Benny Andersen

The yellow honeysuckle

By Benny Andersen

It is blooming right now
the yellow honeysuckle
the little green caprifolium
we put in the ground last year
it’s blooming right now
damned inconvenient

That sight you had been looking forward to
scores of long
silent gold trumpets
fanfares for the eyes
but not for yours
because you had to travel away
for a time

So while you are away I stand there
early every morning and preach morals
to the young honeysuckle

Don’t get too carried away
don’t court your admirers too enthusiastically
don’t waste your entire youth
all at once so nothing is left
that day my love comes home

Several times every day
yes even late into the night
I have to go out as the stern father
chase away the bees and flies and moths
we know very well what happens
when naive flowers get pollinated
anesthetized, full and lazy
they throw off the rich colors of youth
retreat into themselves
and become boring

Endure a bit longer
my brave trumpets
have patience
my uncontrollable little ones
don’t cast yourselves innocently
before random passing acquaintances
wait until the right one comes
wait until my love comes home
you won’t regret it

That day my love comes home
I will pluck clean every bush
every tree every stem
of bees and beetles
of butterflies and daddy longlegs
of dragonflies and red admirals
of peacock butterflies and long-tailed skippers
maybe a single adonis blue
I will strip banks and thickets
of all types of erotic creepy-crawlies
and pepper you with worshippers

I foresee for you a huge joy
if you can just hold out that long
I proclaim a dizzying orgy
the time of your life
we shall lack for nothing
that day my love comes home.

By Benny Andersen ©1993 “Den gule kaprifolium”
Translated by Michael Goldman