My mother said he was lonely, Uncle Henry
on his smallholding with no-one, only books
and the strike of his grandfather clock.
My father said he had read all the books
in Østerild library, should’ve gone to college
instead of staying in Klastrup, tending cattle
but there’d been no money then for that.
We visited him twice a year, noticed his heart
falter like the missed swing of a pendulum
but his brain ticked along nicely until it didn’t.
We inherited his timepiece, moved it from
one farm to another, oiled its mechanism twice
a year with Mother reminding us how things
survive if we tend to them with love.

(Translated by Peter Graarup Westergaard/Mary-Jane Holmes)