Sunday 31 March 2024

Werner Aspenström: 'Bekännelser'




Hon går till sin kyrka.

Han går till sin strand.


Hon dricker ett vin

som åter och åter

förvandlas till blod.


Han står vid ett vatten

som vågor och vågor

omvandlar till vatten.


Över de tunga dyningarna

rör sig lätta tvärvågor.


Strimmas Guds ansikte

av sidovindar?


Vad ser vi mer, vad är vi mer

än krusningar på ytor?


Det hade de diskuterat

halva natten.


Hon gick till sin kyrka.

Han gick till sin strand.





She goes to her church.

He goes to his shore.


She drinks a wine

that time after time

is transmuted into blood


He stands by water

that wave after wave

transforms into water.


Above the heavy swell

light crosswaves move.


Is God’s countenance

streaked with sidewinds?


What do we see more, are we more

than ripples on surfaces?


This they had discussed

half the night.


She went to her church.

He went to his shore.


Saturday 30 March 2024

Werner Aspenström: 'Gräshoppan'

Hypericum Perforatum (St. John's Wort)





Uppflog av vindar.

En gräshoppa vaknar

och ämnar slå världen med häpnad.

De gula örterna vid vägkanten

har samma namn som Johannes.

Långt före Ordet var Begynnelsen.






Upsurge of winds.

A grasshopper wakes up

and intends to astound the world.

The yellow flowers by the roadside

have the same name as St. John.

Way before the Word was the Beginning.




Werner Aspenström: 'Kvarnen'




Jag lever. Alltså har jag huvudvärk.

Jag anser mig inte dummare än hunden

men kan inte skilja mellan subjekt och objekt.

Kronan på verket, vilken besynnerlig kvarn

som gör mjöl av kvarnägarn!

Den där muskeln till vänster:

är det hjärtat som bultar mig

eller jag som bultar hjärtat?

Ljudens retsamma värld:

den stumma visselpipan hörs av hunden.





I am alive. Ergo I have a headache.

I do not consider myself stupider than the dog

but cannot distinguish between subject and object.

To top it all, what a queer mill

that turns the millowner into flour!

That muscle there on the left:

is it my heart that is battering me

or me battering my heart?

The irritating world of sounds:

the silent whistle is heard by the dog.

(More echoes as usual. Descartes and John Donne this time round!)

Friday 29 March 2024

N.F.S. Grundtvig: 'Easter flower! What would you here?'




Easter flower! what would you here?

Common flower from village garden,

scentless, lustreless, austere!

Gift that no one e’er would pardon.

Who do you think fain had pressed

such as you to loving breast?

Dare a bird your praise send winging

when in Danish woods it’s singing?


Come alive in heart and mind

from your graves now be upstanding,

childhood days! And with me wind

your way out to father’s garden!

Let me during Easter song,

church bell’s ringing loud and long, 

to my heart the flower be pressing

breast and head with it be dressing!


Winter flower! You herald spring,

now unfold in quiet chamber!

Only fools would shame to sing

of God’s work, their lot not savour.

Though your humble garb’s yet mocked,

dull you are and poorly frocked,

on my bier my wish is fully

to be like an Easter lily.


Not in sweetest summer air

did your roots begin to settle,

nor the rose’s scent did share

nor the lily’s silver petal.

During winter’s storms and rain

you put forth in harsh terrain,

joy alone on hearts to lavish

who your inner meaning cherish.


Common flower! but is it true:

Is your meaning that of waking?

Is your sermon really new?

Can the dead grave’s hold be breaking?

Did he rise up, as they claim?

Will his word rise up again?

Does from winding sheet of mourning

life spring forth at Easter’s dawning?


If the dead can’t rise again,

then our meaning has no substance,

we’ll die quickly and in vain,

grace no garden with our presence,

’neath the ground forgotten be

and our wax won’t wondrously

melt, be formed in darkest lining

candle-like on graves be shining.


Easter flower! A drop most strong

from your cup my thirst has sated,

and I quicken before long

wondrously refreshed, elated:

From a swan’s song or its wing

it would seem that it did spring.

Now I see the dead reborn in

early flush of Easter Morning


Oh, how dear to me you are,

common flower from village garden!

Dearer than the rose by far,

Easter flower on graves of fathers!

True spring-tidings bringing me,

of a holy jubilee,

as from death each noble flower

you’re transfigured at this hour!


Yes, it’s true what you allege:

that from death our Saviour’s risen

It is each Good Friday’s pledge ­–

Easter Morning bursts death’s prison

What are sickle, shield and sword

’Gainst that master brave and bold?

Chaff his breath dispels for certain,

he who swore to bear our burden.


Thursday 28 March 2024

Werner Aspenström: 'Mården'




Stum som om fåglarna ätit lim

var skogen.

En räv, en vit hare, två rådjur

som av keramik,

i naturlig storlek.

Skogsmården var det enda flödet

i den frusna formen.

Den talade till mig med ögonen

och sade:

Varför jagar du mig inte?





Mute as if the birds had eaten glue

was the forest.

A fox, a white hare, two deer

as if of earthenware,

full size.

The pine marten the sole fluid thing

in the frozen form.

It spoke to me with its eyes

and said:

Why are you not hunting me?



Werner Aspenström: 'Regn mot kvällen'




De övre molnen består av iskristaller,

de lägre av regndroppar.

Fåglarna tystnar.

Sniglarna har länge varit tysta.





The upper clouds consist of ice crystals,

the lower of raindrops.

The birds fall silent.

The snails have long been silent.



Wednesday 27 March 2024

Werner Aspenström: 'Elefanterna'




Kisa med ögonen.

Fladdra med öronen.

Slänga med snablarna.

Krafsa i hö.

Slafsa i vattenho.

Dunka på plåtdörr.


Ett halvvarv till höger.

Ett halvvarv till vänster.

Ingen vart komma.

Inget förmå.

Lyfta och släppa en stock.

Lyfta och släppa en meningslös stock

i snömolnens Sverige.

Två elefanter.

Två munkar som lunkar

i skymningsgrå cell.

Två gråpapperssäckar

med hö i.

Två hängmagar

som bullrar och klagar.

Två brödtiggare.

Två prinsar från Ceylon,

långt borta från Ceylon,

från kryddmolnen

och de blå morfofjärilarna,

stora som segelflygplan!

Två elefanter.

Två kedjefångar.

Dåsa och drömma.

Kostar två kronor

att se och att glömma.





Peer with their eyes.

Flap with their ears.

Toss with their trunks.

Scrabble in hay.

Slosh in water trough.

Thud on sheet metal door.


Half a lap to the right.

Half a lap to the left.

Not get anywhere.

Not able to do anything.

Lift and drop a stick.

Lift and drop a meaningless stick

in a Sweden of snowy clouds.

Two elephants.

Two lumbering monks

in a dusk-grey cell.

Two grey paper sacks

with hay inside.

Two dangling bellies

that rumble and grumble.

Two bread-beggars.

Two princes from Ceylon,

far away from Ceylon,

from the spice clouds

and the morpho butterflies,

as large as gliders!

Two elephants.

Two prisoners in chains.

Dozing and dreaming.

Costs two kronor

to look at and forget.


Werner Aspenström: 'Teologi för en grubblande vän'




Gud har inte skapat all himmel och all jord.

Gud har inte skapat hela Danmark,

särskilt inte den hiskliga staden København,

möjligen Ørsteds park och vissa delar av Zoo.

På Bornholm har Gud skapat vete- och kornfälten,

inte den stora Natoanläggningen.

Gud kan räkna sandkornen vid Due Odde,

inte runt hela kusten.





God has not created all the earth and all the sky.

God has not created all of Denmark,

particularly not the frightful city of Copenhagen,

possibly Ørsted’s Park and parts of the Zoo.

On Bornholm God has created fields of wheat and corn,

not the large NATO complex.

God can count the grains of sand at Due Odde,

not all the way round the coast.