Niillas Holmberg

poetry & music from the north

Upcoming events with the Sámi poet, musician, actor and activist Niillas Holmberg. 

The following poems are from The Way Back, published by FrancisBoutle Publishers in 2016.


We started going out in autumn
and even though my dog died
I was in love

two months later
was born a boy with head lice
Rimbaud, un poète maudit
with his haunting example
submerging himself in darkness
in order to see more clearly

you couldn't handle the smell of absinthe
and when a shotgun appeared in our bedroom
it was time to put aside his influence

I changed into an artisan of complacency
all desires I held inside
and what I exhaled was pure compassion
I judged attachment as a spring lake's ice

if love were a leaf and not a tree
one could swallow it whole
but instead I told you:
"The leaf of love does not exist"
and, oh, you hate Rimbaud

Indigenous Manifesto

What can I say
to you who tend gardens
making a flowerbed of my mouth
ready for the big sleep

what on earth

you poor children
so used to noise
you get nervy
at the sound of quiet breathing

stop throwing stones into water
don't bury me
I might have not blinked all day
but I'm not ready to be buried

stop throwing stones
for the water is me
when there is stillness I will show you
the flowers you have planted