Sunday, 5 April 2020

Dan Andersson: 'En spelmans jordafärd'


Ere a rosy dawn starts glowing over Himmelmora’s crest,
see, from Berga a poor corpse is being borne.
O’er the small flowers of the hillside mourners plod on two abreast
’neath the cool and leaden clouds of early dawn.
Heavy boots tread through ploughed plots with the roses’ sprinkled dots.
heavy heads bowed as in prayer are now in view.
From the wasteland’s inner dread glides a dreamer who is dead,
o’er a meadow that gleams green from all the dew.

He was queer and he was lonely, is what four black men explain,
and he frequently lacked shelter and lacked bread. –
See, a king, proclaim the roses and are trampled on again,
see a king as well as dreamer is now dead!
It’s a long way, say the bearers, many miles ahead still lie,
and as day grows hotter wearily we tread. –
Steps grow cautious, tongues speak softly, willows sing and sallows sigh,
it could well be that a flower is what is dead.

But as blackly rocks the coffin through the woods in springtime green
silence moves through farm plots woken by the dawn,
and the west wind stops a moment to make out with senses keen
who through roses took steps heavy and forlorn.
It is only Fiddler Olle, sings the spruce and sighs the pine
he has ceased to chase his years without a home. –
Strange, the wind replies, if I just like a hurricane could whine,
I would play the whole long way he now must roam!

Over yellow bogs and heather hard, dead bones now rock and sway,
rock and sway through the pale quiet of forestland.
But when over stones and berries coolness wafts at end of day,
heavy feet tramp on through Himmelmora’s sand.
Feet of four tired mourning men, tramping homeward now again,
heavy heads bowed as in prayer once more in view.
But deep in rifts so sore, are the roses torn to gore,
in a meadow that gleams green from all the dew.

He is gone now, say the four men, for his mother awful news,
she who in Torberga poorhouse now must dwell. –
Why do trampling heels abuse us, are we trodden on by shoes?
all the roses wail and show their wounds as well.
It is Death that has been dancing on through Himmelmora’s sand,
sigh the thistles at the clover meadow’s rim.
He has worn you down to dirt with his coarse shoes, just as planned,
when he danced and had the dreamer’s bones with him.

Over grass and drab grey houses night is swiftly swishing past,
pallid stars are twinkling like some gutted pyre.
From the west across the heath down to the tarn light moves at last,
and a song moves over water-lilied mire.
The raging storm sings black and white, round Härnaön the air,
foam and waves sing of the wasteland’s need and dread.
Over black and angry waters night strikes up the tune for prayer,
for a fiddler and a dreamer now is dead.

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