Night-black silver, January’s luminous

Per Brask and Patrick Friesen, translating from the Danish written by Ulrikka S. Gernes

copyright ©Danish Copyright © 2015 by Ulrikka S Gernes / English Translation Copyright © 2015 by Per Brask and Patrick Friesen

NIGHT-BLACK SILVER, JANUARY’S LUMINOUS
morning-darkness leaves behind its blacking,
rubbing off on everything I touch.
It could be worse, it could
always be worse, but could it
be better? No, never better than
this moment, it’s perfect, it’ll never
come back. The child sleeps,
the cat plays with its tail, traffic
sighs past on Falkoner Allé. I jot this down
in the margin of the newspaper, drink
a cup of tea, somewhere someone
opens a book, the year has just begun,
and life, the late dawn sneaks in,
polishes the dark spots clean.

Notes on the Poem

We have found the perfect poem with which to start a new year in which we're all investing with particular hope. The poem opening with the charmingly enigmatic line "Night-black silver, January's luminous" comes from Frayed Opus for Strings & Wind Instruments, composed in Danish by Ulrikka S. Gernes, translated into English by Canadian poet/translators Per Brask and Patrick Friesen. Gernes, Brask and Friesen introduce us to the dawning of a new day in subtle, sweet fashion. How the darkness turns to light has a literally smudged aspect to it: "January's luminous morning-darkness leaves behind its blacking, rubbing off on everything I touch." As the new day rouses, small acts and observations take on warmth and intimacy: children and cats doing the quiet things they do, the narrator scribbling in a newspaper margin, and imagining someone somewhere opening a book. That bit of scribbling suggests the new day might also herald new work. That snippet, what the narrator registers around her that might later evolve into ... well, this poem ... gives what we're reading a pleasingly circular element of Ars Poetica to it. Also pleasingly, we circle back to those smudges of darkness with which the day began. By the end of the poem ... "the year has just begun, and life, the late dawn sneaks in, polishes the dark spots clean." Accepting and contented to start a new day, inspired to perhaps start a new work, we are now very ready to start a new year.

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