Tuesday, 22 June 2010

A poem by the Swedish writer Lars Gustafsson

An early summer day at Björn Nilsson’s grave
(Midsummer 2005)

Väster Våla graveyard in the light of early summer
and with the kindly southwesterly wind over

Brusling’s meadows that must have been there
that mild morning in the sixties

when we invented the Monster in Bo Gryta.
The monster was a huge mole, and we needed it

to have something to write about in Expressen.
(It was one of those irritating weeks

when everything refused to happen,

world history hesitates or meditates
on what the next really lousy surprise

is to look like and no star had broken his leg.)

Bo Gryta is a deep-hole in the Åmänningen lake
To be found a few kilometres outside

the villages of Bodarne and Vretarne, on a line
between the former Boda harbour, where the wreck

of an ore smack that capsized and sank is said
to lie, though no one knows where, and Dentist’s Point.

How deep is this deep-hole? Nobody knows.
Many have tried with plummet and line.

And when the line came up, snipped
just as elegantly as with a razorblade

or the chain they tried instead,
the cut just as shiny and neat

from what can only be
extremely large teeth, the attempts

were abandoned. Christopher Middleton
described them in his poem ‘The Mole’.

This really had an effect:
for a couple of summers latter a busload

of Englishmen, eccentrics and experts
came for the monsters of the deep. They sounded

and took notes. Per Brusling offered them coffee,
now an old man who knows quite a lot about the lake.

The summer wind passes over Björn Nilsson’s grave.
And I’m afraid I am the only one left who knows

how it really happened.

The expedition returned
deeply convinced that this giant mole

not only gigantic and malevolent,

is also sly, extremely sly,
and knows how to hide in murky depths

whenever anyone comes there
in search of it.

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