Saturday, 6 August 2016

A late, lovely poem by Lars Gustafsson

Ramnäs railway community seen from the north

Nobody knows what year it is
Perhaps it is a year that has never existed
The road through the railway community
from north to south comprises the following:
Uno Hedlund’s Cycle Repairs
where you can also borrow the phone
The post office with the unhappy lady who
naturally does not cautiously steam open
the station master’s love letters
and read them with mild melancholy eyes
The district medical officer reserved and mulling
over the enigmas of the medieval plagues
in his white palace up there on the hill
The Coop where the yellow buses turn
and where you can even buy kerosene
important for philosophical studies
That is why Fichte and Hegel still
have a faint smell of lamp-kerosene about them
The railway station with Clark Gable as a guard
(‘in this job, let me tell you,
you stand – all the time – with one leg in prison)
And the wonderful telegraph of brass:
Trains out
The chemist’s burned down later
the lady there was surly. To turn up there
needing something was an insult
she never forgave. Actually.
After which a bridge over Kilbäcken
a bridge that didn’t mean much
Salholm’s Grocery, the private alternative,
where the ham in the cupboard was always green
and the cheeses sweated like the peat-diggers
who dug on the bog out to the east
In Grocer Salholm’s dense, luxuriant beard
there was always, while he served
the actually rather rare customers,
a lit cigarillo with the brand-name Tärnan
And yet he never caught fire
Here ends Ramnäs railway community
We’ll tell you about the Church Village some other time.

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