Strange songs

Issue 3/2001 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Poems from Den harhjärtade människan (‘Hare-heart’, Söderström & Co., 2001). Introduction by Helena Sinervo

You see,
it becomes evening,
over reeds and marsh meadows… The moon’s time,
the moon’s hours… one leaves one’s body
and does not come back until dawn…
Now I think of the grass and of the small
lizard that sleeps in my lap, my child
with that silver-coloured skin and of
the voices of the wild dogs that the moon loves.
Once there were forests, rivers
and seas on the moon, they are still there –
death is merely the needle that
opens your eye so that at last you
can see, the light
we lived in.

There is a fatty oil inside the seeds,
there is a wild rabbit that every evening
devours the burning sun,
the sun of grass.
Oh, there is a child
that every morning
plucks from the edge of the shore
a glowing stone.

There are people
who are disguised sunflowers.
pigeons or stones.
In reality they are not people.
There are not really any people.
there are only plants, birds
and boulder ridges.

The teal has
such soft wings –
thoughts are things,
matter invisible
and transparent…
Everything has become so –
strange… strange songs
give me calm and nourishment –
But did you see
how with thorns a rose
was fastened to your little heart’s
lacerated skin.

poor plant, why does the angel
of the air like you so much –
Flowers that live in ditches,
marshes and on barren shores.
Did I see you walk
with sorrowful eyes, away.
Say, why did you cry –
sought, yes… after losing;
become autumn, so as once more
to become spring.

Everything has become so strange.
When I go and lie down,
I clasp my hands over my chest
and then something happens to my heart.
It changes form, it alters shape –
acquires long ears and fur grows,
fur that has the same colour as snow.
And a face emerges, muzzle and eyes,
eyes that can see into that other world.
But I am no longer surprised,
nothing is as before, absolutely nothing.
That the heart smells of hay, that hair grows
and grows, all over my body,
am dressed in white fur like her – Mary Magdalene.
Am not astonished that at night my heart
leaves my body on its own
and runs through the sky’s white forests,
over the mountains of my dreams, along the shores of the
because it travels home to the moon –
Nothing makes me afraid or surprised anymore,
the order of things is different now,
everything is different.
I am merely waiting
until I can live in the forest for ever,
among these ligh -coloured trunks, be
at home, be allowed to be
the one I really am.

So I became a hare,
I, too – with a taste
for subterranean roots,
bitter but nourishing, strengthening the heart.
Burrowed down into the earth, into the sand,
the ash – into the innermost part of the moon.
I was so tired – yes, I cried,
for a long time, until I feel asleep.
Now I sleep in a little room,
a room I have made for myself…
which I have dug out with my paws.
I live under the invisible tree,
next to the transparent stone –
in a strange light chamber
that makes the heart wander and dream,
of small, many-coloured plants,
of the sky’s unending summer forests.

Little fauns,
with green songs.
Invisible, but for children
and stones present,
real, like here.

Late summer, how
does one thank a little grape.
Kisses the bark of the vine,
sleeps away an afternoon
at its mild breast, while watching
snail on the way to another way.
Say, may one rest here, may one… don’t
know why I always wake up next to islands…
Remember that I loved lighthouses, the shafts of light
or the darkness that made the shafts of light visible.
So come then, dear, shore-hare into my heart –
dwell there, live there – yes, I am the one you are.
Jesus did not drink wine
he ate the grape and the grain; the grass.
That was how he became a grass-eater,
he too.

Translated by David McDuff

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