Shortening the Candle’s Wick I

Gerhard Richter, Schädel mit Kerze (Skull with Candle), 1983



I lie in the rich grass
a blissful ringing in my head.
Distant voices bring me food
the way ants brought gold
to a king in olden times.

There are two horseflies.
There may even be a snake around here somewhere.
In any case there is an old mill-pond
and downstream are some rapids.
There is a thicket with three big birches across the river.

. . . . . . I lie in the rich grass
. . . . . . a blissful ringing in my head.
. . . . . . Distant voices bring me gold
. . . . . . the way kings brought food
. . . . . . to an ant in olden times.


The Learned Pig


Evening. Northern Lights. Night

White horses run
White horses runover a blue field.
Light snow falls
Light snow fallsover the harsh winter.
From somewhere bells sound
From somewhere bells soundover a distant hill.
The shadow trembles.


Foxes run in the sky
Foxes run in the skyfire in their brushes.
Tails flash flittingly
Tails flash flittingly to the rhythm of the night.
At the window sits a girl
At the window sits a girlin a dark dress.
The music closes.


The Learned Pig


Animals sense what is coming

the animals suddenly became agitated
sheep bleated cows mooed chickens clucked
dogs started barking and howling
an hour later the earthquake struck
that was bulgaria in august 1986

on the outskirts the animals went quite mad
even in the city centre the dogs’ barking was ear-splitting
an hour later the massive bombing began
that was tallinn in march 1944

war is a natural phenomenon too
people are a part of nature too
will the dogs of bagdad basra and mosul
start howling this evening

in the early morning of 19 march 2003


Shortening the Candle's Wick

These three poems by Andres Ehin have been translated by Ilmar Lehtpere and extracted from Ly Seppel & Andres Ehin, Shortening the Candle’s Wick, published by Little Island Press.

Please click here for three poems by Ly Seppel, also extracted from Shortening the Candle’s Wick.


Part of The Learned Pig’s Wolf Crossing editorial season, spring/summer 2017.

Cover image: Gerhard Richter, Schädel mit Kerze (Skull with Candle), 1983


The Learned Pig


The Learned Pig

Launched in November 2013, The Learned Pig is an online arts magazine with a love for plants and animals. Our thinking has grown out of our engagement with landscape aesthetics and environmental ethics and these days we try to bring together multiple perspectives on bodies and places, interspecies interactions, and alternative conceptions of that which has rather too frequently been defined as “nature” or “the animal”.