Sunday 27 November 2011

An early poem by the Swedish writer Gustaf Fröding

Guitar and accordion

Two neighbours reside in my dwelling
– the one sentimental in vein,
– with loud voice I hear him declaiming
of sorrow and life’s pain.

At times he is gloomy and bitter,
and melancholic, bizarre,
at times soulful, quite elegiac,
and sings at times to his guitar.

The other is sprightly and cheerful,
bucolic and coarsely burlesque.
For him are all sorrows and troubles
distortions, mere fancy, grotesque.

He broods not at all – for life is
a joke he just chortles on,
and whistles and sings while playing
his old accordion.

– You soon tire of hearing such antics
– and yet I’ve grown used to the pair;
the one quite resembles my present;
the other my past laid bare.

And sometimes, when sadness oppresses
and days to me seem too long,
I write down in music notation
small snatches of both their songs.

And should people say that the music’s
melodically poorly turned,
and isn’t quite all that it should be
where harmony’s concerned,

it comes from the fact that guitar song
and accordion song can quite
often both strike up at the same time
and come from left and right.

To see the original poem, go to here

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