Gunnar Ekelöf – Jag går/I walk

A dream/nightmare sequence that link a frozen waste to to human endeavour in life in general.

Jag går

Jag går, jag går
Det är en stor, vit öken
Den är vit, den har inga skuggor
Den är vit, den är alldeles slät
Det vita tycks komma från ingenstans
Vem vet om det ens är vitt
Jag tänker: På så sätt går jag
Jag går: På så sätt tänker jag
Jag tänker att stövlarna är tunga
att kläderna hindrar min rörelse
Jag har ingen känsla av att röra mig
Jag går inte mer, jag adderar
Min tanke mäter ut steg i öknen
Så går jag steg efter steg
Jag tänker ut steg i öknen
Så rör jag mig steg efter steg
Jag tänker att det varken är kallt eller varmt
Jag tänker: Alltså är det varken varmt eller kallt
Jag tänker att luften är klar:
Alltså tänker jag med luften, isklar
Jag tänker att jag varken är svag eller stark
Jag tänker: Alltså är jag varken stark eller svag
Utan ansträngning tänker jag steg efter steg
Jag är klar i huvudet, isklar
Det var inte dig jag älskade
utan gud eller vad han kallades
eller mörkret eller ljuset eller vad det kallades
eller vad gör det
vad han hon det kallades
Jag tänker att jag har tio dagar kvar att leva
Jag tänker att de andra har jag dödat med min revolver
Jag tänker: Alltså sparar jag ransonerna
Jag tänker steg efter steg
efter steg

Här är ett avbrott i dagboken
som tvingar oss att bli stående
och se hur vandraren avlägsnar sig,
krymper till en punkt och försvinner.

I walk

I walk, I walk
It’s a large, white desert
It is white, it has no shadows
It is white, it is completely flat
The white seems to come from nowhere
Who knows if it’s even white
I think: This is the way I walk
I walk: This is the way I think
I think that my boots are heavy
that the clothes hinder my movement
I have no sense of moving
I walk no more, I add
My thought measures the steps in the desert
So I walk step after step
I think of steps in the desert
So I move step by step
I think that it is neither warm nor cold
I think: So it’s neither warm nor cold
I think that the air is clear.
So I think with the air, ice clear
I think that I am neither weak nor strong
I think: so I am neither weak nor strong
Without effort I think step by step
My head is clear, ice clear
I was not you that I loved
but god or whatever he was called
or darkness or light or whatever it is called
or what does it matter
what he she it was called
I think I have ten more days to live
I think that the others I killed with my revolver
I think: So I will save the rations
I think step after step
after step

Here there is a break in the diary
that forces us to stop
and see how the wanderer moves away
shrinks to a dot and disappears.

Gunnar Ekelöf – Bind mig/Bind Me

Rushing waters from the Kicking Horse River carves through the rocks at Natural Bridge in Yoho National Park in the Canadian Rockies.

Love poetry? I’ll give you love poetry. Here is some to set fire to your soul.

Bind mig

Jag mötte dig sent, jag såg dig
såg när jag hörde dig, kände
som rörelse mot mig, från mig
den växelström du sände
O bind mig, bind mig, bind mig
Hur mycket jag än har frigjort mig
befriat min själ från dig;
Bunden är jag till dig

Jag är av dem som tar livtag
av dem som lever i drömmen
Så låt oss störta båda
från klippans brant i strömmen
O bind mig, bind mig, bind mig
Hur mycket du än har frigjort dig
och frigjort dig från mig:
Bunden är du till mig.

Bind Me

I met you late, I saw you
saw as I heard you, felt
as a movement towards me, away from me
the alternating current you transmitted
Oh, bind me, bind me, bind me
However much I have liberated myself
liberated my soul from you
I am bound to you

I am of those that grab tight
of those that live in the dream
So let us both hurtle
from the cliff edge into the current
Oh, bind me, bind me, bind me
However much you have liberated yourself
and liberated yourself from me
You are bound to me.

Κική Δημουλά/Kiki Dimoula – Οι λυπημένες φράσεις/The Sad Phrases

A sad, but beautiful poem by Kiki Dimoula.

Οι λυπημένες φράσεις

Μὲ ἡμέρα ἀρχίζει ἡ ἑβδομάδα,
μὲ ἡμέρα τελειώνει.
Κι ἡ Κυριακή, κόμπος σφιχτὸς
νὰ μὴ λυθοῦν οἱ ἑβδομάδες.
Ἔρχεται πάντα ἀπὸ τὸ ἴδιο Σαββατόβραδο
καὶ φέρνει λίγο ὕπνο παραπάνω τὸ πρωὶ
καὶ τὸ θεό, ὅσο τὸν δίνουν οἱ ὀρθρινὲς καμπάνες.
Λίγο νὰ σταθεῖς στ᾿ ἀνοιχτὰ παράθυρα
καὶ νὰ κοντοσταθεῖς σ᾿ αὐτὰ ποὺ δὲν συμβαίνουν,
περνάει ἡ ὥρα.
Δημοτικὰ τραγούδια ἀπ᾿ τὰ παράθυρα
ποιὰ γυναῖ- ποιὰ γυναῖ- ποιὰ γυναῖκα θὰ σὲ πάρει,
σιγὰ-σιγὰ ἡ Κυριακὴ μεσουρανεῖ
σὰν τρομαγμένη ἀπορία.

Στὶς γειτονιὲς
περνᾶνε γύφτισσες νὰ πῶ τὸ ριζικό σου,
ποιὰ γυναῖ- ποιὰ γυναῖ- ποιὰ γυναῖκα θὰ σὲ πάρει,
δημοτικὰ τραγούδια ἀπ᾿ τὰ παράθυρα, ριζικά.
Πιὸ πέρα κάποιο ντέφι, ἕν᾿ ἀρκουδάκι

δεῖξε πῶς βάζουν πούδρα τὰ κορίτσια
στὸν καθρέφτη, πῶς γδύνεται ἡ Μονρόε…
Μὴ γελᾷς. Βρέθηκε κάποτε νεκρὴ ἡ Μονρόε.
Μὲ πράγματα ποὺ δὲν ἀντέχουν μὴ γελᾷς.

Ἄχ, οἱ λυπημένες φράσεις, οἱ λυπημένες λέξεις,
πῶς μοιάζουν στοὺς τυφλοὺς ὀργανοπαῖχτες
στοὺς δρόμους τοὺς ἐμπορικούς, τὶς Κυριακές.

Νὰ εἴχαμε μίαν ἄνοιξη.
Μὴ γελᾷς.
Μὲ πράγματα ποὺ δὲν ὑπάρχουν μὴ γελᾷς.
Ἂς λένε τὰ πουλιὰ κι οἱ μυρωδιὲς στὰ πλάγια
πῶς εἶναι Ἀπρίλης.
Τὸ λένε τὰ πουλιὰ κι οἱ ἔρωτες τῶν ἄλλων.
Ἐμένα μ᾿ ἐξαπατοῦνε οἱ θεοὶ
κάθε ποὺ ἀλλάζει ὁ καιρός,
κάθε ποὺ δὲν ἀλλάζει.
Μὴ γελᾷς.
Ἔαρ δὲν γίνεται
μὲ ρίμες
ἥλιοι-Ἀπρίλιοι,
ἥλιοι-Ἀπρίλιοι,
ὁμοιοκατάληκτες στιγμές,
χρόνος χρωμάτων,
στρέμματα φωτός,
χαμομηλιῶν ἀνυπομονησία νὰ μυρίσουν.
Δημοτικὰ τραγούδια ἀπ᾿ τὰ παράθυρα
ποιὰ γυναῖ- ποιὰ γυναῖ- ποιὰ γυναῖκα θὰ σὲ πάρει,
καὶ ὅλα τ᾿ ἄλλα τρόποι
γιὰ νὰ πεθαίνουνε ἀνώδυνα τὰ ἡμερολόγια.

Τὴν Κυριακὴ τραβάει σὲ μάκρος
τῶν τραγουδιῶν ἡ ἀγωνία
ποιὰ γυναῖ- ποιὰ γυναῖ-

Ἄχ, οἱ λυπημένες φράσεις, οἱ λυπημένες λέξεις,
στοὺς δρόμους τοὺς ἐμπορικούς,
τὶς Κυριακὲς τὶς ἀνοιξιάτικες.

The Sad Phrases

A day begins the week,
a day ends it.
And Sunday, that tight knot
That the weeks cannot untie.
It always comes after the same Saturday night
and brings a little more sleep before morning
and the god, as proclaims the morning bells.
For you to stand a little by the open windows
and to briefly stand by that which did not happen,
an hour passes.
Popular songs from the windows
what wo- what wo- what woman will take you,
slowly the Sunday reaches the zenith
like a fearsome quandary.

In the neighbourhoods
Gypsy women wait to read your fate,
what wo- what wo- what woman will take you,
Popular songs from the windows, fundamentally.
There is a tambourine, a teddy bear
shows where the girls can powder themselves
in the mirror, where Monroe strips …
Don’t laugh. Once Monroe was found dead.
with things that cannot stand your laughter.

Oh, the sad phrases, the sad words,
how they seem like the blind organ grinders
in the streets with the shops, on Sundays.

We had a Spring.
Don’t laugh.
With things that do not exist don’t laugh.
As told by the birds and the scents on the hillside
this is how April is.
As told by the birds and the love of others.
Me, the gods deceive
each time the weather changes,
each time it doesn’t change.
Don’t laugh.
Spring doesn’t come
with rhymes
sunful-April,
sunful-April,
with rhyming moments,
Time of colours,
acres of light,
the impatience of chamomile to smell.
Popular songs from the windows
what wo- what wo- what woman will take you,
and all other tropes
so that diaries can painlessly die.

Sunday drags on for long
of the songs or the quests
what wom- what wom-

The sad phrases, the sad words,
in the streets with the shops,
of Spring Sundays.

Gunnar Ekelöf – Argos

Today’s Argos is an agricultural centre for the Argive plain, But it was one of the most important towns in Mycenaean times. Ekelöf here juxtaposes both in a single short poem.

Argos

Så målar molnen i skuggor
drivande över ravinfårade kala berg
länden av Heras ko
eller Herakles löpande med klubba
och ovanför dem ett skulpterat ljus
mörkt av åska eller ljust av blixtar
Ty av molnen kommer
och av bergens sidors formning
skuggornas, synernas liv –

Men det pratsamma havet berättar
ännu om någon som kom bort
blåser upp, lägger sig i vinfärg mot kvällen
som starkvin delat med tre delar vatten
så som de gamle föreskrev:
Mer rosée

Argos

So the clouds paint with shadows
pushing across ravine-scarred bare mountain
the haunch of Hera’s cow
or Heracles running with his club
and above them a sculpted light
dark from thunder or lit by lighting
Because from the clouds comes
and from the shapes of the mountain side
the life of the shadows, of the visions –

But the talkative sea tells
still of someone who was lost
gets breezy, settles wine-coloured at night
like strong wine cut with three parts of water
as the old ones prescribed:
More rosé

Gunnar Ekelöf – Vi mena, vi tänka, vi sucka, vi tala/We intend, we think, we sigh, we speak

The title from this poem comes from the early romantic poet Stagnelius. Typical for Ekelöf, he takes our high-flung ideas and confront them with reality. This poem is from A Night in Otočac.

Vi mena, vi tänka, vi sucka, vi tala

Jag kan inte skåda de sydliga länderna
utan att se också åsnan, oxen och fåret
hönorna bundna i knippor vid fötterna, slängda
på ömse sidor av motorcykelns pakethållare
med huvudena nedåt, paralyserade, svagt kacklande
lammet uppfläkt och ihopsytt
med spettet kört genom ändan och den flådda grinande skallen
över en grekisk koleld och med tarmarna, koullouria, halstrande bredvid
oxen vit och from under oket, i par med en ko
hart när oändliga i Toscana
åsnan skriande som en osmord lagårdsdörr
men också trippande under en hel familj
eller under en risknippa stor som universum
småfåglar i knippor som kunnat fylla en rymd med vår längtan
dessa som när oss, klär oss, bär oss
resignerar under oss, kanske förlåter oss
dessa äro de verkligen kristna!

We intend, we think, we sigh, we speak

I cannot see the southern countries
without also seeing the donkey, the ox and the sheep.
chicken tied in bundles by their feet, thrown
over the sides on the luggage rack of the moped
heads facing down, paralysed, weakly cackling
the lamb ripped open and sewn together
with the spit from the back to the flayed grinning skull
over a Greek charcoal fire and with the intestines, koullouria, grilled at the side
the ox, white and sedate under the yoke, paired with a cow
almost innumerable in Tuscany
the donkey braying like an ungreased barn door
but also pitter-pattering under a whole family
or beneath a bundle of sticks as large as the universe
songbirds in bundles that could have filled the skies with our longing
these who feed us, dress us, carry us
resign under us, maybe forgive us
these are the true Christians!

Fernando Pessoa – Vivem em nós inúmeros / There live in us countless

New poet, new language. Pessoa (1888-1935) is the great modern Portuguese poet. Like Kavafis a detached observer, but also interested in existential questions. Enjoy!

Vivem em nós inúmeros

Vivem em nós inúmeros;
Se penso ou sinto, ignoro
Quem é que pensa ou sente.
Sou somente o lugar
Onde se sente ou pensa.
Tenho mais almas que uma.
Há mais eus do que eu mesmo.
Existo todavia
Indiferente a todos.
Faço-os calar: eu falo.
Os impulsos cruzados
Do que sinto ou não sinto
Disputam em quem sou.
Ignoro-os. Nada ditam
A quem me sei: eu escrevo.

There live in us countless

There live in us countless;
If I think them or feel them, I do not know
Who it is that thinks or feels.
I’m just the place
Where feeling or thinking takes place.
I have more than one soul.
There are more me than myself.
I still exist
uninvolved with all.
I silence them: I speak.
Crossed impulses
of what I feel or do not feel
They argue about who I am.
I ignore them. Nothing dictates
to me who I know: I write.

Konstantine Kavafis/Κωνσταντίνος Καβάφης / Του πλοιού/On Board

Another love poem by Kavafis. You should recognise his voice by now.

Του πλοιού

Τον μοιάζει βέβαια η μικρή αυτή,
με το μολύβι απεικόνισίς του.

Γρήγορα καμωμένη, στο κατάστρωμα του πλοίου·
ένα μαγευτικό απόγευμα.
Το Ιόνιον πέλαγος ολόγυρά μας.

Τον μοιάζει. Όμως τον θυμούμαι σαν πιο έμορφο.
Μέχρι παθήσεως ήταν αισθητικός,
κι αυτό εφώτιζε την έκφρασί του.
Πιο έμορφος με φανερώνεται
τώρα που η ψυχή μου τον ανακαλεί, απ’ τον Καιρό.

Aπ’ τον Καιρό. Είν’ όλ’ αυτά τα πράγματα πολύ παληά —
το σκίτσο, και το πλοίο, και το απόγευμα.

On Board

It looks like him, of course,
this little pencil sketch.

Quickly finished on the deck of the ship;
an enchanting afternoon.
The Ionian Sea all around us.

It looks like him. But I remember him as more beautiful.
An aesthete unto the point of illness,
and that gave life to his expression.
He seems more beautiful
now that my soul recalls him, from time gone by.

From time gone by. There are all these ancient things —
the sketch, and the ship, and the afternoon.