Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Tarkovsky's Horses

Tarkovsky's Horses is the title of a new, 80-page collection of poems by the Danish poet Pia Tafdrup. All the poems in the book are are devoted to her experience of being with her father during the final weeks and months of his life, when he suffered a breakdown of consciousness that gradually destroyed his memory, brought about changes in his behaviour and personality, and was followed by total kidney failure.

Although the poems are autobiographical, they aim beyond the purely personal towards a universal appraisal of the human condition and its constant link with pain and suffering, together with a deepening of the need to speak about this in terms that derive from an inner revelation:

With the same lofty calm
Tarkovsky's horses
in Andrei Rublyov
in the film's last images,
my father is present,
resting in himself.
He has been wrapped
in flames,
and I have carried
his urn to the burial place.
Being is not
without pain.
I carry him
within me
like a new authority.

The collection is so far only available in Danish, but translations into other languages should soon be forthcoming. The poet herself will be introducing the book and reading from it tomorrow, Wednesday, at Chester's Bogcafé, Strandgade 26, Copenhagen, at 7pm.
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