The Battle of Poltava (1709), in which the Russian forces
of Peter the Great overcame the Swedish army
Snowed-up window and loneliness
are my circumstances, ten years after Poltava.
The Siberian light is hardly sufficient
for mending the tear in my uniform.
It is the word ‘home’ that makes the needle quaver.
Hedvig and the children have grown so transparent
and the farm so pale I can only just remember.
To ease my pain I think in grey –
the timbers in the house that shake in the wind,
the hostile sky,
yes, even the language is consolingly grey.
The only thing that still reminds me of colour
is the washed-out blue of my coat at the knee,
the pale-blue of the sky
above my distant Södermanland.