Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Another Lars Gustafsson poem on the nature of reality

Carl Fredrik Hill visits Lake Buchanan

‘The new school,’ Carl Fredrik Hill writes
in a letter, from Montigny to Lund, in June 1876,

‘involves carrying out one part only of the picture
and blurring all the rest.’ Now it is June 1989,

and today nature is painting precisely so,
it too a stubborn master soon to be confused.

A lone pelican goes at the water’s edge beneath a
tropical-grey sky. So heavily its wings beat!

This mournful inland lake has now put on its
July colour – a molten silver in a silver mist.

Alchemy. In the hermetic vessel now and for so long
the elements’ transformations are taking place.

Yes, silver over the hot dead calm.
To swim round the boat is like swimming in tea-water.

It is not anchored. It is far too still.
No anchor line would be sufficient anyway.

It’s several hundred metres here. We too,
the swimmers, are birds. And do not notice it.

Far off the sound of a speeding boat.
Moving in another direction. In silver. Believe me

there are places, in both geography and dreams,
that could not be painted in any other way.

So does form emerge out of the formless,
and the formless out of form.

Maestro Hill! How much you knew after all!
And how self-evident wasn’t it

that you afterwards had to consign it to oblivion!
Let it fall deep into the waters of forgetfulness.

The coin that seesaws down into the depths and is gone.
‘The score or so pictures which he did himself

that were in the room he apparently never paid
the slightest attention to afterwards.’

(to Dr Birgit Rausing)

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