Monday 3 September 2018

Lars Gustafsson: 'Diskussioner' in English translation


Earlier textbooks on acoustics
suggest carrying out odd experiments:

Seek out an absolutely symmetrical garden
bordered on all sides by a wall
(at right angles)
seek out the farthest corner
and fire a pistol shot.

At a certain point the sound is inaudible.

You have then found the acoustic node,
and it is invisible to the eye.

Let three persons group themselves
at certain angles
round the completely smooth surface of a lake
and shout ‘here’ to each other in turns
and in a particular rhythm.

It will not take long before ‘here’ will sound
from all directions and continuously
and the one person will not be able to distinguish
his own voice from the others’ any longer.

What a delightful antiphon!

And a small electric clock
placed under the hermetic bell-jar
from which the air is extracted by a suction pump
will indeed finally become inaudible.

In that way all suspicions are confirmed
about the defectiveness of the carrying medium,
its strange capacity to act of its own accord.

Its own accord, its own accord.

The time that remains is always very brief.
Sound is only produced by someone who is very lonely.
The winter is very cold. All the boats lie still in the ice.

And in clear weather the skates, the red sledges,
with a sound like a tiny bell,
under the ‘hermetic bell-jar’.

Quiet, someone’s talking, is it you or me?

Echo, delightful nymph with the garbled voice!

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