Just a reminder that during November, I’ll be reviewing short stories instead of novels. This adjustment will hopefully allow me to complete both the manuscript due December 1st and 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month.
I have so little time to spare today that I’m going to share a poem instead of a review. I read it for the first time in college out of The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry for a class I hated. That book, however, has stayed with me through eight moves, and this poem has inspired stories, art, and poetry of my own almost every year since I first read it. Reading it, for me, is like visiting an old friend who still lives in the house where he grew up – all familiar smells, and that broken-in chair, and memories clinging to the edges of absolutely everything.
No Matter Where We Go
No matter where we go, we always arrive too late
to experience what we left to find.
And in whatever cities we stay
it is the houses where it is too late to return
the gardens where it’s too late to spend a moonlit night
and the women whom it’s too late to love
that disturb us with their intangible presence.
And whatever streets we think we know
take us past the gardens we are searching for
whose heavy fragrance spreads throughout the neighbourhood.
And whatever houses we return to
we arrive too late at night to be recognized.
And in whatever rivers we look for our reflections
we see ourselves only when we have turned our backs.
(translated from the Danish by the poet and Alexander Taylor)