The King of Shoemakers -part 5

by Sigbjørn Skåden

The King of Shoemakers -part 5

Est-il rien sur la terre

qui soit plus surprenant

que la grande misère

du paure Juif-Errant!

Every hallowed book’s name am I,

the king of shoemakers,

have you seen me?

I traverse the squares of your townships,

the roads of your hamlets,

the murky rivers of your ornamentations:





I fashion shoes for all

to spin my tiny world;

without my shoes I were not Jusup,

busy fingers sewing mindrecessed ornaments,

propulsively walking through history in a king’s shiny clothes,

have you seen me?

my shoes wallop


as I traverse the land:

da datta dayadhvam

shantih, shantih, shantih!

do duty duefully

satan, satan, satan!


Lay your hands to the ground,

let tears bleed from your heart;

la traversée augmentre,

Jusup ties his shoes:

hamlet’s laddie,

echo marker,

notion donor,

kinship wringer,

sheep farm henchman,

entrails’ eater,

ocean trawler,

rattle maker,

sorry crawler,

anger stoker,

itsy bitsy farmstead clinger,

king and country’s dirty flinger,

broken runner,

giant killer,

teardropped mugfaced deadly ringer;

I put on my somehow scented uniform,

the sinew binder

ties his feet to the stares from the kinship wall

and lets the soil twine

the sea rim’s human entrails.

Le dernier jugement

finira ton tourment.


I was born twenty-three years ago,

a sturdy child with a robust heart.

Mother used to hold me in her lap

blowing sweet words into my ears,

my first memory

are November drawings

the day I learnt how to ski,

I am the warrior prince of the wicker thickets

and the wild oat of the stony rubble.

I was born a kinsman,

my heart made from the scent of meadows freshly mowed,

of sandy school roads and of stories whispered over kitchen tables,

I am a fisher lad and a farmstead worker,

and when I set my feet upon the deck

of the northbound boat

I became

a fugitive

and a home comer

in the same guise. 

Sigbjørn Skåden