Friday 23 April 2021

Kjell Espmark: 'Min cell här på Kajaneborg'


Johannes Messenius (1579-1636)

Swedish historian. Sentenced in 1616 on suspicion of treachery against the Crown

and conspiring with Catholic Poland. While in prison in Kajaneborg, Finland,

he wrote Scondia illustrata, the history of Sweden.

My cell here at Kajaneborg Castle

is a death sentence commuted to loneliness.

The crime was my Catholic faith.

Out there, starvation –

I hear of dead people lining the roadside

with horse dung and straw in their mouths.

They tell me the birch despite everything is in leaf

and that the swallow is up in the sky once more

after its winter on the bed of the river.

Here inside, our country’s history grows

under my zealous pen.


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