Wednesday 20 October 2021

Lars Gustafsson: 'Sörbyelegi'


Sörby elegy


Wild chervil and camomile surge against the

slag foundations of foundries that once were there.


The swallows weave an invisible web, and inside,

in a paler light and with the scent of ageing wood,


here the summer grows still. Mild and patient,

as if only with difficulty they recall their places,


things from vanishing years hang and stand.

A fyke with an ring of silvery juniper that has


not caught a pike since the end of World War I.

A pike spoon made by Bricklayer Ramsberg,


a quiet man who had lost a thumb.

A small boat that was once owned by a child


put together of far too coarse blocks.

A peeling garden table that was owned


by a grandma who lived to be a hundred.

And the shadow beneath her raspberry bushes


passes for a moment, like a cloud,

a very small cloud in some other sky.


The grandfather’s hammer with its shiny haft.

Huge shears from a sheet-metal workshop in Nibble.


I am probably the last person who can remember

where they came from, from Platelayer Claeson in Nibble,


and after me they are free, as free as an arrow-head

that someone finds amongst the gravel of a river bed.


We give back, but only hesitatingly and meagrely.

How absent-minded and mild things become


when they are once more let loose, finally,

and gain their long summer vocation, from the human


domain, from intentions and actions and words.

How are they to recall their places in tables and drawers?


In song of bumblebees and smell of tar, in the darkness of

the shed it hangs, lies and stands: so many an abandoned thing


from some other year. And the June wind veers.


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