Tuesday 12 February 2019

LG: 'I Hans Majestät Konungens frånvaro'

One day in 1907 King Oscar II got up
from all the plush, vases, statuettes,
the heavy curtains
and the beautifully inlaid tables
in his study at Stockholm Castle.
And, with slow measured strides,
went elsewhere.
His funeral filled
almost an entire issue
of Ny Illustrerad Tidskrift.
After ninety-five years
equally well cleaned, hoovered
and polished; plush cushions
family portraits in silver frames
Queen Victoria of England,
the unfortunate Alexandra
and Nicholas of Russia.
Here it is still only 1907.
All the dead are still living.
The gulls on Strömmen are whirling
there in the same pale winter light
as the endless spaces Hades contains.

The monarch got up and walked
with firm steps out of his life, and
into the newly woken world of photography.

The room then gradually began
to change without changing:
ceased then in complete stillness
to be a room
and became a picture of itself.

And that of the Universe.
In the same desolately white winter light.

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