Friday, 24 May 2019

Werner Aspenström: 'Det som blev över'


Ah these affiliations!

After you have divided yourself up
and given the nation its due portion
and your class its share of solidarity
and the work which your employer demands
and the parties and societies
that which your conviction demands
a piece of you still remains,
the smallest scrap,
the tiny bit left over,
that which people in shops usually throw
into the common box of unsorted stuff
and sell off cheaply –
not because it is inferior
but because it was left over.

Well, this bit left over
that has remained within you
among the shards of our dreams
of an unfragmented world...

Presence, is incorporated,
as if it was the herb that healed
the very wound of death itself,
how is that loneliness to be interpreted
that often can just be made out in your eyes
like a blinking lantern
on its way between two isolated farms –
and this in the midst of the rush hour
in a jam-packed bus
in an over-populated city?

Someone goes around scrawling
in a spidery novice style the world LIVE
on bridge pillars and walls.
After a while a man employed by the local council
comes along and washes it off,
as if it was an obscenity
and not a childlike reminder
about something that was left over,
a vulgarised new translation
of something said better
two thousand years ago:
‘Consider the lilies of the field.’
But these lilies grew firmly rooted
in an unpolluted field
safe and sound with a Creator
whose distinct nature dissipated
until only the mysteriousness remained.

What I admire in you
is your willingness to live divided
without even the assurance
that the sun will start its daily round
the next morning.

There must then be
some obscure force within you,
a secret argument,
a sender and receiver
better informed about life’s meaning
and the world’s possibilities
than you yourself are.

In daylight,
among people who flaunt their sense of reality
like a boxer does his bulging muscles,
one takes care not to talk about invisible sources.
In the dark they appear more distinctly
are heard more distinctly at midnight,
in the midwinter night,
when the owls spread their wings
and glide through the short distance
between the ruins and new buildings of the earth.

 (Poem to be read aloud on the radio, New Year’s Eve, 1970)

To see the original poem, go to here

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