Monday, 24 April 2017

Key poem in Frostenson's latest collection

The word’s formulae

I collect rows, I collect sticks, I collect leaves and words
I separate chaff, and sow

In the word language are lag and lug
This is cognisable. E n c o u n t e r  would be the word
Somewhat monotonous and contrary

To derive
etymology is no philosophy, but diverts, diversifies – is amusing

The paths of ants resemble the urge

To write is not to play but pretty close, a playful thought –
writing. Ergo
To turn on the spot, to swing around, stand on one’s head
one’s forehead earthwards

Stand in the word-lair. Teem on the earth

Root and sniff among words
Drive game out into the light!
Pull up and suckle the consonant root

Poem, as if the word is wrenched half-way. Broken mid-line
That’s not how it should sound. Take forward and
Take to you

Line, the longing to run alongside. Just be carried along
Resistance likewise. Articulate, unruly language

Latin –

Oh how I wish I knew Latin. The most physical of languages
The most tangible. Rods, bars, workings. A box of

Teach me to employ fewer words. Teach me to use the plough
teach me to deploy
the harrow I speak about

– It is a spike harrow, to be precise.
– Fine, we like to be precise. (words from an unknown film)

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Frostenson cites Gullberg

Voice grass

Voice grass

The night-given voice
raised you from your bed

the memory maybe of a Gullberg line
for feet astray the grass is singing

a host out there, the weave of dead ones’ voices
as soundless as the growth of grass

I’ll carpet you where’er you go


För vilsna fötter sjunger gräset - poem by Hjalmar Gullberg

För vilsna fötter sjunger gräset

För vilsna fötter sjunger gräset
Jag är din matta var du går
Räds ej att natten förestår!
För vilsna fötter sjunger gräset
Under mitt täcke sänks din bår
Räds ej att natten förestår!
För vilsna fötter sjunger gräset
Du går mot hemmet var du går.

For feet astray the grass is singing

For feet astray the grass is singing
I’ll carpet you where’er you go
Fear not the night as if your foe!
For feet astray the grass is singing
Your lowered bier shall rest below.
Fear not the night as if your foe!
For feet astray the grass is singing
You’re homeward bound where’er you go.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Another Frostenson poem: 'Mani / Linjer'


Line, the word exerts a pull
the thought of being drawn out to an end

the string wants to be tautened
nerves must be strung, they seek their ache
                                           whirring is the nerves’ song
we are on our way to ending, but – towards

the red strokes of the nerve atlas are so beautiful
many miles of you are within me
if you are unravelled
                                           become a bird formation

we want to burn up in air
we want to be lines
our urge is to be  c o n s u m e d

                                           symmetry would have soul’s breath
                                           symmetry will be my death

Despairing anguish, here you do not belong
in the long
                      grey, languishing thread
how does all become constraint

this mournful control I
have begun to exercise over my being
must be exorcised at all cost

be forced off the stage
is a gain, to be wholly unequalled

think in slightly holier and happier terms
to go to the utmost is a wonderful duty

to be delighted purely and simply by light
a rare commodity
                                           no the opposite

What is it that sounds of fingers
performing Bach
an infinity
so does it sound, and therefore so harrowing how it just ends
fades away
freezes in the line of Contrapunctus 14
                                                that’s how it was, everything stopped
in mid-breath   grasp the bed-frame
the room’s turned upside-down
                                           in the seconds when you
with my hands I grasp an arm
my tears flow and take grief with you
hear that which continues sound
within the body beyond all speech

                                                notes are the bones that sing

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Poem from Katarina Frostenson's 'Sånger och formler' (2015)

Song, turn

There is a season we sang
to everything
turn, turn, turn
there is a season
how true it was
we danced

like an ark rocks, a large bird of the puffin species
flapping, falling
heaving itself upward, onward, once more
heavy and glad

it was
The Byrds
that was then, and we didn’t realise it was Ecclesiastes’ words
of how to everything there is a season, now we know

and have almost forgotten those unbridled steps but
some of it still takes your heart
like the words and the notes Turn!
Turn! Turn!

in this time of sown despair
time disappearing
life running out
falls in the dance
                      yes say turn
thought takes place – that which happens

and then it was Dylan’s diction
which went through everything
which is half of it, or almost all
a voice’s reefs and rocks
how it sliced through
from some other place, and here
dug out tunnels and rooms, deep down and high
up among the clouds
                                           blowing in the wind

                                               at the world’s end

so drill voice, you can pass
through rock
you are a wave just like that

the song is a ghost
a double track from Solbacken, high above lake Helgasjön
spread out thy mighty wings lord*

while I was writing a flock of birds came and took everything on the slope
every single pallid unripe fruit, in a lightning invasion, and was gone
no matter, it will all
grow again
in due season, as the song always does

Starling with blue berry in beak

Katarina Frostenson

(* 'Bred dina vida vingar' - hymn written in 1860 by Linda Sandell)