Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Poem from the collection of the same name, Ormens tid (1992) by the Swedish poet Lennart Sjögren

The age of the snake

Sloughed our skin like the snake
and thereby survived one more year
but the art of sloughing is worse for us
than the snake.

Human skin does not slip off so easily
nor are there any deep heaps of boulders
where even the harshest of winters
can be lived through.

We must protect our lives a different way
when the heat is fierce
and apart from the outer wars
the real mutilation also
takes place within us
wherever we creep
we find fires and fires that have charcoaled.

To turn a deaf ear
and give oneself up to a coarsened cornea
that provides a certain legitimate blindness
only helps intermittently.

We call then on the snake
but the snake’s sleep has already begun.

There are other Sjögren poems on the blog, about a calf, pike, fox, crow. As well as a famous cycle of poems about bird-hunters, at a link from the poem about the fox.

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