Thursday, 3 April 2014

An early Lars Gustafsson

The balloonists

See the tall man in the top-hat there.
He leans out with a gaze fixed westwards.
It’s early morning, and the light reverberates.

The town with its clocks waits in the distance
the church spires cast blue shadows aimlessly.
It is completely silent, pre-departure.

Close to, the balloon is huge, like some giant pumpkin
that gleams and grows, it has many colours.
The hum of those who watch: a swarm of bumblebees,

they call out, wave to the voyagers in the basket,
who feign indifference, will not let on their destination.
They’re motionless themselves and ready for their trip.

The man in the top-hat has still not ceased to gaze
and lifts a telescope of gleaming brass
as if he searched for clouds or something that’s invisible.

When they ascend they will diminish to a point
until they reach the highers layers of air and snow,
the whitest snow that chills and blinds

will fill the air they breathe, will touch their foreheads.
In autumn it can be seen to fall as frost
the breath of upper air that gropes across the fields,

and you one autumn when the frost falls early
will suddenly recall them and their trip,
and how they still are climbing, dizzily yet higher

through a thinner air than that of winters
with a note like that of splintering glass
from forest depths of brittle rain

and how they rise yet higher through the years
until the very memory sings like slivvered glass.
– and is unbearable, forget me, rather something else!

A pleasure trip, a connoisseurs’ adventure!
A gentleman, light morning-coat and bright-blue waistcoat,
that slowly makes a glove-embellished gesture.

It is free, already it begins to rise,
the cheering imperceptibly sinks down.

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