When you see a monkey banging a clam

against a stone it is like seeing one’s self

investigating a philosophical problem.

No one can preclude that animals are cleverer

than us, they manage life without words,

we’re unable to do that. Silence

leads us astray in a psychic labyrinth,

words flicker through the brain like fish

deep down; they constantly shift meaning.

Each of us finds our self in a body;

it is possible to make contact with caresses,

but everything becomes more and more abstract.

Foxes have holes and the birds of the sky have nests;

the mind remembers the settlements

in raw nature. Now we live with bookcases

full of dictionaries, in nameless castles of air,

on separate floors.

What do you call that?

Translated by P.K. Brask & Patrick Friesen

Niels Hav is a Danish poet and short story writer currently living in Copenhagen. His new collection of poetry We Are Here is published by Book Thug, Toronto – and in Serbian translation U ODBRANU PESNIKA, by RAD, Belgrad 2008. He has published five collections of poetry and three of short fiction.