Friday, 30 May 2014

Getting ready for June - a June poem by Lars Gustafsson

Sörby elegy

Wild chervil and camomile surge against the
slag foundations of foundries that once were there.

The swallows weave an invisible web, and inside,
in a paler light and with the scent of ageing wood,

here the summer grows still. Mild and patient,
as if only with difficulty they recall their places,

things from vanishing years hang and stand.
A fyke with an ring of silvery juniper that has

not caught a pike since the end of World War I.
A pike spoon made by Bricklayer Ramsberg,

a quiet man who had lost a thumb.
A small boat that was once owned by a child

put together of far too coarse blocks.
A peeling garden table that was owned

by a grandma who lived to be a hundred.
And the shadow beneath her raspberry bushes

passes for a moment, like a cloud,
a very small cloud in some other sky.

The grandfather’s hammer with its shiny haft.
Huge shears from a sheet-metal workshop in Nibble.

I am probably the last person who can remember
where they came from, from Platelayer Claeson in Nibble,

and after me they are free, as free as an arrow-head
that someone finds amongst the gravel of a river bed.

We give back, but only hesitatingly and meagrely.
How absent-minded and mild things become

when they are once more let loose, finally,
and gain their long summer vocation, from the human

domain, from intentions and actions and words.
How are they to recall their places in tables and drawers?

In song of bumblebees and smell of tar, in the darkness of
the shed it hangs, lies and stands: so many an abandoned thing

from some other year. And the June wind veers.

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