the stone collector’s song

i remember the thirst and the darkness
i remember one-way streets
i remember closed alleys
and you

you pointed to a cellar door
there used to be a pub there
which we visited
a lot

here it is you said comfortingly
your stone collection
it isn’t

in the shelves behind the bar
waits the iceland spar
all my

brimstone – pyrite – opal
and jasper – dear friends!
none of you have i

and up there on the ceiling hang
the obsidian sacks
heavy with


you are the poem I sing
as I squat under house-walls
when the winter denies me shelter

© Sjón. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2011 by David McDuff. All rights reserved.