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From ‘Ókunna Kunna Þér Runna

there are dead in countries
who will never know how
little I despised them
I wanted the penblade
not the bootsplatter trenchlife
the night I ran      there was
sky concealing thunder
a white feather of moon

            *

the words give heavy page
the words bleed out of me
bullstrong        I like to think
of guns     the sound of rain
Hemingway’s forearm thick
as tree root       men are dead
who never wondered what
I thought       or why       or not

            *

I am deadheavydrunk
sharpen penblade       moonglint
now think of Hemingway
swallowing a shotgun
now think of bulls         enraged
now think of men who can’t
be men without dying
of rain of Thanes of Harr

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About the translation:
Poet:
Egill Skallagrímsson
Translator:
Andrew McMillan
Original language:
Icelandic
Issue:
2015 Number 1 - SOLD OUT - Scorched Glass

About the author

Original poet

Egill Skallagrímsson

EGILL SKALLAGRÍMSSON was a tenth-century Icelandic poet composing in an oral, pre-Christian context. He is one of the most not...

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Translator

Andrew McMillan

ANDREW MCMILLAN’s debut collection, physical, will be published by Jonathan Cape in August 2015.

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