Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Another Aspenström


Snöbrev

Det är sant att slätten är smärtsamt fri
och att konungen är sträng i sin tystnad.
Ge mig ett berg och ett eko säger rösten
om en mild horisont ber ögonen ofta.
Din oro syster är ändå för stor:
fågeltorn kan resa sig på dessa fält
och vita duvor korsa nattens dimma
minnen bygga sina grottor drömmar
tända sina lyktor.

Det är rätt det du frågar om vinden.
Ofta lockades vi ut av misstag
någon hörde steg någon röster.
Alltid var det samma skärande vind
som blandade snö med snö.
Dagen kan därför bli lång men de som väntar
har alltid sin väntan tillsammans
de vakna delar sin vakenhet de sovande
har stämt möte i sin sömn.

Det finns naturligtvis värme mellan oss
fastän vi har blivit snömänniskor
en lägereld som vi sträcker händerna mot
om den också inte brinner med lågor.
De som länge levat under valv av frost
kan plötsligt lyftas liksom av en våg
kan genomströmmas av en okänd kärlek
en oerhörd koral som blodets tunna orgelpipor
aldrig lät dem höra.

Ett brev skriver jag till dig
syster på en blå veranda
en hälsning att jag tänker stanna
att jag kanske aldrig återvänder.
Jag har druckit ett vin av snö
jag älskar en kvinna av snö.
Av snö är ryttaren och hästen
som nu bär brevet till din dörr.


Snow-letter

It’s true that the plain is painfully free
and that the king’s severe in his silence.
Give me a mountain and an echo the voice says
a mild horizon eyes will often beg for.
Your worry sister is still too great
Bird-watching towers can rise up on these fields
and white doves cross the nocturnal mist
memories build their caverns dreams
light their lamps.

What you ask about the wind is correct.
We were often lured out by mistake
someone heard steps someone voices.
It was always the same biting wind
that mingled snow with snow.
So the day can be long but those waiting
will always be waiting together
those awake share their wakefulness those asleep
have arranged to meet up in their sleep.

There is naturally warmth between us
although we’re now figures of snow
a campfire we stretch out our hands to
even if it doesn’t burn with flames.
Those who’ve lived long beneath vaults of frost
can suddenly be lifted as if by a wave
be pervaded by an unknown love
an immense chorale that the blood’s thin organ pipes
never let them hear.

I am writing a letter to you
sister on a blue verandah
a greeting that I will stay
that perhaps I will never return.
I have drunk a wine of snow
I love a woman of snow.
Of snow are the rider and the horse
now carrying the letter to your door.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

A poem by Werner Aspenström

Tidvis

Jag misstror det jämlika.
Jämlika styrkor förebådar krig.

Jag misstror det oböjliga.
Ingens uppgivelse är bådas död.

Så mycken stolthet bor i världen
och herradömen utav snö och stelnat blod.

Ingen kan ensam vakta sin levnad.
Någon måste kunna stiga, någon sjunka,

tidvis vara eld och tidvis glömska,
i oupphörlig växling och förbidan.

I natt skall min kärlek bära oss båda.
I morgon skall din kärlek bära oss båda.


At times

I distrust what is balanced.
Balanced forces are harbingers of war.

I distrust what’s unbending.
No one’s waived claim’s the death of both.

There’s so much pride lives in the world
and mastery of snow and blood that’s set.

No one can guard his life alone.
Someone must be capable of rising, someone sinking,

at times of being fire, at times oblivion,
in endless alternation and expectation.

Tonight my love shall bear us both.
Tomorrow your love shall bear us both.

Monday, 28 April 2014

'The Conditions' - Lars Gustafsson


The conditions

There were two yellow houses that obscured the view.
Behind though glimpses of a road, green hillside,

distance, stillness so far that the air stood quivering.
And suddenly there were some persons there, in red jerseys.

It passed so quickly that they were forgotten,
returned though as a fragment from a contest

with end and start both hidden just as hopelessly from view.

Cyclists in an unclear section of the race, devoid of context,
so that the first could be the last or vice versa.

Only existing as long as not concealed from view.

Then there was a train that passed, with all its windows open
throughout the summer: a stronger memory, stronger time.

What an open landscape, roads, waving hands!

And when I looked up from my book the windows were all dark,
with curtains fluttering inwards from a voiceless gust of wind.

I looked and I looked. It could have lasted an eternity.
And understood that of such stuff all days are made.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A Klaus Høeck to start the day


ode to the third day

and then god said: let
the earth put forth green shoots and
it came to pass and

god then mixed himself
a whacking great portion of
waldorf salad with the

all the trimmings the
whole caboodle lots of cel
ery and of whipped

cream the first portion
in the world and god tasted 
it and it was good

Monday, 14 April 2014

Sonnet time again - one from Lars Gustafsson


Sonnet XXVII

To one below the surface of the ice
the ice itself looks as if something white
and openings and wind wells where still quite
open water moves, look, if there’s a slice

of daylight left, as if expanses fraught
with darkness. And only he who knows aright
an exit lies in what is dark, that white
means darkness (that ice can so distort

conditions as they’re pictured by the eye)
and who, against his instinct, swims away
from light towards the dark sees day again.

There is, once a small habit stirs, or by
a word that changes meaning, a chance, though stray,
of someone getting out. That he sees day again.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

This one surprised me - one more from Lars Gustafsson


When did people’s mouths get wet?

The small boy asks: Lars,
when did people’s mouths get wet?

What? Well I think
they were wet from the start.

They’re certainly wet in the womb.
There it’s always wet anyway.

Certain things make them wetter,
that’s for sure.

Yes, people’s mouths have always been wet.

Being wet comes to an end.
But there’s no particular day it starts.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

A bumblebee poem by Lars Gustafsson

Bombus terrestris

When the air lies still, so too lie the lakes,
the great bright lakes, like quicksilver.

Sleeping dogs’ breathing grows ever more rapid.
The deepest sounds of all are felt as tremblings.

And held hidden in large organ pipes,
sixteen-footers and more, till it’s time.

But out of small holes in the ground sound emerges.

When air pressure falls, sounds of far trains get smothered,
they soundlessly change and move from track to track.

A flyer who lives in the depths of the forest
has folded its wings, is asleep in the rain.

It is not at the start and not at the end.
It is mainland, vast tracts that are far

within maps and deep within time,
a protective forest of years on all sides,

and the larks soar up like a jubilant cloud,
but always some will fall dead, and be gone.

Far too warm to freeze, far too cold
to reside, so far within the world

A backhanded winter, seasons inverted, a year that’s reversed.
When the air lies still, so too lie the lakes.

But at the lowest height, a hand’s breadth above the ground
the temperature changes distinctly: two degrees warmer

and some stifled brown sounds.
All natural science is a question of warmth

and obscuring low clouds.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

An early Lars Gustafsson

The balloonists

See the tall man in the top-hat there.
He leans out with a gaze fixed westwards.
It’s early morning, and the light reverberates.

The town with its clocks waits in the distance
the church spires cast blue shadows aimlessly.
It is completely silent, pre-departure.

Close to, the balloon is huge, like some giant pumpkin
that gleams and grows, it has many colours.
The hum of those who watch: a swarm of bumblebees,

they call out, wave to the voyagers in the basket,
who feign indifference, will not let on their destination.
They’re motionless themselves and ready for their trip.

The man in the top-hat has still not ceased to gaze
and lifts a telescope of gleaming brass
as if he searched for clouds or something that’s invisible.

When they ascend they will diminish to a point
until they reach the highers layers of air and snow,
the whitest snow that chills and blinds

will fill the air they breathe, will touch their foreheads.
In autumn it can be seen to fall as frost
the breath of upper air that gropes across the fields,

and you one autumn when the frost falls early
will suddenly recall them and their trip,
and how they still are climbing, dizzily yet higher

through a thinner air than that of winters
with a note like that of splintering glass
from forest depths of brittle rain

and how they rise yet higher through the years
until the very memory sings like slivvered glass.
– and is unbearable, forget me, rather something else!

A pleasure trip, a connoisseurs’ adventure!
A gentleman, light morning-coat and bright-blue waistcoat,
that slowly makes a glove-embellished gesture.

It is free, already it begins to rise,
the cheering imperceptibly sinks down.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

What did Andersen actually write? A new draft translation of 'The Princess and the Pea'

The princess and the pea

There was once a prince – he wanted a princess for himself, but she had to be a real princess. So he travelled all over the world to try and find one, but everywhere there was something wrong – there were plenty of princesses, but he couldn’t quite make out if they were real princesses or not; there was always something that wasn’t quite right. So he went back home, but he felt so miserable because he wanted so much to have a real princess.
One evening a terrible storm blew up, thunder rolled and lightning flashed. The rain came pouring down – it was really dreadful! Then there came a knock at the city gate, and the old king went to open it.
A princess was standing outside. But good gracious me, what a state she was in from the rain and the awful weather! The water streamed down from her hair and her clothes, ran in at the toes of her shoes and out at the heels – and what’s more she said she was a real princess.
‘We’ll soon find out about that!’ the old queen thought to herself, but she didn’t say anything, just went into the bedroom, took off all the bedclothes and placed a pea at the bottom of the bed, then took twenty mattresses, placed them on top of the pea, and a further twenty eiderdowns on top of the mattresses.
It was there the princess was to sleep for the night.
In the morning, they asked her how she had slept.
‘Oh, simply awfully!’ the princess replied. ‘I’ve hardly slept a wink all night! Goodness only knows what there must have been in the bed. I’ve been lying on something hard and am absolutely black and blue all over! It’s simply awful!’
Then they could see that she was a real princess, for she had noticed the pea through the twenty mattresses and the twenty eiderdowns. Nobody could be that tender-skinned unless she was a real princess.
So the prince made her his wife, for now he knew that he had a real princess, and the pea ended up in the cabinet of curiosities, where it can still be seen – providing no one has taken it.
Now, that was a real story!