Thursday, 19 March 2020

Erik Lindegren 'the pathless man' (1942)

shadowless the meandering path of errors 
on earth the alien depths
gazed on by the sun’s ascetic eye
and the innate blindness of horizons


(in the hall of mirrors where not only Narcissus
is enthroned free from giddiness on his pillar of despair 

eternity suckled with a grimace
the land of unlimited possibilities

in the hall of mirrors where a single infected sob
escaped the crossed rapiers of indifference

and transformed the air into promise and soil
that ran down all the city’s windows

in the hall of mirrors where perfection is punched in sheet metal
and carried like a prisoner in the standard breast

where the word commits harakiri in the gleam of explosions
and the trumpet tastes of crushed china and dying blood

in the hall of mirrors where one becomes the far too many
and yet would fall as dew in time’s grave)


(the eyebrow twitched on the soil-coloured shoulders
and breathed rime-frost crystals in the hall of mirrors:

mirrors and running water as smoke of eternity
as faith stacked on faith on misery’s removal load

for like a car-jack merely grazes its calling
rivers grind their heel through the earth of loss

and mirrors become running water and offer death
their silent truth with no misting of the glass

but the one who has lost his way on the water
no longer delights in the loss of life

for he knows that the dream can only shed its masks
to become inscrutable like a child

and that the veil is what we do not know otherwise
and that all we know is the veil in the hall of mirrors)


who is it still appeals to the wanderer with the wheel in his hand
to voices that rock on the water where no one has foundered

who is it scours water both morning and evening
and takes twilight’s gentle path to his cell

who meets his own gaze on the voyage round the universe
and bends his own back into a beggar’s bowl

for rain that refuses to come and patience
come like nighttime sheets in fresh-converted trees

who does not throw his sole truth aside
to find a greater and greener captivity

who believes that he can crush a mirror without blindness
who believes he at one time can both live and die

in the darkness organs and rattles glittered
from the one-eyed well questions and song are drawn


mirrors turn their backs and light raises dust
good fortune’s horse-shoe curls away under the poppy’s sleep

truth grows old and lays out its patience
while the landscape folds up its ruins

benediction calls out for its lost voice
and gropes blindly behind the closed eyelids of centuries

the ladder of extinction enjoys to the very last
the mild climate of complete oblivion

the deserted memory sinks through the floor
and spins a gaping hole in the sleeper’s ear

destruction sniffingly saws a body into equal parts
bitterly as a broken branch in november

but with a death-watch behind the polished forehead
the naked shaft of rage seizes me


the hand trembles from giddiness on the stranglers’ ladder 
covetous tears rustle in the nightingale’s empty cage

already mourning itself claims several victims
even a railway accident stammers forgive me

a peeled eye burns: short-circuit and loneliness
and fate photograph yet another surprised corpse

fire devastates even the uninsured heart
and suffering’s guards flee towards a fund of belief

anonymous spikes dream themselves into reality
and rock themselves into thorns on the slope of reality

but a cry of pain rolls up a mountain
and throws itself from a precipice so as to crush itself

imposingly the flight of pain rests on the cloth of eagles
while the wind shuffles the cards of courteous faces


the mask fights to free itself from its confidant
and the marionette to come to rest

disease leaves its place under the microscope
tired of looking at contracted pupils

suffering opens rootlessly its whitewashed eye
only to be crushed by the children’s flying feet

but the fool talks with the thunder and the one prepared
for death plaits a wreath of barbed wire in his hair

and sees the heart sink heavy as a stone
to a bloody and strangely warming despair:

to rest under the earth with sighing trees in one’s mouth
to speak in one’s sleep with all the faithful deceived:

no it is not yet time to look into god’s eye
but this stone the wills’ iron-bar lever cannot dislodge


here in this silence that effaces the boundary
between the living dead and the deads’ living wish

where two halves unite to form a double blindness
so as to hear even better how the light falls

slowly, deviously, as if it knew what it wanted
when the night is imminent and the day is empty

and meaning leans out from its tower
with dread’s seal to be better kept

in the darkness of throats where the bodyguard’s lances
block all exits to the bliss of drowning

here in this silence that effaces the boundary
where light falls and fear grows grey

the storm of renewal claims the dry earth of the future 
while blindness sneers through its glassless window


the tired tree cannot lift itself from the blood
and irresolution cannot raise its branches

false simplicity cannot speak the truth
and scourges itself in vain into a witness of blood

the precious stones tempt with the dried-up river-bed of oblivion
but the path to life passes through a different desert

where alone with the sun I recall the world
and comrade Orestes who cannot speak for sand

where alone with the woman I forget the sun
and its tired trees in the fiery cave

its scorched eyes that waken towards evening
when the desert freezes in spring’s mourning-band coat

when the invisible drama takes up its position in the wings
and in the silent desert a sea of humanity swells


but first a tower of famine must mercifully fall
and the distance light up the weakness of the fugitive:

his carved eyes with caves of smoke-blue coolness
that instruct the falling drops of fear

his dread of happiness the white endless hand
his hardness towards life his gentleness towards death

with the eternally budding horizons of innocence
his longing that braids with tongues of fire

that forest of eternity which absent-mindedly draws in the water
while the cloud furtively lowers its marble head

weathered to a grimace of surprising pain –
oh the moment of recognition how outer space plunges

chokingly black oh springs that whirl away and only
his helmet so still so radiantly blind


the black magnet of hatred has sucked our flight in
and suffering drains its cup and no longer begs

at the market we exchange our worn-out faces
forced to let illness run its course

in silence the play of our false strength is performed
ironically the searchlight is pointed down into our abyss

but the heart distils into an unreal light
that rocks our fear to immortal calm

and throws open all the doors we have been forced to lock
in the fearful choice that has maimed us ourselves

it is as if this earth and sky are ours
as if our limbs gleam with riches

as if the world has vanished without trace like a dream
and at long last rests safely within us


and I sink only deeper into the earth’s spring
that grows in my mouth in my hands my throat

while dusk in the valley quickens its footsteps
and the shadows throw off the glow of impatience

as if they heard earth’s muffled cry from my mouth
and wished to ignite the spruces’ trailing wings

to flee from far too secret afflictions
the bloody spur’s insistence on nowhere –

but at the sources’ gleaming roots where the giant’s eye
slipped from my embrace up to the bier of the stars

I found an abbey of strength with loosening currents
a hand of silence that kneaded the clay

and I rested in safety under the burden of the stones
under the protection of the burdens in twilight’s bleeding spring


the day dons the wind’s twisted garment
and once again I do not trust rain’s silent drops

where they free themselves from loving branches and leaves
that cannot keep them cannot hate them

but when I turn round there is no one there
only the earth’s surface curves and something smiles

and even so I am afraid of being abducted from the earth
with its uncertain fevers and secret journeys

where everything seems to grow tired and wants to leave me
where even the mirage refuses to materialise

where the scheming eye that impartially observes me
does not even need to speak only be enclosed in desire

where madness is inaccessible and the mouth widens
into a cry of despair that collapses into silence


how many day’s journeys with you in my arms
must I not make behind death’s white crest

only to say farewell to the visions of these binoculars
and hang the desert’s horsetails on the nail of fear

rigid and blacked-out the eye rests on its base
and hammer blows resound in the bird-tent of space

arm in arm with the echo the finishing tape flutters in the wind
but the winner has already fallen down and bled to death

for sale: his memory and his consciousness
that crystal-clearly has confuted the hurricane

his smile at the souls’ lack of touchwood
and lack of tears that heal chapped lips

I squeeze his hand while the loss increases
and death buys more and more lives on credit


in the hollowed-out mist a water-lily sky cracked
and the dazzled trees rocked their springboard

it was spring and I rolled up my desert
and the female oracle lifted her veil of ashes

I was content to bury my hand in her garment
but ah beyond the rainbow dynamite was enthroned

grant me now a picture of her worm-bitten nakedness
and I will believe in the resurrection to rage

nothing shall disturb her sleep in a gutter
not even her lap stigmatised by a snake

over coupled gravestones I will let fall my leaves
and I will paint my heart with smoking courage

I will count up to disintegration’s holy numbers
where everything changes into its opposite


the drums roam in the morning light’s place of execution
and a body wakes up in the gleam of extinguished spirit

a hand runs out and does not know where it belongs
until it slowly shrinks before everyone’s gaze

what remains of hope will now pin down death
that floats in the chasm of hostile voices

all bridges are blown up only these chasms remain
and this shame that is covered with the cloth of derision

look the sun announces a mocking and cruel pietà
but who lifts what is fallen from her lips

who approaches the poisonous fear that lives
under the crime scene’s plantain in the collective heart

no rather dead suffering dead fate and the betrayed
blood that faintly gushes around the nightingale’s source


The death-walker raises his emaciated hand
as a warning that goes into a spin above the valley

the void’s icy tinkling lashes his purity
sprinkled with sparkling pain and the light of doubt

confined deserts dredge for his fingers
but the mummy’s filled pitcher sings full of hope

behind the year-rings of blindness his lookout sways
and the hiding place shivers at the gaze of the blindman

Soon from the anchorage of cloudy eyes he will
get to see the stones’ course under the waterfall’s axes

soon the claw of silence will kill his shadow
and snow fall sleepless in the deadflesh of all fear

for I am following a man who is more than blind
whose justified suspicions can never be proved


I saw him quivering in the hard light of consciousness
while algae dripped snails and green matter after his limbs

I saw him holding his breath for four whole black days
while waiting for the day to present a question

I saw the evening pass by with surprise in its gaze
that surprise which is worse than a recognition

I saw him being tormented by everything he had loved
and how his heart sank so as to fill out the void

I saw him collapse under the earth’s impassive hatred
reduced to the horrible secret of a metronome

I saw him try to grasp the skirt of the past
and his divining-rod bend with a smile towards nothing

I saw his mouth gaping like a crucified x
a simple equation for torture of the third degree


I saw his dim image in the yellowing current
and the ungraspable in a handful of past serenity

I saw collapsed skies at his smoking feet
and the sun’s taken-in sail under the swan’s wing

I saw the negative: all that also was him
when the dream has let fall its silver in the bath of twilight

I saw his endless thousand-headed delta
that already tasted of salt: the all-embracing ocean

I heard a clock in the pillar’s darkening light
strike twelve resounding strokes in memory of the dust

in memory of the child that has found its voice
and does not dread the fear of days to come

though this is the hour when the clocks are wound up
and the mist comes and the revolver seeks a hand


hands grope and weigh down each other’s promises
a foot consumes his mouth but endurance refreshes

the weathervane’s rusting oblivion cuts into our flesh
but no wheel arches the wound towards screaming skies

nothing bygone passes towards the roar of the waterfall
no movements hurt in the far too narrow lap

the sea’s last surf gets lost in the labyrinth
and the lamps are lit in the sunken man’s coral eyes

and when they are reflected in the demon’s bleeding lips
invisible we are wound into each other’s caves

and the whispers increase in strength and bliss
as if they bore a drowning girl in their embrace

but we are washed along walls are cradled in lead
no more is our hand lifted in the burning sun


what does death then shake from its sleeve that we do not know
a moth-eaten riddle a map for a thousand greedy eyes

a dragon’s music which everyone hears but no one understands
a tower of cloud that buries all our echoes

a cripple’s engraved nameplate in the spring of springs
and the pillars’ stone-heavy defiance in the sun-temple’s forecourt

a demon that roams disguised in the lull of fear
and the ocean’s long slit-eyes with a gleam of belladonna

and a rain’s whistling for the farm’s put-down dog
harshly out of tune like a called-off miracle

and yet disappointment must once more give birth to light
wonderfully, unexpectedly like an old man on the roof of spring

and the flesh becomes word and revelation blossoms
and the orbits of the planets slash the unsuspecting eye


To love without knowing it to listen silently
to the sound of the indefatigable picklocks of truth

to conceal a caress inside oneself and feel
one’s fever softly falling under the threshold of the storm

to retire within one’s expanses and burst open
a shell so as to glide more clearly with the clouds

to remember everything that hurt with the veil of
a smile and hurl a stone far into eternity

to be able to reassemble everything one has dismantled
and once more hear crickets as the urging small sounds of time

to feel pain flare up in blazing haloes
to have the sap’s view at the very top of the tree

to push one’s wish ahead of one on well-greased wheels
and know that the worst and the best are still to come


as still as a well space is filled with your dreams
the seeds of night grow large in concealed hands

the leaves of decay sleep safe close to your heart
and the gleaming ice of spring refracted in your forehead’s prism

melts and moistens your roots in your sun
and your skin is like a song of praise in braille

a faint vindication of day’s hard memory
but the one who fought among surging surf goes in

among the tree-trunks in night’s dreamt forest and sees
your sleep as monuments of young green shoots

and drops of time in the lap of the day now past
and the rose window flaps in the wind without fragrance

and the sea’s blue ice-freedom flutters like a banner
and through the night your closed eyelids shimmer


The constricted heart is in agony but the scars gleam
sunburned in the knife-edged profile of love

and that is why the birch’s yellow medallion falls
so calmly into this abyss of the lips of stones

and the weight of stones does not melt the host
in remembrance of the summer mountains’ swollen veins

but the rustling of the broken spider’s web
scared the bird of oblivion to wings of iron

and they scratched the bright-blue moss of the sky
and spattered red on the powerfully clenched hand

until the sound seethed and the mountain crests were cleft
so that the sun should linger in coming

cool the blood to an autumn foam
hammer the scars into a pendulum swing of light


and she asks what you have done with your unconscious
love and nature’s grey eye loses its sense of wonder

and everything springs up from the ground in this
stillness where the river and grave stand watch in eternal sleep

and we sat in the greying light right up until our bodies
were as low as the earth and in silence we warded off all words

as encroachers on our trust until my word
fell to the ground and she and the sky bent down

so that we were as close to the earth as the sky in trust
so that we no longer knew where the secret existed

whether up or down for there was no direction
and everything was as close as I had known in the dream

till the very moment I stood up with my head above
the clouds and she wept to see me in this defiance


the faithful bee hums for the shrivelled rose
the rabid dog drinks from the sunken storm’s throat

and the flying dutchman hauls his bride on board
so as to bury himself in her fury-cut hair

at the lists the lance of the black knight grows
and in the air the tragic mask of the charwoman glitters

in the dandelion pasture even the catchfly’s tar-bubbles burst
and the butterflies’ blinkers now say their final prayer

in the skies desert-singed clouds stack from verandahs
and the pulse’s tambourine makes the virginia creeper tremble

a taboo summer squirms uneasily on crystal-clear noes
the jaws of the tiger lily sink softly into the past

from the trailer of time hurrahs are flung out at death
dully garrisons rest beneath the rain’s silent leaps


in the hood of dawn the lovers’ parting shivers
their charred faith flares up in bleeding love

and the field catches fire and burns off their eyes
but the play of shadows on the prison wall extinguishes their sight

and their fingers grope on the front’s dream of purging
and the sombre flight of fate in the plumage of salto mortale

and they listen to a word that pounds in their veins
and they fumble round its forehead in the vulture’s tight circles

and their moment is united with this fuse
that branches out in the glass child-coffins of the abyss

until the explosions break deep into the clouds’ lungs
and the rain falls red and warm as their blood

and a mouth-organ interprets doomsday in ashes and dreams
around love’s flames that gut the fires of hell


you observe the doves’ last flight in the sun’s landscape
and the rash dance of the insignias in the ear of death

here in this loneliness where the soul’s trapdoors are opened
and you sink down into the harsh harmony of the irretrievable

so as to walk in frost’s azure city where the woman of spring
now shakes with cold and desire on the magnetic mountain’s top:

oh how cursorily the dress is thrown over the balustrade
in the gentle gleam of autumn’s fading hoof beats

how the world situation spreads its stains out over the oceans
and the remains of conscience rage in the tower-clock’s refuge

how birds of empty sepulchral chapels are oxidised within you
how sadly your questions triumph over the answers

how the words ricochet in the wind against the pavements’ memories
harder than heels and your prayers to yourself


to shoot an enemy and roll a cigarette
to flare up and be extinguished like a beacon in a storm

to sit like a fly in the net of interested parties
to believe oneself born with bad luck but just simply born

to be a function of all that does not function
to be something else or not to be at all

to be fitted like the grey stone into hatred’s wall
and yet to feel the stones’ consensus as heather’s joy

to feel everything neglected in the steaming rain
to enjoy the suspense at the smouldering bonfire

to doubt that this has to be the last time
to approve everything as long as it is not repeated

to force a path through and reach a prospect
where lightning flashes hunt to avenge mankind


far out on the ocean rocks Medusa’s head 
with worms now grey and a crow’s-nest of eternal grief

we recall what we recognise our brothers’ blood
their winding sheet of women’s burning tears

their eyes forever lost in the begging hand of death
we recognise what we know and we wait

wait for liberation’s wingbeat above our heads
for the end of degradation and our own life –

oh whirlwind of hate that lacerates our breast
run through us with life when we have to bleed

lift us like a trophy in your flight towards the sun
carve us a blood-eagle with the spear of twilight

for deep in our breast resides Medusa’s head
with worms now grey and tears of stone-turned grief


at the nightmare’s finish the lion leaps out
at the moment of death it enjoys its freedom

after we bewitched and dragged off by our hair
have once more seen the always foreseen abyss

but should the dead be mightier then and the humiliation
sacred the living hecatombs must again be sacrificed

to the slaughtered dead the murdered dead
and the screeches of the wounded plead for mankind

how no one could divine the commonplaceness of the horrors
how a feeling of home gagged in the paralysing lime of loathing

till the lion at one leap stood out in the arena
and with raised paw gave us jubilation and death

and we understood: not the dream not thought but this
this which always must exist and must be overcome


but when daybreak comes the city changes completely
the endless jubilation of saboteurs rings in the celebration’s ears

parks and streets and houses stray drunkenly past
and chat about cheerful memories of the bygone plague

views landscapes people shouts trumpets
and crown all that is dead to the charlatan himself:

my eye deceived us it sought only the bottom
the wall so it could appear as conqueror

that sacrificed lives my solitary life in a gravel pit
and blood and meaning seep down into the earth

I compared myself with us and nothing tallied
I killed you and me so that we both should live

with human lips heavy with death we were forced
into this smile of self-satisfied idiocy


oh wished-for cramp with swing music and plundering hands
and love breast to breast and the ether mask’s hiss

you rival of invalids the dance of death’s small revelry
with horrors in advance and simplification’s bandage

you trampler of fabrics with hymns of high heels
and nothing that manages to gain meaning or conclusion

your surprise only gives us the same familiar 
spirit of homelessness that visits our magnet

and seduction gives death and space a moonlight solo
blue mantles of crystal that maybe provide coolness

to the leaves’ green meshes where the caught eye stares
at the fall of the scales of flesh from the clay of empty hands

when naked to the waist we trespass
in the river of death and the packed halls of pain


the invisible one within us tears apart all space
and all race-tracks become part of the measurable nothing

and the seconds turn to stone and the perspectives run
into the suns of cruelty with the shadows’ thirsting dwarfs

that cut into their leather flesh to give their skeletons air
and surrender the event to breaking-point’s rollers

until the vision invokes the darkness of the jagged peaks
from the armchair of eternal rest: a denying continent

that on a shield of sun and madness raises its reflection
in an advantageous moment for our eternal blindness

that rocks the parasite of sinking down on the barrel-organ’s waves
and writes in mockery on the jealous rock of the future:

embalm the galley slave’s worn-out oars in the hall of amazement
embalm the sublimation and the tragedian in slow-motion


among the corals’ stiff mouth and whole-hearted dissension
among the murderers’ breathing that shrouds everything in mist

among the lies that pierce through the eye of truth
till it stares more stiffly than that of the one lashed to death

among the moments that glide along the tracks of torture
and disappear with a jerk into the hollow passage of the unreal

oh silence of black tears in poisoned prison towers
with the nightmare’s smelting furnace for captives’ magma-torment

oh blown-off hand and the parched recitative of death
in a golden coffer for withered leaves and revolutions

oh confused voice from the string of the broken bow
do not flee with your echo into the protected nook of the future

but decipher instead the illegible writing: capture the swishing 
fall of the hammer towards a fate that as yet was not yours


after wandering through death’s tunnels it was time
for hope to drive us to a new despair

we felt how we moved in a machine’s greasy air
in a despised acrobat and the eternally human

inside the navel there gleamed a chromium-plated tragedy
and an onlooker rocked in the false rope of the curtain

a prompter stood bending over the old chasm
so at to synchronise the beat of fate with reality

but we felt how the disclosure always keeps us waiting
until it is too late and the tears have already fallen

how the heart always rejoices too early and slips
on the stage cluttered with watered choirs

how the intrigue collapses but the tension remains
until a new walk begins for that most destroyed


the song burns and I wipe the red gleam from my forehead
hope is crushed and falls in the sea from wrongly dated towers

my sole fate longs for its star
but no beams are let through memory’s sudarium

in this mist where the victims drift aimlessly in their circles
where no one walks flashes from the clouds but where I see

how the cry of distress does not even leave a speck of dust behind
in this deep furrow torn open by at any rate somebody’s tears

and tired of the vanquished heart always having to pay
with an unconscious forgery for once more wanting to live

but still with dreams to be scoured clean in another water
like the roots of the biggest trees reach down to water

that can long murmur of centuries of water-life in the soughing
of springs where the depths finally vanquish themselves


gasping in our own net our impotence explodes
and the consuming lover’s hatred of himself

disguised as an abyss our fate rises up
prepared for something more than the harbour of destruction

reluctantly the torso frees itself from night’s stranglehold
forced by darkness to unbelievingly recall the light

over the dull eyes spreads the mist of humility
and the many ready travellers must wait for better visibility

dissolved into truth the dust of immortality sticks
fast to the bumblebee abdomen of denying illusions

the pierced zenith embraces the flutes of a shadow
here in bleeding outer space glides the rain’s whisper

that birth now awaits us at the ford of the seeing stones
that out in the water someone stands shoulder to shoulder with god


I dream of the memory of the hind’s hoof in the maze
as the word of one spared to the one who has saved his life

of mirrors and running water like smoke of eternity
like faith stacked on faith in misery’s removal-load

of everything that has been repeated and grown into unreality
of the red lips’ song of that loved and missed

oh memory: oh fury and god that melts everything
down to nothing and hunts the tangible to death

tell someone if perhaps the days’ feet are moving forwards
on the drum of truth with a dawn for us

tell the wind whirling between the gates of the horizon
seeking its position between hovering and gravity

tell the wanderer travelling yet deeper into the world
seeking his talisman of darkness and light


not you retreat that always beg for yourself the gift of coherence
when the violin follows its orbit round the heart’s dark planet

that turns its face towards us silvered with strains of sound
that turns its face away from us to the struggle in the dark

to you my chaos my gleaming home that I bless
and hate or indifferently assimilate in the smile’s currents

that pours its well into my eye where I roam the earth
ready to travel and ready to stay: weighing death

in my hand and life in my love and with the mountain of faith
before me like a staff with no shepherd planted in god

while the guillotine in the blue heart of the blue twilight
separates my body from the desolately drifting clouds

so that I force the dark into a long and liberating embrace
attain the happiness that is dictated by everything and nothing


and the one who understands nothing shall remember nothing
of a time that adorns its wounds with tablets of copper

but the one who stays shall not take root without memory
and three heavy steps in the empty ravine where the vulture

now broods on stone upon stone in blood’s heavy building
and the one who journeys shall have no other aim

than to discover the star waiting to be discovered
the star of the new creation that but few have glimpsed

yet to whom I dedicate this our truth before death
this rat-trap’s abyss and the long hour of waiting

this artificial calm that time has branded on my forehead
this splintered faith whose shards will yet moulder and grow

into future’s dream and the hind’s dream in the maze
and the word of one spared to the one who has saved his life 

No comments: