Tuesday, November 29, 2005

popular Swedish poem

   A lone ski-track

   A lone ski-track that wends
   its way into woodlands deep,
   a lone ski-track that bends
   away via ridge & steep,
   via moors where blizzards rip,
   and the pines are sparse and short;
   such are my thoughts, as they slip
   further & further apart.

   An icy ski-track that slows
   in the woodlands’ solitude,
   a human life that flows
   by ways not understood.
   Far off as ever, the answers
   to my oldest questions;
   a dithering line on snowcrust,
   my travels, my investigations.

   A lone ski-track that ends
   at a sudden precipice
   where only a wind-worn pine
   reaches out beyond the cliff.
   How coldly the stars twinkle,
   the wood so huddled and black,
   how gently snowflakes sprinkle
   the snow-extinguished track!

(translation of Ett ensamt skidspår by the Finland-Swedish poet Bertel Gripenberg (1878-1947))

 I'm adding this to my category "specimens of the literature of Sweden". Literally, it's untrue, this is a specimen of the literature of Finland; and I hope I shan't offend anyone. But Finland-Swedish poets have always been widely read in Sweden, and some of their poems (like this one) are very well-known.

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