Then and now by Michael Favala Goldman

Michael Favala Goldman is a widely-published translator of Danish literature and a jazz clarinetist. He leads poetry workshops at the Northampton Center for the Arts and is a member of Straw Dogs program committee. His new book of poetry is Who has time for this?

Then and now
Jørgen Stein by Jacob Paludan, 1945

On the recommendation
of my wife’s uncle
I am reading one of the three
great coming-of-age novels
of Danish literature

and when I get to page 401
the young man’s sweetheart
catches the Spanish Flu
and dies the next day.

Meanwhile the President
in his briefing says cases soon
will drop to zero
or close to it.

And now I’m on page 621
nearing the end
thousands of people are dying
every day. I’m housebound
with fear and necessity.

Jørgen is still grieving.
I’ve only just started.