by Benny Andersen
(translated from the Danish by Michael Goldman)  

My suitcase opens wide imploring                             
Feed me                                                                      
fill me with socks
stuff me with shirts and underwear
fatten me with folded things
load me with longings and a shaving kit
I beg you
give me one more chance
to be tumbled around in trunks
relegated to backseats
treated like a dog on conveyor belts
let me be emptied
put through customs
and refilled
with dirty socks
half-emptied bottles
abducted ashtrays
let my contents spill out onto foreign sheets
hang on interesting hangers
plop in bidets with a guttural accent.

But most of all
Forget me someplace
in an out-of-the-way synagogue
in a jungle or an opium den
on the top of Kilimanjaro
on the bottom of the big city
in the corner of a desert
or dropped off of a dogsled
under the northern lights
under the southern cross
it doesn’t matter where
just not here
where you know what you’ve got
where you know nothing will ever happen to you
take me with you
save me
let me never return                                 
to this suffocating security

“Rastløshed” (“Restlessness”) appeared in Benny Andersen’s
Tiden og Storken (Time and the Stork) in 1985.

by Benny Andersen
(translated from the Danish by Michael Goldman)  

As a senior citizen you gradually systematically drop
out of associations
and don’t join new ones
you’re long ago done with keeping things and collecting
you economize on old friends
of which a bunch are dead
but still there are more than enough
enough that you feel you neglect them plenty
now what counts is to go deeper
to be mindful of what is lasting
to be more for those you care about
to turn down new connections
politely but decidedly
and then there you go anyway
making connections time after time
in unguarded moments
yet again I have god help me made
new good friends on Barbados
in another end of the world
as if this end weren’t enough
have to start missing them
have to start neglecting them
as if I didn’t have enough on my soul already
next time I’ll have to travel with blinders on
Asia Azores and Australia
will have to wait for my kids and grandkids
one life must be enough
and at the same time I know
that it will arise again and again
that I will give in again and again
to that urge to receive
to discover
open up
connect to
new faces
birds and lizards
new poems and grandchildren                        
new paintings and melodies                                 
not to mention the old ones                                 
I must be crazy
but I guess that is part of the process.

“Man er godt tosset” (“I must be crazy”) appeared in Benny
Andersen’s book
Verden udenfor syltetøjsglæsset (The world
outside the jelly jar
) in 1996.


Benny Andersen is the best-selling living poet and lyricist in
Denmark.  First published in 1960, he has produced twenty-one
volumes of poetry in addition to numerous records, stories,
screenplays, and children’s books.  To date, his
Samlede Digte
(Collected Poems) has sold more than 150,000 copies.  His
writing has been translated into twenty-four languages, though little
of his poetry is currently available in English.  Now eight-five,
Andersen continues to write and to perform to sold-out audiences
in Denmark.  He lives near Copenhagen.

Michael Goldman taught himself Danish in 1985 while working on
a pig farm in southern Denmark.  Since 2013, he has received eight
grants to support his translations of work by prominent Danish
authors.  More than sixty of Goldman’s translations have been
published in English-language literary journals, and a dual-language
poetry collection is forthcoming from Norvik Press in 2017.  He
currently lives in Florence, Massachusetts.  Goldman’s website is
located at

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 10, Number 2
(Fall 2015)

Copyright © 2015
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.