Tuesday, April 26, 2011

frogs jumping over mosaic

shimmer sleeve notes (2).

He squatted on a flat rock, his feet in comfortable but well-polished shoes standing on flat pebbles. When he dropped his weight into the shoes a faint rise of the lake ringed the pebbles with wet.

He didn't want to meet the visitor. Albert touched the clandestine bell that rang in his study, he jerked awake from reading about a choir festival in Gamla Stan, he raced down the stairs, out of the side-door and down the sloping meadow thick with clover through the spruces and down here to the scallop shore. Here he would stay. He had only a light coat on, but on this day there was next to no wind.

Across the scribble of islands the Norwegians and the Swedes had danced, retreated, advanced, stubborn with pike and plume. A heave-ho for thee, maid of the mountains! For the honour of Jämtland, Jämtland's fair flower. They bled in the water.

He had left his pipe. Midges danced above the shore in sparkling snow-melt air. No, he simply had to have his pipe. He crept back to his study. There was silence in the house and it sounded like the danger was past, but now he had promised himself a real snorter of an evening pipe.

On the way back from the house he glanced again. He had filled his soul with this view! From the higher reach among the scrambling clover, as the sun lowered into a barrier of mountains at the far end of the enormous lake. There was a tough range, do not risk the back of that one! In earlier days he might have liked to try it with Bertil, mop-haired Bertil.

Brushing the last alder he said - addressing the lake without self-consciousness - Well, Old Fellow, here I am now. Immediately a raven croaked, flying over. He didn't bother to look up. He was a big man. He stood like a barn door, a bit warped perhaps, a barn door that didn't quite close.

As if it were possible. I am not accustomed to account for my decisions.

That is how he had begun with Albert. But later, he had condescended to explain that did not wish his home to acquire a connubial air. He did not, in short, wish it to be domesticated.

Later still, he had become emotional.

I am not married, so why must you marry?

He had grovelled basely. And Albert, splendid fellow that he was, had come good - again. It was not the first time this painful subject had arisen, but he hoped - he felt he had reason to hope - that now it was the last. A chink of afternoon sun came through and the lake stilled.


It's just nonsense!

It's what's happening all the time nowadays.

What is his meaning, to make an army band perform Clown music!

An insult to the Fatherland!

No, Herr Professor!

As if we weren't on our knees already!

Does he think we're a troupe of shepherds?

And that --- chromatic wail --- in the Allegro.

Dafnis and Kloe!

He'd have us playing saxophones if he dared.

Get the boot-polish out, Willi.

Some of the sting had gone out of their outrage, now they had managed to express more than they felt. Carrying their bandboxes, they clattered into a cellar at the corner of the street.

A glass, gentlemen?

They all had a glass, but Karl hadn't got any money.

That Lübecker, eh?

Karl blushed.

She'll eat you alive.

That's all nonsense. A man needs to relax.

He didn't care if they believed him or not, so long as they didn't find out where the money was really going.

In the summer afternoon a wave of golden scent lifted out of the avenue.


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