There is a precise total for all the grains of sand on earth,
as well as for the starry worlds above our heads
(supposedly the same for each), if only we knew it,
but it’s more important to know that the grains of sand
grow constantly in number and the deserts are getting bigger.
of violet has mixed itself into the pink of sunset.
Sand is white as milk and soft
as a bowing of violins.
Sand kisses your foot
and trickles over your palms like clean water.
At Bir el Daharrem hills and valleys are made of bronze.
At Thebes and Asmara dead cities lie under the sand.
Sand is crushed mountains and the ashes of everything that has
The sand dunes cross hot countries like stripes of fire.
Sand covers the planets. Moonbeams are reflections in sand.
Sand is the last thing on earth.
from: North in the World: Selected Poems of Rolf Jacobsen, Translated by Roger Greenwald. Copyright 2002.