Richard Pierce

Richard Pierce – author, poet, painter

Life, Writing

Day 80

Enough of the antihistamines now after 3 days. I can feel the psychotic effect they have on me building up (mind racing, depression, ears ringing), and my left arm is almost back down to its normal size. So that will do. The interesting thing is that these are the normal daily antihistamines you can buy over the counter for hay fever, and they always do this to me. The really heavy-duty non-drowsy antihistamines I was prescribed when I had a months-long allergic reaction to something in the garden had no such side effects at all. Although I didn’t dare use the few remaining ones to deal with this disproportional reaction to an insect bite. A middle-aged man writes about his health complaints. Oh dear.

I check the headline news very briefly every morning in the hope that the war will have ended, that Putin will have been removed from power, that the threat of nuclear war will have receded a little. And every morning I’m disappointed. I’m disappointed with a lot of other things, too, on a global scale.

Yesterday, I worked a bit more on the translation of Hölderlin’s Hälfte des Lebens and sent it to X who had really got my head going on translating this again (I think I had done one years ago but couldn’t find it). X really liked it, and sent me a lovely and touching message back about it. This morning I realised that, unlike German and Norwegian, English has no verb that I know of for writing poetry (unless you count versify which is a ridiculous word that reflects the English love for complication and long words rather than simplicity). In Norwegian, translating a poem is known as “gjendikting” which is writing a poem anew. That’s what this is. I tried to stick as closely as possible to the syllable count of the original poem, and can’t take credit for its beauty, only for the choice of English words.


ripe with yellow pears, and
filled with wild roses, this land
droops into the lake,
you dear swans, and
high with kisses, you
dip your heads in
the sacred abstinent water.

my sorrow, where will i
find, come winter, the flowers, and where
the sunlight and
shadows of the earth?
the walls stand, mute and
cold, the vanes rattle
in the wind.




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  1. Ren Powell

    22nd March 2022 at 06:44

    I thought I replied to this. Nodding to the antihistamine thing – omg it makes me batsh*t crazy. Can’t have them at all. And to say that I love the beautiful translation. Sometimes (not often) I miss translating.

    1. Richard Pierce

      22nd March 2022 at 08:19

      Thank God re the antihistamines – not that you can’t take them, but that there’s someone else out there like me. I always worried it was just my overly fertile imagination. And thanks about the translation – that means so so much to me. I’d rather create than translate, but I miss my Sunday afternoons at uni that I spent translating listening to great music.

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