Søndre Senniens Budstikke


av Inger Mont


Years ago on the New York subway

I saw a woman counting beads on a string

eyes closed, lips moving, face serene

she'd found a seat on a bench

amidst the clamor and noise

metal screech against metal

doors opening, doors closing against pressure

despite pressure of human arms, bodies

body heat

her fingers moving from bead to bead

lips moving, peace in her face

and me, inside a knot of bodies

pressed much too close

faces breathing garlic

bodies smelling sweat, and worse

skin against skin

moving in unison, against my will

-one body of bodies -

moving with jerks and starts of a train in motion

miserable humainity contemplating low horizons

one, two, ten - subwas stops

my own mind escaping to Hofsöyfjellet

to clean and pure air

to diamond sparks on white snow

to high and exalted horizons

by chance I saw her again

an yet again

narrowly squeezed on a seat

counting her beads

lips moving, eyes closed

face serene and filled with peace

later someone told me

the woman was not counting beads

she was saying her Rosaries


oh pity, pity you, woman

endlessly repeating someone else's prayers

let me take you with me to my place

to Hofsöyfjellet

where exalted you can almost, yes almost

glimpse the image of the God face

where it is right and fitting that without intervention

in silent majesty and grandeur

He steps down to touch your soul

nowadays I travel

seeking a face in every crowd

searching for a woman counting beads

hoping she can teach me devotion

teach me a way to commune with her God

who steps down from the mountain

and travels with fierce smelling people

on crowded trains