Monday, 13 February 2012

Another famous poem by the Swedish poet Nils Ferlin

When beauty arrived in town

When beauty arrived in town it found cleverness there
then thorns and sheer spite did blight all endeavour.
Then they with their thousand guns aimed and shot straight at her,
for all of them were now ever so clever.
Then none felt at all like dancing or gladness and song,
or something that might perhaps smack of danger.
When beauty arrived in town – if she did come along,
they neither would laugh or cry at this stranger.

Ah, cleverness is an old man so shrewd and so wise
that roses and columbines freeze and perish.
When town-folk had learnt his ABC book, from their eyes
the gleam disappeared that they’d sought to cherish.
With spades did they toil and dig in the soil and the field,
though nothing but zeal did zeal then empower.
They counted their sheaves for counting’s sake – not for the yield,
and hated just for a laugh or a flower.

At some point it will be summer, the songs have descried,
one day over every land space will tower.
A great deal will then be crushed that has shone far and wide.
but mind-raising is humanity’s dower.
Now there they weave webs so small and of grey clinging thread,
and pay for their barns and shelves all on credit.
At some point it will be summer, the songs have foresaid,
though songs are frail sybils time may subedit.

As so often, the recording by Sven-Bertil Taube is the one to go for.

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