You shall be True….

…But not to any man
who in cold greed
clings to your hands.
Not to any ideal
flashing in big letters
but not touching your heart.
Not to any commandment
making you a stranger
in your own body.
Not to any dream
you haven’t dreamt yourself…
When were you true?
Were you true
when you knelt in the shadow
of other people’s false gods?
Were you true
when your actions stifled
the sound of your own heartbeat?
Were you true
when you did not decieve
the one you did not love?
Were you true
when your cowardice put on a disguise
and called itself conscience?
But when whatever touched you
made a tune.
When your pulse
gave rhythm to your movement.
When you were one with
what sparkled inside of you.
Then – you were true.
André Bjerke (1918-1985) was a Norwegian writer, poet and debater. His debut came in 1940 with a collection of poems called “Syngende Jord” (Singing Earth). He has written a wide range of material for children and adults, as well as mystery novels (four of them under the pseudonym Bernhard Borge), essays and articles. He also translated works by Shakespeare, Molière, Goethe and Racine into elegant Norwegian. 
A central theme in Bjerke’s works, especially in his poems, is the longing for childhood. André Bjerke was, together with his equally famous cousin Jens Bjørneboe, also known as a prominent proponent of the Riksmål language during the Norwegian language struggle, and of anthroposophy, especially in the 1950s. His mystery novels, among the best of the genre in Norwegian, are influenced by his interest in psychoanalysis. His first mystery novel, Nattmennesket (“Night person”) was published in 1941. In this novel he introduced his completely different “detective” the psycho analyst Kai Bugge who claims that a psychologist is more able to solve a real crime than a police officer. After a particularly hideous murder, Bugge and his friend, police officer Hammer, joins forces to solve the impossible mystery. Where Hammer looks for material clues and interviews the suspects about things like motive and alibis, Bugge makes an analytical approach and claims after only a third of the book that he has solved the mystery. The murderer has indirectly confessed to the crime. Nattmennesket was followed by his masterpiece De dødes tjern (“Lake of the Dead”) in 1942. It was by the Norwegian radio programme “Nitimen” considered the second best Norwegian mystery novel of all times in 2004, only beaten by Norwegian mystery writer Jo Nesbø’s “Rødstrupe” (2000). “Lake of the Dead” was made into a film in 1958, directed by Kåre Bergstrøm. Bjerke himself starred in the film. In 1963 André Bjerke published “Enhjørningen” (“The unicorn”) under his own name. Enhjørningen consists of three novellas and a short story bound together by the challenge between psychology and the unicorn – representing the supernatural forces in existence. 
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