Wednesday, 30 June 2010

A suite of poems by the Swedish writer Lennart Sjögren

Crow suite

Searched out my soul
creatures with crow’s wings
the three-legged
and every other possible thing
outside the normal.
Everything outside the normal.

Was submerged in my soul
a late-Roman pair of twins
with wolf fangs
and the fish of fishes.
They copulated with each other
and what wasn’t given birth to
because of these acts.


Had lived peacefully quite some time
had sought my food among the classical
and even the refuse bin had a classical touch.
Had spent quite some time among
the embalmed
where right was right and evil was evil.


Come for a night into my soul
dwarves with cow-horns in their forehead
spiders with faces of closest friends
and my own portrait
brought in by wood-lice.
Talking lilies and stone barriers.

And self-flagellators
the shipwrecked on the island of death.

Come down into my soul: the female weepers
the female laughers
but something to weep or laugh about
wasn’t visible just then.
Even so they were at hand as a deliverance.

And I thought that all that was now taking place
did so in an age
that was not only that of man.

And I listened to the far-off hills
and I heard there
the utterly clear laughing
and utterly clear weeping


All the low-slung frogs came leaping
those who at night form
one great protracted clucking –

A clucking for all forms of what is alive
not least the hybrid forms.
And I asked myself if I was a frog
in the circle of frogs
a monkey in the monkey cage.
Or a crow
in the cunningly laid snare.


This very night
an old well-known discus thrower
descends from his marble plinth
he is tired of the white
he asks for the pig’s snout
the crayfish’s leg.
And the pair of twins with wolf fangs
do not hold him back
nor does the fish of fishes.
He then flings his discus
way, way beyond the stands.
What do the marble staircases say then
what do the city planners say.

After staying there for a while down in
the world of the crayfish
he makes his way back to the marble
what one once has abandoned cannot be recovered
all that easily.

And it was not the night
that then gained its completeness
and it was not the night’s morning
but it certainly was a seduction.
Yes, it was like a resurrection from the
graves of time.

And the dream of the discus thrower
to be sculpted stone once more
came to nothing.
Far too uncertain and sown with doubt
was his craving for the stone
and far too many memories existed in the wind
above the square.
he left the stone for good
and went to those free in the disease.
Laugh oh my soul, he said
try a laugh at the moment of abandonment.


Then I heard once more
how the plains and more distant mountains laughed
and I went out to meet them.

And I went to the old snake –
she the female snake among the boulders
with her cleft tongue
she who sloughs her skin
and swallows her food whole
she with her inflexible smile
who guards the origin of the world.

She looked at me playfully
and held out the poison to me
when I approached.

Be of good cheer, she whispered.

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