Monday, 2 January 2012

A poem from the 40 'broken sonnets' by the Swedish writer Erik Lindegren


far out on the ocean rocks Medusa’s head
with worms now grey and a crow’s-nest of eternal grief

we recall what we recognise our brothers’ blood
their winding sheet of women’s burning tears

their eyes forever lost in the begging hand of death
we recognise what we know and we wait

wait for liberation’s wingbeat above our heads
for the end of degradation and our own life –

oh whirlwind of hate that lacerates our breast
run through us with life when we have to bleed

lift us like a trophy in your flight towards the sun
carve us a blood-eagle with the spear of twilight

for deep in our breast resides Medusa’s head
with worms now grey and tears of stone-turned grief

This sonnet, according to Lindegren, describes 'Sweden's situation Whitsun 1940', and it draws on both the Medusa of antiquity and the famous painting 'The Raft of the Medusa' by  Théodore Géricault. The poem is from the collection 'mannen utan väg' (the pathless man), which I am at present translating into English. The entire original collection can be found here.

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