by Knud Sørensen
(translated from the Danish by Michael Goldman)  

Søren Andersen had a small farming
property.  Søren Andersen was old.  Søren Andersen
was tired.  Søren Andersen sold it to Hans Østergaard
for 81,000.  Hans Østergaard bought some abutting land for 8,000 and
figured everything was pretty good.  His livestock
was some of the best.  Mr. B. arrived in his Volvo

and offered him 125,000 for the land and buildings and Hans
Østergaard saw the heavens open.  He kept a straight face
and sold it and Mr. B. returned to Copenhagen.
And waited.

4 years later Mr. B. sold it to Mr. C. for 500,000.  And
Mr. C sat down to wait.  8 months he waited.  Then
he sold it to Mr. E. for 1.1 million.  Insane
said people in the area.  Mr. E. did not wait.  He
subdivided.  People bought.  Profit:
700,000.  Net.

In the same period the monthly social pension increased
from 682 to 1259 crowns and many hundreds of new laws
were adopted in the parliament.  Søren Andersen
is still alive.  He lives in “The Old Folks Home” about 1/3 of a
mile from “the place.”  He doesn’t say much
and he doesn’t like his new teeth so he doesn’t
smile much either.  At the election in ’73
he voted like he always had done.
Everybody says
that he never had it as good
as he does now.

“En Autentisk Historie” (“A True Story”) appeared in Knud
Sørensen’s book
Drømmen om græskar (The dream about
) in 1974.

by Knud Sørensen
(translated from the Danish by Michael Goldman)  

So I grab
the spade handle.
It is smooth
from hands taking hold
by the sweat of hands
and I stick the spade in the earth
and step on it.
It glides down
with a nice dry sound
and I tilt the handle back
and lift and turn.  The earth
is black and crumbly.
I stick the spade in the earth
and step on it.  The earth
is black and crumbly the smell
is raw almost moldy.  I
stick the spade in the earth
and step on it, expose
worms, pebbles and half-rotten
stalks.  I stick the spade
in the earth and step on it.
Square yard
after square yard becomes loose
black and crumbly
and a tiredness
creeps through the spade
into my body.
To work
I say
is to release the earth
from tiredness.

“At arbejde, siger jeg” (“To work, I say”) appeared in Knud
Sørensen’s book
Om vinteren hænger jeg Fur op på væggen
(In the winter I hang Fur Island up on the wall) in 1980.


Knud Sørensen was a certified land surveyor for twenty-eight
years.  This work influenced his writing, which is best known for its
portrayal of life in rural Denmark and the dissolution of small farming
communities.  Sørensen is the author of forty-eight books and has
won more than twenty literary awards including a lifelong grant from
the Danish Arts Council.  In November 2014 he received the
highest honor for a Danish author, the Grand Prize of the Danish

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.