Saturday, 18 July 2020

Gustaf Fröding: 'Gitarr och dragharmonika' (1891)

Guitar and accordion

Two neighbours reside in my dwelling
– the one sentimental in vein,
– with loud voice I hear him declaiming
of sorrow and life’s pain.

At times he is gloomy and bitter,
is sorrowful and bizarre,
at times quite soulfully mournful,
and sings when he plays his guitar.

– The other is sprightly and cheerful,
is boorishly burlesque.
For him are all sorrows and troubles
delusions, dreams, grotesque.

He broods not one bit – he chuckles
as life goes crazily on,
and whistles and sings while playing
his old accordion.

– You soon tire of hearing such antics
– and yet I’ve grown used to the pair;
the one quite resembles my present;
the other my past laid bare.

And sometimes, when sadness oppresses
and days to me seem too long,
I write down in music notation
small snatches of both their songs.

And should people say that the music
has melodies poorly turned,
is not always quite what it should be
where harmony’s concerned,

it comes from the fact that guitar song
and songs to accordion quite
a lot can start at the same time
and come from left and right.

To see the original, go to here:
To hear the original, go to here:

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