Friday 5 November 2021

Lars Gustafsson: 'Bombus terrestris'


Bombus terrestris


When the air lies still, so too lie the lakes,

the great bright lakes, like quicksilver.


Sleeping dogs’ breathing grows ever more rapid.

The deepest sounds of all are felt as tremblings.


And held hidden in large organ pipes,

sixteen-footers and more, till it’s time.


But out of small holes in the ground sound emerges.


When air pressure falls, sounds of far trains get smothered,

they soundlessly change and move from track to track.


A flyer who lives in the depths of the forest

has folded its wings, is asleep in the rain.


It is not at the start and not at the end.

It is mainland, vast tracts that are far


within maps and deep within time,

a protective forest of years on all sides,


and the larks soar up like a jubilant cloud,

but always some will fall dead, and be gone.


Far too warm to freeze, far too cold

to reside, so far within the world


A backhanded winter, seasons inverted, a year that’s reversed.

When the air lies still, so too lie the lakes.


But at the lowest height, a hand’s breadth above the ground

the temperature changes distinctly: two degrees warmer


and some stifled brown sounds.

All natural science is a question of warmth


and obscuring low clouds.


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