Thursday, 12 January 2012

Poem by the Swedish poet
Artur Lundkvist

The magpie

my gusty temperament’s bird,
flies whirling like a helicopter,
a ball of wings in the wind.
The magpie, merry widow, laughing
despite her unprovided for young, laughing
at thefts she’s committed and thefts she is planning.
The birch tree’s own black-and-white bird,
at home even in trees that stand black in snow.

Basketless picker of autumn’s rowanberries,
with breast steel-shimmering as a frost-clear winter sky.
Farms though she loves even more than the forest,
flies through chimney smoke reeking of fried bacon,
picks up a safety pin thrown out with the baby’s
sits on the wooden pump listening to the separator in
the kitchen.

The magpie, cunning lass with wagging tail,
never completely young and inexperienced,
more like a gipsy girl with a silver coin in her ear,
easily seduced in late-winter’s last hay
when her feet are cold from the rain.
Though never a surly old crone like the crow
or hoarse like the raven, the roving horsedealer,
with a knife inside his coat and chewing his backy.
No, most akin to the poor vicarage miss
that dances on the ice
in spite of her tattered gloves.
The magpie with bundle of twigs and squeaky milk churn,
clad in blown-away egg-white, dipped in tar from the drainpipes,
where she whets her beak against the grindstone
and laughingly mocks young boys that climb

To see the original, go to here.

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