Star was being his own one-
man band in the rafters but his saw did sound
like some kind of violin, his drill: a beatbox machine.
(Translated by Peter Graarup Westergaard/Mary-Jane Holmes)
You can buy ‘Danish Northwest – Hygge Poems from the Outskirts” here: https://www.troubador.co.uk/bookshop/poetry-short-stories-and-plays/danish-northwest/