When Viggo read out loud

ART: The actor Viggo Mortensen was nearly appreciated
for his poems

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By: Karsten ,. Nielsen
Photo: Kim Rune

Translation by: Maria Hagbjärn Ringer Spy: Saga

ODENSE: They’re at the door. Dressed in yellow. “Control” is says on their shirts, like it was a logo from an expensive clothing line. Five harsh looking men are to keep the women away. Nothing is left unnoticed when a star comes to town. Not even when it’s the third day he’s there- nor when the occasion is something as harmless as poetry.


Slowly the big crowd of press people and women of all ages are let in to Magasinet – in to Viggo, who everybody calls the world-famous star from the Lord of the Rings films, Viggo Mortensen. But one is kept standing and waiting. It’s Connie Albrechtsen. Next to two tables by the stairs she’s standing handing out notes.

– It’s in case people want autographs. Then they get a piece of paper to write their names on. It’s easier for Viggo if the name is already written, so he can spell it correctly, she says. And only two autographs each. There’s no time for any more.

Cameras, no thank you Inside the room they are waiting. On 400 chairs are women chatting like only women do. Excited, with their fingers on their cameras. In just a moment he’ll be there, the prince on the white horse. Aragorn, as he’s called in the films. Or Viggo, as everyone here calls him. The doors are closing and the excitement rises. Viggo is coming. But first a message.

– I’m asking you not to take ant photos whilst Viggo reading his poems, says Lis from Magasinet and gets startled by all the flashing cameras, when the curtains are pulled. Viggo, the prince, knows exactly what to do. He picks a flower from the flowerpot with pink roses and timidly hands in to Lis.

In three languages – and singing And so there he is. Viggo. Reading his poems. He’s barefoot, cause as a nature child he could never dream of trapping his feet inside evil shoes. His hair is messy and he hardly ever looks up. Just like the misunderstood artist he is. In Danish he tries to read the poems, that he once wrote. But then they were in English. And now they’re translated into Danish and much more difficult. He often stops, and tries again. But the message gets through. Clear as sunshine.

– I wrote this poem the first time USA attacked Iraq, he says about the poem Letters from Nebraska, before he nervously stutters the words. Later on the language changes. First to English. Then Spanish. All alone he sings something about the silence, the flowers and the evenings. In Spanish. But the women understand him. They applaud him afterwards. In audience And suddenly it’s over. There won’t be any more poems that evening. But there will be many autographs.

– If you all will get in line and get up here one by one, I’ll write on a paper, a book or wherever now you want it, Viggo lures. And the women are lured. Waving their papers they line up in the heat and watch Viggo, the prince from the Lord of the Rings. And everybody gets what they came for. Two autographs for everyone. At least.

– We won’t stop until everyone has got an autograph, says a security guard. No, nothing is spared when a world-famous star comes to town.

Translation by: Maria Hagbjärn Ringer Spy: Saga

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