ROBIN FULTON MACPHERSON‘s A Northern Habitat: Collected Poems 1960-2010 was published in 2014 by Marick Press (Michigan), who are bringing out his new collection shortly. Poets he has translated include (from Norwegian) Olav H. Hauge and (from Swedish) Tomas Tranströmer, Harry Martinson, and Kjell Espmark.


Cloud Mastery

The blue clouds turn the oceans blue.
The green clouds turn the forests green.

Not everything in the heavens,
though, is as the heavens would want.
Spring light landing finally here
seems disappointed: was it worth
the effort to illuminate

neglected backyards, dumped tractors,
dried willow-herb stalks from last year?



From a Very High Window

A cloud the length and breadth of Aarhus
half darkens every street in Aarhus,
looks more like a stone lid than soft cloud.

The cathedral, millions of bricks piled
to make us look up, from here is squat.
The tenements know how high they’ve reached.

The word for spire tries to hide the spire.
The word for cloud tries to hide the cloud.
The word for eye tries to hide the eye.

Beyond the jurisdiction of cloud
there is brightness to be imagined
flowing in oat-fields and forest tops.



Where Olav H. Hauge Lived

At times he found space for them
in three or four lines of verse:
the height of the high rock slabs,
the depth of the deep black fjord.

However few words he used
crag and fjord took their revenge:
the hard crag became higher,
the black fjord became deeper.



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