Blesok no. 87, November-December, 2012


Bengt Berg

Two Red Berries

behind autumn’s rusty pleasure
and the leaky old rowboat
that is hauled out of the river
year after year,
a dog barking through the morning
– sound check before the elk hunt

there ahead, beyond the forest,
awaits that which is called future

you are on your way there, with two
red berries in your hand,
one for yourself
and one for the world

against power you stand equipped
with the shining stubbornness of the heather,
you know that this won’t be sufficient
not even the four cardinal points
are enough

but your arms reach a dream
where time is not rushing and where
all children can speak all the world’s languages:
every tongue enjoys a freedom
which does not exist

you who don’t listen to the incomprehensible
will never understand anything

we are not only what we are
we become what we see

two red berries; there you stand
on the threshold of the world, you
walk on the air and the wind is blowing
in your hair

Nordic Light

What shall we say about the light?
The cat sees in the dark
without a flashlight, the glow-worm
can be seen, without neon
We climb out of the darkness into the light
as in the beautiful old song
That Nordic light
that we wander in and out of,
that soft gloomy darkness
provided by mossy pine forests,
those glimmering glades
among groves of birches – all this
with its light and darkness
has coloured our senses

What more can we say about the light
that grows from within, that is created,
that is believed?

And deep down in the darkness
at the bottom of a glacial lake
a Triglopsis quadricornis noses around
searching for its utopia
among stones and silt

In the rain’s high pine
a blackbird is perched,
charges by the batteries of July light
while we others, we
descenders of shoe-wearing creatures
wander pine forest paths
back and forth
while we wonder:
What should we say about the light?
An open question, the light
stands free, like a glistening
rain wet scarecrow
out in the newly harvested fields of oats


Get ready for a new day
think about love a moment
Know thar the road ends
at the same place
as it once began

Stand still
waiting for the rain,
look for a circle in the grass
where we once stood
Cup your hand over
that spot, as for protection

Think about love, know
that rain will soon start
to fall; open hand

(Translation: Tim Phillips)

A Nail Through the Sole of a Sandal In Sydney

The idea here is to look up on skyscrapers
of greater beauty are hard to find, especially
fine is the one of sandpaper colour
on the way down to ROCKS,
a bit lonely, perhaps, and not at all insolent:
it resembles a smile
that spreads upwards
in the mist, storey
after storey

It is going on all the time; crowds of men
in suits and ties scampering about
in and out of traffic
as though searching for lost
wives, or just chasing around
in hope of something else

A small nail
unexpectedly pokes its way
through the sole of my sandal,
as though playing a prank, but
it hurts just the same even in Sydney
– a very short nail
causing as much pain as possible
by stretching its back

It makes no difference
if you are on your way
here or there, it
speaks plainly: time
is short also, people
seldom stand motionless as though
photographed in the act of living


The next day is even newer
I walk across a couple of bridges,
fairly well adjusted
to both the hilly terrain
and the past
which has, in spite of everything,
hidden itself in facades and law statutes

This walk through a city
which is nothing like
what I expected it to be
when I stood in the darkness of a woodshed
hunting for a timid piece of pine
to thaw my February soul with

Suddenly, and now it is evening
the street number takes on a whole new meaning
and under a railway bridge, there in Sydney,
a lone man stands and fills his trombone
with a whole continent’s longing: the sky
is delicate blue!

Northern Icarus

In sandals through the drifting snow
with a tango wrapped around my neck

Perhaps there are dark days
bright nights, a thin sparkling layer of hope?

But the crescent moon promises nothing
The spruce forest keeps its mouth shut

Ecstasy has gone astray: The wolf tracks
lead straight into a dream

A comforter of stars warms my sight
as I relieve myself in the snow

Wings of hoarfrost, - 23°C
and it is soon midnight

The whole world is still there,
life has a pair of pedals left

Winter’s empire rules
it is a long way to Rio de la Plata …

From Hundens tecken [the sign of the dog], 1987.
Translated by Lars Nordstr

Sunday in the Lingonberry Forest

                      “It is the trees that see us,
                      not we who see them.”

No names live in the wind
Near the stone the moss is cold and damp
as if the frozen earth already has started sweating from below
In me blood flows in an uncertain confidence

Lingonberry Sunday with Stanescu, thermos, wasp
Fire spotting aircraft high above a family with colourful berry buckets
High above the tops of the pine trees: cloud continents
just about to part, reconcile – drifting coral reefs

My head pounding like an idling
combine far away, unable to separate the chaff
from the wheat
                                            and hair cap moss and heather everywhere
dry twigs and Sara who says: “I want to be
a pine that is never cut down – do you want to be a branch?”

What was I supposed to say? I thought: “I want to be all that is white,”
but answered: “Yes, I would like to be a branch, a branch
on the pine that is never cut down – ”

“It is the trees that see us…” is taken from the “Third Elegy” in The Struggle between Entrails and Reality by the Rumanian poet Nichita Stanescu.

Power Lines

Power lines run
from the sunlight down to earth
to those who once walked here passing by
Power lines run
from the rivers up north
through the dark forests
down to the new districts in the south,
to great structures in a different language
Power lines run
between people,
glowing copper wires that sing in the night,
dark and mute when everything has been said,
green and sprouting like thin roots

Power lines run
between those who rule
and those who try to grab hold of their lives,
power lines between the way it once was
and the way it will one day become


Let us go outside then, out into the world
that fabulous creation of earth and wind
waiting like a loaf of newly baked bread
I head outside and meet all these people who keep
the community running and the grass green,
out into the fresh air that gives us
dreams and scars


It is summer still
and the wind touches
the lady-bug on my hand
It is mid-evening
I’m sitting quite simply
on the porch

It’s finally August:
No-one thinks of the dull ice
which, too, is
on its way –
And no one knows
why the wind sounds
the way it does
And it isn’t even necessary,
it isn’t needed
But the grass is needed
and the rain, the damned
rain, is needed
The slow worms are needed
for the soil
and us

The wind is there
and knows what it wants
to do with this evening
which simultaneously resembles
a twig of lilac
and a sheepdog’s nose

To borrow someone with the eyes
without knowing

Because behind the dark
darkness awaits

The grass has reached
its ultimate greenness

The waves shout their names,
the little answer
to the childishly big question

There are moments
when thoughts grope
like blind porcupines
over the stones
accustomed to waiting
in the mid-evening

I’m sitting
quite simply
on the porch

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