‘Trees, a field, and sky’


Dolmen near Knebel, Denmark. Image via

From Poetry:

A couple of years ago I was living in Knebel, down by Mols. My window had a view of trees, a field, and sky. I carried on long conversations with that view, and I continued them when I went for walks in the countryside, where there was always some far-flung comment to find along the beach, up in the hills, or among the clusters of  houses and farms. A conversation that had been carried on for centuries, one that I more or less patiently continued weaving — almost as patiently as the farmer with his plow, regardless of whether he was using a horse or a tractor. One day he said, “The rewards aren’t worth the effort; it’d be better to live in town.” This classic reason for flight from country to city suited me perfectly; I packed up my pen and paper and left. And though it wasn’t exactly that simple, today I think it’s simple enough; no other explanation fits any better.

Ironically, now that I live in Copenhagen I have the same view I had before: trees, a field, and sky. But for many reasons the conversations we carry on are far from the same. For me there’s one overarching reason: so many people.

A statement like that might be interpreted as a terse and provincial expression of marvel at a metropolis and all its inhabitants, a cliché dragged out of some Secretary of  Tourism’s suitcase and slightly revised, a dream of heady action and sweet lives in abundance.

But not all dreams are clichés. In any case, more than once, at irregular intervals, I’ve had a dream that can’t be packed into my private cliché case, at least not yet. It just won’t shrink enough.

“The Dream of a City”, Inger Christensen, Poetry