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Harvest Moon

by Henrik Nordbrandt
Translated from Danish by
Patrick Phillips

The winter was hard, spring late in coming, the whole summer slate-gray.
I watch bats fling themselves at the moon
that hangs low and red over the darkening beech trees
where I played hide-and-seek as a child.

My ancestors spoke Polish, Spanish, and surely some German.
But I only learned how to vanish in Danish. And very soon thereafter
I wrote this in a place called Söğütözü,
at a bus stop outside of Ankara.

Henrik Nordbrandt is a Danish poet, novelist, and essayist. He made his literary debut in 1966 with the poetry collection Digte. He was awarded the Nordic Council’s Literature Prize in 2000 for the poetry collection Drømmebroer (Dream Bridges).
Patrick Phillips is an award-winning poet, translator, and professor. A Guggenheim and NEA Fellow, his book Elegy for a Broken Machine was a finalist for the National Book Award. He translated When We Leave Each Other: Selected Poems by the Danish writer Henrik Nordbrandt.