Thursday 27 April 2017

'In this town' - poem from 'The Refrain of Other People's Lives' by Arnold Jansen op de Haar

in this town

my books have
remained in exile
a cardboard sarcophagus of data
signed on the inside cover

full of smoke and in storage
the colours faded as those of
badly clad fellow countrymen overseas

like pastry from the right shops
like sunday lunch mother wine
like meeting her in
the middle of town
in unexpected places
like a homeless person who waits for her
on sundays after church

like the mist above the river
or fireworks   clouds
yes evening light

like phoning that you’re safely home
the silence of the city at night

like guts gurgling with bacillophobia
after visits to restaurants

like an aunt laden
with cheap jewellery
put her on four wheels
and simply drive off

like wild leftish nieces
turned bourgeois
who you were secretly in love with
and their absconded husbands

like talking about who
were there before you

like the visiting of the dead
on the anniversaries of their death and
at easter yellow ribbons
on their graves

like the first meeting
with the blond and grey lady
like the searching for a
dog gone astray

like smoking together
in the water meadows
or drawing animals on a
bare back with your salty fingers

or still knowing everything
about all the photos
and continuing to pass it on
to yourself

till you’re just the only one
till someone opens the boxes

Monday 24 April 2017

Key poem in Frostenson's latest collection

The word’s formulae

I collect rows, I collect sticks, I collect leaves and words
I separate chaff, and sow

In the word language are lag and lug
This is cognisable. E n c o u n t e r  would be the word
Somewhat monotonous and contrary

To derive
etymology is no philosophy, but diverts, diversifies – is amusing

The paths of ants resemble the urge

To write is not to play but pretty close, a playful thought –
writing. Ergo
To turn on the spot, to swing around, stand on one’s head
one’s forehead earthwards

Stand in the word-lair. Teem on the earth

Root and sniff among words
Drive game out into the light!
Pull up and suckle the consonant root

Poem, as if the word is wrenched half-way. Broken mid-line
That’s not how it should sound. Take forward and
Take to you

Line, the longing to run alongside. Just be carried along
Resistance likewise. Articulate, unruly language

Latin –

Oh how I wish I knew Latin. The most physical of languages
The most tangible. Rods, bars, workings. A box of

Teach me to employ fewer words. Teach me to use the plough
teach me to deploy
the harrow I speak about

– It is a spike harrow, to be precise.
– Fine, we like to be precise. (words from an unknown film)

Sunday 23 April 2017

Frostenson cites Gullberg

Voice grass

Voice grass

The night-given voice
raised you from your bed

the memory maybe of a Gullberg line
for feet astray the grass is singing

a host out there, the weave of dead ones’ voices
as soundless as the growth of grass

I’ll carpet you where’er you go


För vilsna fötter sjunger gräset - poem by Hjalmar Gullberg

För vilsna fötter sjunger gräset

För vilsna fötter sjunger gräset
Jag är din matta var du går
Räds ej att natten förestår!
För vilsna fötter sjunger gräset
Under mitt täcke sänks din bår
Räds ej att natten förestår!
För vilsna fötter sjunger gräset
Du går mot hemmet var du går.

For feet astray the grass is singing

For feet astray the grass is singing
I’ll carpet you where’er you go
Fear not the night as if your foe!
For feet astray the grass is singing
Your lowered bier shall rest below.
Fear not the night as if your foe!
For feet astray the grass is singing
You’re homeward bound where’er you go.

Saturday 22 April 2017

Another Frostenson poem: 'Mani / Linjer'


Line, the word exerts a pull
the thought of being drawn out to an end

the string wants to be tautened
nerves must be strung, they seek their ache
                                           whirring is the nerves’ song
we are on our way to ending, but – towards

the red strokes of the nerve atlas are so beautiful
many miles of you are within me
if you are unravelled
                                           become a bird formation

we want to burn up in air
we want to be lines
our urge is to be  c o n s u m e d

                                           symmetry would have soul’s breath
                                           symmetry will be my death

Despairing anguish, here you do not belong
in the long
                      grey, languishing thread
how does all become constraint

this mournful control I
have begun to exercise over my being
must be exorcised at all cost

be forced off the stage
is a gain, to be wholly unequalled

think in slightly holier and happier terms
to go to the utmost is a wonderful duty

to be delighted purely and simply by light
a rare commodity
                                           no the opposite

What is it that sounds of fingers
performing Bach
an infinity
so does it sound, and therefore so harrowing how it just ends
fades away
freezes in the line of Contrapunctus 14
                                                that’s how it was, everything stopped
in mid-breath   grasp the bed-frame
the room’s turned upside-down
                                           in the seconds when you
with my hands I grasp an arm
my tears flow and take grief with you
hear that which continues sound
within the body beyond all speech

                                                notes are the bones that sing