alphabet [excerpt]

Inger Christensen
3
cicadas exist; chicory, chromium 
citrus trees; cicadas exist; 
cicadas, cedars, cypresses, the cere-
bellum

4
doves exist, dreamers, and dolls; 
killers exist, and doves, and doves; 
haze, dioxin, and days; days 
exist, days and death; and poems 
exist; poems, days, death

An excerpt from alphabet by Inger Christensen, translated by Susanna Nied. Copyright © 2000 Inger Christensen; Translation Copyright © 2000 Susanna Nied; Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp. All rights reserved.

An excerpt from alphabet by Inger Christensen, translated by Susanna Nied. Copyright © 2000 Inger Christensen; Translation Copyright © 2000 Susanna Nied; Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp. All rights reserved.

Inger Christensen

by this poet

poem

I

Up they soar, the planet's butterflies,
pigments from the warm body of the earth,
cinnabar, ochre, phosphor yellow, gold
a swarm of basic elements aloft.

Is this flickering of wings only a shoal
of light particles, a quirk of perception?
Is it the dreamed